When I started writing a few years ago, no one really batted an eyelid. I was seen as having a rather quaint little hobby where I’d tinker about on the laptop every now and again.
When the tinkering resulted in a book written, my husband finally said, ‘Oh, you’ve been writing a book.’ My boys weren’t convinced. Pages and pages of words on the screen with no pictures was definitely not a book.
These days I manage to crawl out of bed at about 5am to write for a couple of hours before real life begins. This is great. The men of the house are sound asleep, oblivious to coffee-fuelled me tiptoeing about and tinkering away in the pitch-dark night.
But, since the wondrous moment of achieving my first publishing deal, I have known without a doubt that I want to write and write and never stop writing. I want to write the stories that bubble and brew in my head.
So this has meant trying to carve out a few extra writing hours here and there. Not so easy in a household of three rather energetic little boys who love dragging their mother onto the trampoline to bounce vigorously or using her as a target for conker catapulting or just using her slight squishiness as a pillow to curl up on and watch a DVD.
And as any writer will surely agree, writing is strangely unpredictable. Yes, I have my set time to write, but good old inspiration doesn’t always play ball, but instead, creeps up on you like those freaky spiders that lurk on your bedroom ceiling. One minute it’s just sitting there minding its own business then the next second it’s dangling in front of your nose, bold as anything, shouting, ‘Ha! Look at me being all super sleuth and catching you unawares!’ And when it does strike (inspiration not the spider), you just have to act, otherwise it’s gone, leaving a fuzzy fog that you fumble about in begging, ‘Wait! Don’t go!’
When it happens in the safety of my own home, I find myself hurtling to the office to start tapping away in a frenzied manner, often accompanied by random shouts at the screen.
My 4 year old was quite alarmed when he witnessed this attack the first time.
‘Mum’s shouting at the laptop and making funny smiley faces,’ he shouted in alarm to his older brother after I’d whizzed past him leaving him spinning on the spot in the hallway.
‘Oh, she’s fine,’ my 8 year-old called back, ‘it’s just inspiration.’
‘Oh,’ said my 4 year-old, relieved that this strange behaviour had a name. ‘Does she need Calpol for that?’
During another incident of inspiration, my mother happened to phone.
‘Mam can’t come to the phone because she’s got The Inspirations,’ said my 4 year-old very matter-of-factly.
Having rescued the phone from his clutches I spent the next 10 minutes reassuring my mother that I was fit and healthy – ish and was not suffering from any tropical strain of flu. I was simply writing.
My children have now become accustomed to these unpredictable bouts of inspiration and they no longer cause them to worry. They have learnt to recognise the itchy-twitching seconds before I tear down the hallway, or execute a sharp turn and a skidding stop in a lay-by then grapple wildly with my notebook and pen, or simply start talking to myself in public places. They just nod at each other knowingly. Nothing to worry about. Mam’s just got a bad case of The Inspirations.
Hwyl am y tro x