Past my bedtime

There is something of a notion that parents should be going to bed early.

For whatever reason, we’ve not really got there. Both of us with night owl body clocks; the enjoyment of solo time after Junior Reader has gone to bed. No great ability at getting up in the mornings, beyond the absolutely necessary.

And as I write, I am also solo parent this evening, so there’s no one to nudge me to put the light out.

I love writing at night. In my teens, I had the chance to do it – and the constitution that would let me. (As well as parents that were understanding about the weekend lie-ins that would happen when you did need to catch up.)

The difficulty, these days, is that what I do in a given day has so many separate headings:

– cooking

– cleaning (well, at least at times)

– copy writing

– supervising homework

– parenting (the big catch-all)

– writing for myself

And many more. Whereas once, I would go to work, sit in an office, and maybe even work on the same thing for several hours at a time. (Not all the time, by any means, but it was possible at least to keep going on the same general area of work.)

Now, I may at times settle into an activity – and, quick as a flash, it’s time to go on to another. Because, you know, it’s coming, ready or not.

As a result, when I do get longer chunks of time, particularly for writing, I kind of don’t know when to stop.

I used to read in big chunks of time – inhaling words, piling my plate. Then, for long enough, I got put off reading books, because I lacked those times of uninterrupted troughing.

So I stuck to lots of tiny things to read, that could fit in the cracks between activities.

Since Christmas, really, I’ve dived back in. I can be doing other things, of course, but part of me is still treading water on the book, waiting for the other swimmers to move out the way so I can continue my reading lengths, up and down the book.

It is wonderful. But writing doesn’t always work so well that way. The short pieces, yes, which is why blog writing can be great (and micro-blogging, aka comments on Facebook, even more so).

Still, some posts need a bit more thinking – or researching, if I’m trying to turn up a particular quotation or picture book illustration.

And for those moments where (whisper it) I am actually doing some creative writing, that takes even longer.

There must be some kind of ratio, or timing, that I can work out. So many key strokes, however long spent tapping away, before the better ideas come out of hiding.

I don’t yet know what it is. And I like a bit of luxuriating in language where I can get it. Especially where the ideas start to take their own course as I write. Those are the exciting times.

I will of course keep going with the little moments too – because, writing about Moments, that’s sometimes very apt. (Plus I can type fast, so my Moments look longer, even if the time to write them is less.)

For now, it’s way past my bedtime. I will pay for it tomorrow, at some point.

But just for now, I’ll imagine I’m a teenager again, steering my ship in the night as the words form the waves that carry me forwards.

[Written last week – a spot of catching up in posting.]

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