It’s been two weeks since I switched off my work emails and mobile phone and promised myself I’d focus on my forthcoming poetry pamphlet. I started the holiday in de-cluttering mode, paying particular attention to the oceans of multiple drafts of poems swimming through my house. I know that some poets never throw any of their drafts away but I generate so much paper when I write, I’m in danger of not being able to see out of my windows or reach my door. My process involves writing by hand in notebooks (I never throw notebooks away) then typing poems up on the computer and making corrections/amendments by hand and printing out again. And again. And again.
Anyway, a good de-clutter at the weekend left me raring to go on the first Monday of the holiday and I had a productive day re-writing three of the poems I want to include in my pamphlet. It’s amazing how satisfied I felt making miniscule alterations: a different title, a word change here, a different line break there. By night fall, three poems felt stronger and fresher and I went to bed with a slightly smug smile on my face (I couldn’t help it).
Not every day has been plain sailing. It’s all very well me saying I’m going to focus on my writing for a month but I have to take into account the other, very important, people in my life, namely my husband, Andrew, and our two teenagers.
It’s great now that my children are older and can make themselves meals, clear up after themselves and use public transport, but they still need me around for late night pick-ups and quite a lot of other parental duties, including being available for heart-to-heart chats when the middle of the night blues come to visit. Sometimes it’s tough being 13 or 15 – I remember that only too well myself.
So I’ve had to carry my notebooks and draft copies of pamphlet poems around with me a far bit this holiday and have managed to fit writing (re-writing) in while cooking meals, waiting in the car while performing taxi driver duties and travelling on the train to visit extended family. That’s the other part of holidays – it’s often the only time available to catch up with far-flung relatives. In my large family (I’m one of seven children), there have been 11 children born in the last 15 years. We live in different parts of the UK, Europe and beyond, so the chances of a big get together aren’t that frequent. This holiday we managed ten youngsters on one bed and eight on a swing which wasn’t bad going – here is the photographic evidence.
Hope you’re managing your work/life/family/writing balance if you’re experiencing the holiday season. I’ll post more updates soon.