Yesterday, I read this quote from Sue Moorcroft on Twitter... "All I wanted was a quiet afternoon with my WiP. Suffice to say, that is not happening. How do you do a really peeved smiley?"
It may never make it into those long lists of epigrammatical quotes from Flaubert or Hemmingway I'm always seeing in the Guardian, but it really resonated with me - 'Yes, yes - yes! That's exactly how I feel - right now' - and even made me feel better about not being able to write, since a published writer couldn't either.
Sue Moorcroft didn't say exactly why she wasn't writing, but neither did she need to. It was Life. Life gets in the bloody way.
I was struck down by a horrible sickbug this week. The kind that makes you hot and sweaty, yet cold and shivery all at the same time. My head ached. I couldn't get up, but neither could I find a comfy spot anywhere in the bed. I couldn't read or sleep or watch TV - and when I opened my laptop, the light made my eyes hurt. Urgh!
Ten-year-old went down with it before I'd recovered, which was pretty miserable for both of us. Then yesterday, it was six-year-old's turn. I thought he was having a lovely, long sleep, but later realised he was actually in a boiling hot, incoherent stupor - which frightened me. I opened all the windows and spooned tiny sips of Calpol and cold water into him while he protested weakly and heartbreakingly. After that, self and ten-year-old spent the afternoon wrapped in blankets in six-year-old's icy bedroom, drawing pictures of the Sugar Rush Racers from Disney's Wreck it Ralph in the curtained semi-darkness. This seemed to be the only way to raise a feeble smile from him.
It's been one of those weeks best wiped away mentally and forgotten about. On Monday, my only plan was to get on with my writing - (oh, and plant some anenome corms, which have been soaking for about five days now!) In the words of the great Sue Moorcroft:
"All I wanted was a quiet afternoon with my WiP."
"Suffice to say, that is not happening."
Maybe next week...
For balance, I'm going to finish with some of those-other-kind-of-quotes. You know, the ones that conflict with actual Life.
"Don't just plan to write - write. It is only by writing, not by dreaming about it, that we develop our own style." PD James
"I don't know where my ideas come from, but I know where they come to. They come to my desk and if I'm not there, they go away again." Philip Pullman
"There are no rules. Just do what you need to do to finish the book." Neil Gaiman
"The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful, typing is also good. Keep putting words on the page." Anne Enright
"Just write. If you have to make a choice, if you say, 'Oh well, I'm going to put the writing away until my children are grown,' then you don't really want to be a writer. If you want to be a writer, you do your writing. If you don't do it, you probably don't want to be a writer, you just want to have written and be famous - which is very different." Jane Yolen
"Get on with it." Colm Toibin
"Write. No amount of self-inflicted misery, altered states, black pullovers or being publicly obnoxious will ever add up to your being a writer. Writers write." AL Kennedy
"The real writer is the one who really writes." Marge Piercey
"How do you do a really peeved smiley?" Sue Moorcroft and me!