Working and Writing – the Ultimate Juggling Act
Working and writing don’t go together. Working takes up so much time. You have to get up every morning, slap on makeup, rush off on the tube to some office and spend your day doing stuff you don’t want to do and for what: to earn a crust to pay the bills.
It’s like oil and water. Working and writing doesn’t mix. Worst of all, when you are working it makes you ill because you are nor writing. And writing makes you ill in the way that alcoholics and drug addicts are ill. It’s a sick circle.
You write because you have to do it, knowing all the time that when you’ve done it, ten to one no one will want it, and still you do it, pushing out one word after the other, shuffling forward like a slow wind over the desert approaching a destination rarely known.
When I am working, I think about what I would like to be writing. When I find five minutes to do some writing, I worry about what I should have done at work and will get scolded for not doing when I go in next day.
Working and Writing is a Circus Act
Writers leave lots of things half done, unfinished short stories, the beginnings of a new novel, the blog you know you will never dare post. These half-scored works are like shadows in your head, nasty ones with teeth. When you go to bed, they grow flesh and haunt your dreams. They make you think about them. They are spoiled children. You have created them, given them personalities, faults, desires. Now, they seem driven to drive you over the edge.
Working and writing isn’t a walk across the highwire, an acrobatic glide from flying bar to flying bar. Working and writing is juggling thirteen knives with one hand while standing on the back of a circus pony going faster and faster around the ring – blindfolded.
I have worked as a tutor, in marketing, and for a women’s magazine, which involved writing captions for interiors and combat with photographers fixated on depth and apertures. I realised regular working doesn’t suit me, and now I earn a crumb as a waitress, not in a restaurant, but at corporate ‘events’ where masters of the universe congratulate themselves by drinking buckets of champagne and falling over.
Mother said I should marry a hedge fund manager and I said I would rather cut hedges for a living. She didn’t laugh, and she didn’t lend me the fifty quid I needed till Saturday when I have a gig at the Shard.
In the meantime, I’m plonking away on a novel that may be called DESIRE, and will probably have the word DESIRE in the title. I’m not sure yet. I’ve only written 25,000 words, so I don’t need to worry about the title for months. Writing is so slow, but full-time working and writing, for me, is impossible. I wish I were a painter chucking paint at big stretched canvases and dancing to Rihanna.
My first novel, The Secret Life of Girls, is on special offer for some reason!