Writing is torture. Where am I going wrong?

Six months ago, I had a sudden epiphany. I’m a PRO for a disability organisation, and I used to really enjoy writing. I wrote a play when I was sixteen, and studied English for four years in Trinity College. I think the notion to write more was inspired by the fact that two (awesome) people I went to college with, Louise O’Neill and Ken Mooney (check out their work, it’s fab) have both had their books published in the last two years. Feeling more than a pang of envy, I decide to knuckle down and take writing seriously. I have an English Degree, how hard can it be, right? And yet, every night, I sit at my laptop and somehow no work gets done.

I’ve decided I’m sick of this cycle of unproductivity and that it’s time to pin down where I’m going wrong, in the hope of having some miraculous breakthrough and becoming the best writer in the world. Let’s study my writing routine.

9.45pm: Little one’s in bed. Time to knuckle down and maybe finish the journalism assignment I started three months ago.

9.55pm: There’s some really good stuff on thejournal.ie. ‘Five ways to tell if you are truly Irish’ and ’20 expressions only  the Irish know about’ is riveting reading. I’m sure it will come in handy for my upcoming article/blog about International Women’s Day, which took place a week ago.

10.10pm: Okay, stop messing around now. Close off Internet Explorer  and open Microsoft Word. I write/freewrite for about ten minutes every night, to get the proverbial juices flowing. I look at what I wrote the night before and think, God, was I drunk or something? Type more random shit in the hope that the good stuff is yet to come.

10.35pm: The Eastenders theme tune thuds behind the closed kitchen door. Feeling smug because I don’t watch it any more. I just annoy my husband afterwards by asking a million questions about it before bedtime. I know, deep down, he doesn’t mind (much)

10.45pm: Do we have any chocolate? It might give me the energy to concentrate.

10.50pm: I have eaten too much chocolate. Think a toilet break may be in order. That way I can wash my face and regroup.

11.00pm: I seriously need to lie down, but I can’t. I will persevere, even if it kills me. I shall not be defeated. People with disabilities do ‘triumph over adversty’ best, right?

11.10pm: Look over the ramble I did an hour ago, in the hope that I can pull something out of it. Yes, there might be, if my audience skim-read, or are incredibly interested in my to-do list for the week.

11.20pm: Yay! I am actually doing my assignment now! I am in the zone, I am truly a genius. I am finally waking up. I will persevere until this assignment is done. I pulled all nighters in college and I’m still here. Sure I had a baby three years ago and was able to push through sleep deprivation and night feeds. And all I have to do is either finish my assignment, or write a blog: something, anything. It should be easy in comparison to what I’ve had to achieve in the past. (I take a moment to admire the many times I’ve triumphed over adversity. Gosh, I’m just great)

11.35pm: Is the dryer finished now? *checks* No. It’s okay though, it gives more time to do some work and finish things off. Time really is a gift, hidden in the least obvious of packages.

12.00am: Are the clothes dry now? *checks again*. Yup! Thank God. I am bloody exhausted. I can’t feel my arms, but that’s okay. I’m just shattered from all the great work I’ve been doing for the last two and a half hours. I’m pretty great, when I think about it. I wonder would they cast a genuine person with a disability in the cinematic depiction of my life story. If not, I think Cate Blanchett might be an adequate substitute. (ahem, I haven’t given this any thought, honest). Oh well, time for sleep. Ahhhh.

1.30am: *wakes in a sweaty panic* Aggghhh! My assignment is still overdue! I haven’t written anything at all! What was I doing for two and a half hours?!

JP: (beside me when I wake with a start and probably kick him): You okay? What’s wrong?

Me: (deciding my husband deals with enough crazy from me without adding to it) Er,  spasm…

So, people, this is my writing routine. Where am I going wrong? Answers on a postcard please.


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