Keep calm and channel Anne Tyler

Picture the scene.

A slightly dishevelled woman sits at a laptop, her brain infused with a mixture of caffeine and fatigue. The washing machine hums comfortingly in the corner. The reassuring sound of Peppa Pig distracting her four year old daughter enables her to relax a little. She stares at the computer screen and desperately tries to channel her inner Anne Tyler. Always good to aim as high as possible, she tells herself. She blinks at the word count figure. Twenty thousand words. 

How is she ever going to get past twenty thousand words?

A squeak from upstairs causes her to flick her eyes from the screen to the clock. Twenty minutes. It’s only been twenty minutes for Pete’s sake. She pretends she didn’t hear it. Only persistent wailing will distract her from her task. She holds her fingers over the keyboard and types. The words come quickly and then she stops. She reads them back to herself and sighs.

Another squeak.

This is definitely the squeak of wakefulness. She deletes everything she has written and sighs again.

The squeak has become a,’Mamamamamamamam,’ very clear and very definite.

She glances again at the twenty thousand word count figure and closes the document.

‘Mum!’ cries her daughter from the other room. She gets up from her computer and pauses in the doorway to the living room.

‘Yes darling,’ she asks wearily. ‘What is it?’

The baby is getting a little impatient now, his shouts constant and insistent. ‘Mam! Mam! Mam!’

The little girl’s eyes do not leave the television screen. ‘Baby’s crying,’ she says.

Picture the scene five years later.

A slightly dishevelled woman sits at a laptop, her brain infused with a mixture of caffeine and fatigue. The washing machine hums comfortingly in the corner. The reassuring stillness of a quiet house, because the children are at school, enables her to relax a little. She stares at the computer screen and desperately tries to channel her inner Anne Tyler.

Some things never change, she tells herself.

She glances at the pictures surrounding her desk showing the covers for her three published titles and at the framed picture with the Not Quite Perfect cover at the centre and ‘Forty Fantastic Reviews for a Fabulous Forty Year Old’ that her best friend gave her for her birthday. She smiles.

Everything has changed. You just have to get past the twenty thousand word mark.

And drink a lot of coffee.

 

 

 

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