Okay so enough exclamation marks. I thought I would give you a litte insight into me as a writer rather than a boaster or a whinger =) Below is two pictures of my workspace. The first is the mess I work with every day to write the way I do, to try to achieve the success I'm working so hard for.
I'm not blaming you, mum, just stating the facts. But, in saying this, I'm quite happy to be messy. If my house was filthy, rather than the organised chaotic mess it is, I wouldn't be happy at all. I try to tell my partner that when everything is in the open, it is easier to find... He doesn't buy it =) And if you look really closely, you'll see I'm worth a whole forty cents to my kids. It's the money they give me when they 'find' it (in the pocket of Doug's jeans or on the bathroom counter where I leave it after emptying my pockets after work).
The next picture is to show you just how close I am to distraction.
The white and beige fence you can see is the three metre gate separating the kitchen and dining from the lounge room. I can't let my kids in the kitchen after seeing firsthand what liquid burns do to the fragile skin of children. I can't be everywhere at once and with our dodgy oven (the door falls open on the grill), we had to keep them out. It does help that I can see them and they me but they can't climb on my lap or tap me on the arm. They can still scream and throw things at me, but I can live with that.
I'm sure by now you're asking how I can ever get anything done first with the girls and second looking at the mess? It's called practice, tolerance and a dash of fear. I can't be in a different room from my two and four year old. They are too young to left unsupervised and while I can handle a little neglect in the name of sanity, I can't handle leaving them alone for long periods of time to cater to my own selfish needs or sense of achievement. I know, I know. Doing something for myself with small children isn't selfish but neglecting them is. They need me. It's why I work at night and don't put them into childcare. I love my kids and I want to be here with them. I just can't always be in the thick of it with them! I've been writing like this for so many years, practicing the art of being in the zone and toning out the noise, I'm quite used to it.
Tolerance - It's what my partner has to have when he gets home and the house is still a tip and the dishes aren't done. But dinner is always on and the kids are always bathed. We are settling into a bit more of a routine now after being together nearly twelve years. He knows how lazy I am. Just as I put up with his flaws, he puts up with mine. Not without a fair old amount of grizzle on both our parts.
Now to the dash of fear. My kids know who's boss. Daddy :( I can scream and yell till the cows come home and not get much in the way of docile submissiveness. He only has to raise his voice once and only a bit and they stop where they are. Well, most of the time. So while it isn't technically fear, there is a level of discipline there that, without it, I would have ripped all my hair out and banished the kids to their bedrooms years ago.
So in our big happy family in the tiny messy house I manage to write bits at a time while the kids let me, until my back and my neck hurt from 'that' bloody chair and until something or someone demands my attention and 'in a minute' no longer holds any meaning because I've repeated it over and over for an hour... That's me and that's my space. I love it because it's pretty much mine but I hate it because it's so damn tiny and cramped and not ideal. But. I hold out the hope that as my kids get older and my books sell, I'll have a space I can call my own that will be perfect for me and what I need.