Monday, 22 February 2016

Writer's Flood

Me writing as a young'un
In our house, today is the first day back at school after half term. The kids have left, and all of a sudden my time feels empty. I’ve been enjoying the boundless creativity, inquisitive minds and zany ideas that come with getting the children at their best. When they get home this evening I'll get the tired, grouchy, 'please can I just play Wii?' children that appear in my house during term time, and we’ll be back in the drudge again.

The only plus point about the kids going back is that I’m able to get stuck into writing again. I love writing, it’s where I feel most at home, Coffee, notepad, pencil, computer - these are items that feel most comfortable to me, like putting on old, warm slippers. 

I just have one problem: I don’t have a project.

I’ve blogged on here before about  writers block - about the frustration of not just knowing how to get what I want down on paper, but what to write about in the first place. And yet, I don’t know about you, but many times I complain about writers block, what I really mean is writers flood.

I have ideas in abundance, but they flit and fly, beautiful to see reflecting the light but difficult to catch and make something of. There are so many thoughts that I become paralysed by choice and end up with nothing.

It’s not that there’s nothing to do. I’ve got plenty of things I could be getting on with.

I’ve been thinking for a while about trying to write a second memoir. I’ve planned, structured, and got a somewhat accurate timeline to work from. I’ve even typed and edited some of the inevitable journal entries that mark every autobiography, but the excitement isn’t there, and I’m not actually in the mood where I want to think about it.

I’ve also sort of got a novel in my head. Well, not a novel so much as a title - the plot is still a bit shadowy. I have a saccharine heroine and a brooding villain, but beyond that nothing - and that definitely won’t a good novel make. 

The mental health book I’ve talked about before has gone on the back burner for a while - my co-writer is busy with speaking and in searching for a publisher I’ve lost the will to email. It’s still a topic I’m passionate about, but the enthusiasm for formulating ideas into a book has dwindled.

So how do I choose? How do I decide what should get the best of my time whilst school gets the best of my children’s? What decision uses my time most wisely whilst also fuelling the part of me that has been smothered for the last ten days being mummy?

A plan to go with a new term: When Seth’s teacher starts with the register, I’ll make my own list of jobs that need attending to. When Amelia is handing in her homework, I’ll be doing my homework - making sure that jobs are done, emails replied to, dishwasher emptied. 

And then, when the children are settling into their work, I shall sit down, look at my options, and start to write, waiting for the tingly feeling that says I’m onto something.

Or, if nothing else, yet another idea…

Abbie has been writing ever since she could hold a pencil - her first self-published work was a short story about a magic key, which was displayed on the fridge. After struggling with self harm and eating disorders for a number of years she went on to write a memoir ‘Secret Scars’ published by Authentic in 2007, and later ‘Insight Into Self-Harm’ published by CWR in 2014. In 2007 she launched Adullam Ministries, an information and support website and forum on self-harm and related issues. She blogs at Pink and Blue Mummyland and tweets as @AbbieRobson and @AdullamSelfHarm. She lives in Rugby with husband John, two demanding children, and two even more demanding cats.

Book cover: Insight into Self-Harm by Helena Wilkinson and Abbie RobsonCover of book: Secret Scars by Abbie Robson



  1. I can relate to this, Abbie. I also have several projects, which need the sort of input I feel unable to produce, either in terms of content or taking the next step towards possible publication. It is easier to carry on blogging.
    I'm sure your disciplined timetable will help you organise your thoughts and your material.

  2. Interesting you should blog this today. I have been thinking about writing a task list and a to do list to help me with my procrastination problem! My problem is too little time in which to write after I finish work. I panic at so little time and then can't decide how best to use it and don't do anything.

    I shall write a list when I get home from work tonight...

  3. So true! So many ideas and so little time... But you will get that "zing - this is it!" at the right time. From the little paragraph about you, it sounds as though you have plenty of experience to offer.Your published works look fab. Godspeed to the next one :)

  4. I can identify with the notion of "paralysed by choice". When I'm at work I can't wait for my day off to come round so I can get on with my writing - but once I'm alone with my laptop I frequently feel overwhelmed by all the ideas jostling for attention inside my head. Hope your new plan helps.

  5. Yes, sometimes hard to choose what to do first. I do have a novella to self-publish and a couple of articles to write. But also the housework and... there's Facebook. We can easily feel flooded and unfocused. Hope your mental health book works out for you, Abbie, try Jason Pegler as a publisher chipmunka publishing.