Well, today is the kids’ first full day at school. And after a brutally early start (they had to be at the school gate at 08:30), I have to say that I am filled with excitement and trepidation. I’m excited for them both, starting new schools in a new country; and I worry about them settling in, making friends and adapting to the new language. I’m excited to have a little ‘time for myself’ after six months of intensive parenting, but also nervous about what I could and should do with that time.
Is there any such thing as ‘free time’?
Between school drop-off and pick up, I have around five hours ‘to myself.’ What I have looked forward to most about the kids’ return to school is having some time to dedicate solely to writing, and interacting with the lovely people I have met on my blogging journey so far. Up to now, I’ve had to get up at silly-o’clock (think 5am or sometimes earlier) to have the peace and quiet I needed in which to write. Now I have five quiet hours in the middle of the day. But this time can’t be just for writing, can it? What about all the other things I need to do, such as:
- Grocery shopping
- Taking care of myself
Why did I put that last point last? Because I often make the mistake of placing it there. Which is not where it should be. Today, I put this one first, with a short run and yoga session before attempting any housework, or even any writing. And I felt I was being hugely decadent and self-indulgent. So there’s something I need to work on: less guilt at taking care of myself. Because unless you take care of yourself, you can’t very well take care of the people who depend on you.
My writing goals for the remainder of the year
I’ve several writing projects on the go, and I can’t wait to get stuck into these in earnest. First of all, I want to write blog posts on a tighter schedule, and schedule these ahead so I’m never short of a post when I need it. Secondly, I want to perfect the manuscript of my first poetry collection for publication some time…early next year? Let’s see how that goes. Then there is that ‘big and baggy monster’ my first novel, which needs a lot of work. I recently read a piece by John Irving in which he describes his novel writing process, starting at the end and working back to the start. Perhaps I should try this with my novel, as I very much like the final line. I am looking forward to revisiting the world I first created two years ago now, at any rate.
So with the toilet screaming to be cleaned and laundry to be laundered, I succumb to the temptation to:
in the word-hoard, burrow
the coil and gleam
of [my] furrowed brain.’
Thank you, Seamus Heaney.
Did I every mention that I hated housework? Yes, I think I did…