Monday, 27 August 2018

How to be a writer when you've got a dog. And the kids are on holidays.

It is a pleasure and a quirk of fate that I find myself being paid to write about all manner of topics - or that I find myself being paid to write about anything at all. Last week I was writing about data culture and tomorrow I'm going to be all about food tech. I couldn't have predicted it was ever supposed to be thus....I went freelance seven years ago as an Alliance Manager and at the same time started this blog which revealed me to be not an Alliance Manager but in fact a natural born writer. So here I am.

Anyway, this isn't about how I became a writer, it's about how to be a writer when you have a dog and the kids are on holiday. Are you ready? Here we go!

Step One: Make sure the dog has been walked early doors.

It's 6:30am and your husband has already left for his 'proper job' that requires driving 200 miles for a 9am meeting. Allow yourself a small moment of martyrdom as you realise that you will have to walk the dog and make the packed lunches and pack the bags and ferry the children to and from holiday club. Do not get showered (but do brush your teeth - you're not a barbarian). Instead put on 'active wear' which (regardless of whether you do any proper exercise) will excuse the fact that your hair is in a Very Bad Way. Walk the dog - whether he likes it or not - and pray that you don't bump into your neighbours. Your aim is for a sleeping hound that will allow you to write and nobody realising that occasionally you run so close to the wire that you don't shower first thing. Until you share it on LinkedIn.

Step Two: Take your kids and two of their friends to a holiday club.

Make sure that you have three boys in the back of your car who will talk about nothing but frigging Fortnite and Donald Trump, and a girl in the front who cannot believe her bad luck that she has to go to the same holiday club as her "smelly brother and his smelly friends".

Step Two (a): Realise that you need fuel.

Stop for fuel - now is not the time to 'wing it'. Observe the car bouncing as the boys 'floss' in the back.

After re-fuelling, head for a holiday club which you have carefully selected to be expensive enough to make sure you spend the time working, not just waltzing around your house with glee because you are the only one at home and nobody is asking you to do anything for them. Gaze wistfully at the mums and dads in full office clobber dropping their children off as you remember what it felt like to wear a Hobbs dress and have share options. Remember that you nearly lost your mind (but did cash in enough options to pay for a kitchen - swings and roundabouts.....)

Step Three: Get down to it

Return to house to find a sleeping dog (told you that early doors walk would be worth it). Take a moment to savour the silence of your home. Enjoy a solid few hours of writing and marvel at how a week off really can replenish your reserves. Even if your children fought like wildcats for large parts of it.

Step Four: Run the dog

Get some proper use out of your active wear. Leave the house looking unspeakable with the dog tied to a 'canie-x' belt.

Realise that by 'run' what you're actually going to participate in is a steeplechase because you live in the countryside and it has rained solidly for most of the past week.

Also realise that by 'run' you are going to participate in a 'hunt' because you husband insisted on getting a gun dog that loses its mind when it smells rabbits/deer/pheasants.

Return home where you will bump into your neighbour. Rejoice that whilst your face looks like a tomato placed on top of a pile of Lycra she is in her 'gardening clothes' so you are evens.

Step Five: Clean the dog

On the doorstep because your dog is too big to fit in a sink and will actively fight you if you try to put it in the shower. Congratulate yourself on buying a short-haired dog. Marvel at how you get through three towels.

Step Six: Clean yourself

Now is the time for that shower. See - it would have been annoying if you'd have done it first thing...

Step Seven: Get down to it (again)

After staring enviously at the dog who is now contentedly snoozing on *your* sofa, return to your words.

And finally.....

Congratulate yourself as you complete your writing. Before heading off to collect those kids :)

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