Posted by: grannyjen3 | July 8, 2011


I used to be a writer, once.  No, honestly, I did!  I have two books half-written plus one that needs a final edit and I just can’t seem to find the time to work on them.  I’m supposed to be retired from everything except writing, but I’ve never been so busy.

Why?  Well…

In late February I flew to Northern Ireland for two weeks with my daughter, son-in-law and little Catrin.  From there I flew to Heathrow to spend a couple of days with my other two daughters.  Somewhere along the way I picked up Ryanair flu, which turned to pleurisy.  Two weeks later (still coughing) I was in mid-Wales workshopping in schools in Penarth, Caerphilly, Chepstow, Machynlleth and Rhayader.  I love workshopping ~it’s the next best thing to writing.  I love the expectant buzz I get when I go into a classroom; love the great big smiles from the kids when they’ve produced something good ~ and they always do.  I love hamming it up telling stories to tinies and especially that “whool row of goldfish” effect I get from them.  Because I live in France and ferries and aeroplanes and hotels don’t come cheap I just about break even (though not aways) and can only afford to visit two or three times a year.  I used to visit schools two or three times a week and I miss it.  But it’s not writing.

May half-term I was in Epping with eldest daughter and grand-children Daisy, Tove and Dylan.  In June I was back in Wales, workshopping again, then off to Cornwall for a couple of days while Himself and middle daughter played with Rick Stein and a lot of fish.  In August middle daughter and her husband (and possibly a couple of her friends, too) arrive for a holiday.  In September I’m off again to Ireland, this time for a couple of days’ holiday in the south as well as visiting daughter in the north.

Added to that, I’m secretary to our church management committe (I told them I didn’t have time but there was no one else!).  This means I write minutes, agendas and the monthly newsletter;  I’ve set up a monthly creative writing group chez me for half a dozen UK expats.  I’ve also made 30 little Victorian waistcoats;  30 little Victorian pinafores; one Edwardian walking skirt;  one Edwardian walking jacket;  one Egyptian robe with long stole (both beaded ~ and I cut the paper pattern for that, too!) all for my youngest daughter’s Living History interpretation business “Time Steps” in Ireland.  Then I produced thirty stitched ribbons in various fabrics for my eldest daughter’s hand-made designer jewellery business (I enclosed a note in the parcel that said “hand made in France by exiled pensioner on starvation wages”).  She’s now requested an appliqued banner for the front of her stall…  My latest production was a Barbie-pink, big-fat-gypsy-wedding, totally OTT skirt festooned with pink and gold ribbons, lace, gold and pink chiffon and cerise rosettes for grand-daughter Daisy’s 5th birthday later this month.  Next project (after the appliqued banner, that is) will be 30 child-size Viking tunics, again for Time Steps.  I knew buying that sewing machine was a mistake.

I work best with a deadline to hit.  If I know I have to get something off to a publisher/newspaper/blog by Friday fortnight, I’ll have it done by Tuesday last week.  Without one, I’m easily distracted.  Even by ironing.  And I loathe ironing.

For the last month I’ve been saying, “Monday I’ll start editing” ~ but Mondays don’t last like they used to.  (I start diets on Mondays, too ~ and they don’t work, either ~ any more than I do!)

Perhaps what I need is a strict disciplinarian ~ but if I mention that to Himself he’ll get that gleam in his eye.  I’ll need to explain that he has to send me to my laptop and order me to work, wench, or else.  Trouble is, he’s horizontal with the Telegraph crossword clutched to his chest.  Snoring.

Perhaps if I have a bit of a lie down myself I can start work when I wake up…



  1. You lead a busy, full and interesting life, Jen.
    I haven’t done any writing for a few months now. As a full-time teacher I find that I’m usually flagging by about June/July, looking desperately for that finishing tape.
    I usually start a new story in the Summer Hols. If the Muse is co-operating, I might even get a third of it written. (I wrote the complete first draft of “Rewind” in six weeks, lord knows how) I can then work on the rest while I’m back in school.
    I really enjoy the re-drafting, polishing stage of writing, probably because it doesn’t seem to require as much energy as that initial creativity/structuring etc

  2. I love editing too, Paul. In fact, I actually got five chapters of the final draft of part two of my adult novel “Silver Fox” edited yesterday, before going to a BBQ in the rain…

  3. I know how you feel – but sadly without any of the beautiful-sounding excuses! Must Start On Monday too.

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