Slice Of Life Story Day 19 -Quarantining Time for Writing

More the twenty year ago, I bought a book called ‘Dear Writer, by Australian author, Carmel Bird. The book was a series of letters to aspiring writers, offering hope and inspiration as well as sobering advice.  I still recall how the author urged her adult student writers to quarantine time for writing. Writers have to be a little wickedly self indulgent she wrote. Carmel Bird then went further and urged fellow writers to give up nearly all the housework. She claimed it was a clear choice between a clean house and a finished story.

Such radical action makes the indulgent writer unpopular with family and friends and is not something that I could commit to;  but it does highlight an immediate issue for those of us who choose to write.

This morning I was alone in the house. Vicki is working in a school today and I have a preparation day before the working week unfolds. As I ate my breakfast the six shirts I ironed last night stared back at me, still draped around chairs. Their immediate presence made me feel as if I was being watched. A load of washing needed doing and the bed needed making, and all the time I was doing these tasks I kept thinking about the writing and planning I needed to do as well. I took Boo for her morning walk, then swept the floor.

I had cleared the decks.  Time for writing!  Don’t get me wrong sometimes I give in and the writing goes first. It absorbs a large chunk of the day. Then, I rush madly about to get the housework done before my dear wife returns, tired at the working day’s end. Cup of tea, Sweetie? I ask breathlessly.

I am also on cooking duties tonight, so some thinking and planning needs to go into that. The dreaded supermarket might have to be factored in.  Such days present temptations, but they also present realities. Afterall, it’s a balancing act between indulging a passion and being a contributor in the immediate life of your family. I am a member of more than one team. Right now, I am in the cave, writing. I will devote myself to this until the washing machine cycle ends and the clothes demand to be spread out on the line. They want to make the most of today’s glorious sunshine. It’s tough having two masters. I’m sorry Carmel, I just can't do it...


  1. Shirts watching you, hurrying through the house before your honey gets home to pick up! Been there done that-this SOLC is really my first crack at serious writing so I can't say I am distracted by it but man there are so many things to do-I don't remember who said it but I read that it's important to try and write at the same time every day. I have to work on that because everyday is different.

  2. "I am a member of more than one team. "

    What a perfect word picture.

  3. Ahh... the pull of writing versus housework..

    When I have ideas flowing - writing wins.

    When I'm out of ideas - the housework wins.

  4. life was not meant to be easy

  5. I love how you describe your 2 masters in this piece. We sit writing and trying to force out the masters in our heads :) Keep up the fight

  6. Yes, if we could just give up that nasty habit of eating, I would have more time to write. Ah, but I wouldn't have the energy to keep up. What a dilemma.

  7. Present temptations and present realities. I love how you wrote that sentence. Today, realities (grocery shopping and errands) won.

  8. Alan,
    Temptations vs. realities ...balancing act between indulging a passion and being a contributor in the immediate life of your family. These lines stood out for me in terms of writing and many other temptations that leave my house dusty and my school bag full. Your writing is always so thought-provoking. ~ Theresa


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