Selfishly, yours.

You may have noticed my absence this week. I trust I am not being presumptuous by hoping so. I got tangled up in a professional opportunity that involved me going back into my portfolio, digitizing and bringing 10 years of work up to date in 10 days of frantic scrambling.

I didn’t even peep my head around the door to see you guys. You noticed? You see, I knew the craic in the room would pull me in.

And now, here I am, back but wearing an ankle monitor.

Well, more of that in a minute.

Firstly, this morning I stumbled upon a list of the 10 worst pieces of advice writers have been given and this one really struck me:

Don’t Be Selfish!

Don’t be selfish’—that’s one you hear a lot, especially growing up from parents, guardians, teachers and so on. It’s terrible advice for writers though. Writing practically demands that one exhibit a high degree of selfishness. Not I hasten to add with regard to money, prizes and acclaim but when it comes to time, that most definitively finite of commodities. Can you taste it in the back of your mouth? The almost tangibly metallic tang of wasted time as you sit there reading this blog? Writing, especially for those of us not in the position to go at it full-time, requires a maniacal degree of possessiveness about your every spare quarter hour. It means letting down and fobbing off lovers and dependents, cousins and confidants. You have to master the gentle art of inflicting disappointment.

Oh, amen, brother.

This coincides with a conversation I had a couple of days ago with a writer friend who has been seeing a girl for some months and really likes her. As their relationship grows he finds it harder to carve out his writing time and feels her disappointment when he slopes off to write. Only another writer understands this compulsion that tugs you away from fun and friends and all things good and wholesome. She, not being a writer, thinks it’s a reflection of how he feels about her. His predicament is how to make her understand that it’s not that he doesn’t want to be with her, but that if he doesn’t write he will be absent from the relationship even when he’s physically with her.d143e2e754d873a6097652fc8d10f92a

My week away has made me realize I must selfishly curb my time hanging out here. It’s like when my mum used to answer the door to my little schoolfriend and respond “No, Jacqueline cannot come out to play today as she has homework to do.” As the door closed, I’d be at the kitchen table scowling but knew better than to argue. I find myself in the same position. I must sacrifice some WordPress playtime for the Microsoft Word grindstone if my second novel is ever to see the light of day. But fret not (again I hope I’m not being too presumptuous to imagine there might be a flicker of disappointment occurring somewhere out there) I’ll definitely be by twice a week with posts and comments––which was my initial aim but then, gosh darn it, you guys were just so much fun I started coming around more and more. Soon it was every bleedin’ day!

Don’t worry, we’ll still spend quality time together, I promise.  I’ll bring cupcakes and flasks of milky tea. I’ll bring my second novel…soon…ish…

On another note, do I need to invest in a quill..? WIll that make the magic happen faster? Make me more prolific? Huh? Leave your thoughts and I’ll check back later––Doh!! No, that’s not the new way…mutters to self in chastising tone…(ankle bracelet hums, alerting authorities offender has gone out of allowed range..)

Jane Austin's writing table, Hampshire, England

Jane Austen’s writing table, Hampshire, England

Read complete list of bad advice writers have been given.

My debut novel, Silk for the Feed Dogs, written when I had a greater wealth of concentrated thinking, is available. You can buy it here.

31 comments

  1. Keep that ankle monitor on – I’m watching you – LOL. Love your posts. Don’t leave us for too long.

  2. As long as you keep on writing. On WP and off…will live without your comments

  3. 🙂 So good to have you around. But I understand one hundred percent. Although I don’t write for a living – purely for pleasure – it takes lots and lots of time and my family are not happy when I sit hour after hour reading and writing, all in the evenings after work. But I guess that’s just life.
    Makes me wish I’d win the lottery – then I could write whenever I want, no daytime job disturbing me 😉
    Take your time – whenever you’re on WP you’ll make us happy with your comments 😀

  4. You were missed indeed, love!! Do keep rocking out your fabulousness of course, but great post and so glad you are back 😉 xxx

    • I’ll be keeping an eye on you, Lovely, so no slacking off. All that good work you’ve put in in recent months is building to something on your end too, I think…xo

      • Yes ma’am!! 🙂 Deal, I promise! Thank you so much for that, Jackie, it means more than I can say. I feel something building and I thank you for such a fine example of what a writer can be. You are such an inspiration!! xxxx

  5. I understand completely. :0) Your posts are always such a treat and I’ll miss them, but I can but appreciate how you need to focus all your energies. We’ll still be here when you come back. And thanks for always commenting on my crappy wee blog!

  6. It is such a hard balance, the time spend writing and reading online as opposed to other commitments. I have kindled your book, but have nor had a chance to start reading it. I’m actually saving it for a lazy-do-nothing-but-laze-day. Hopefully that will happen soon!

  7. Life gets really really busy and I do understand the need for “Writer Discipline”, as Master follows it as best as he can. You will be missed, but something exciting is being developed — how exciting. Starting your 1st book tomorrow! XO

  8. To be honest – I never missed you! 😉 I was away myself for about 6 weeks! Finally I’m getting back into the swing of things, but that sequel of mine is still playing dead. Time for both of us to get things going again. Right?

  9. Something that I read one day in the mayhem suggested that our entire life in a series of trade-off’s and I recall taking that thought on a long walk to interesting effect 🙂

  10. How funny….I was just scrolling through the Reader to see if I had missed your post! And there you were! I constantly fret that sewing takes over my “creative days”and I struggle to keep up with blog world….which I love too. So thanks for putting it so eloquently! As per usual!! Happy to see you whenever you can pop up. Go Jackie!

    • Oh, I do tend to pop up when you least expect it 🙂 My time away will make my visits even more special. Someone just told me that life’s a series of trade offs. I think that’s what we experience on a daily basis and we make it work. Thanks for the cheerleading!

  11. You were missed and will be missed..but anything worth while has it’s price. Am ending big love and happy, fast (purely selfish thought on my account!) writing vibes!! xxxxx

  12. Selfishly missed Ms Mallon, but totally excused for the cause is noble and the end justifies the means ✌

  13. I’m glad you are back!! Your post made me smile- lol, you do need a quill!!

    • Why thank you,my dear. I sneaked in now while the guards weren’t looking.My allotted visit is tomorrow morning! I’ll be seeing you then…don’t let on you’ve seen me 😉

  14. kathrynmcerlean@gmail.com

    yes your quite right mums and dads are great at saying that you must not be selfish.

    sorry I have been so long getting back to you I like to stay in touch have you moved in to a new house yet hope you get you dream home, I did quite well at my art interview but I think it mite be better if I did it next year I have been put down for the Btec extended diploma for 2 years I have a lot of thinking to do and sort out getting my self back to work

    kathryn

    Sent from Windows Mail

  15. Well my dearest Jackie, “I hear ya” and it seems we once again walk a somewhat similar path…
    the need to stay focused and “Git Er Done” has been my plight as well…
    I miss you, your posts and have terribly missed my visits to the “Wonderland of Silk”!

    My last read finished with poor Kat dreaming of a necklace made of red grapes that increased in size…
    until it eventually exploded all over his “Royal Highness” who then began to yell, “Off with her head!”

    So no worries, we your readers will always be here waiting and when you are able we’ll share cupcakes and milky tea! Your absence will never, ever make us yell, “Off with her head!” 😉

    Do whatever you need to do! Be selfish, guard your time, keep at it, and keep writing your 2nd novel…
    even invest in a quill if need be but stay away from bad advice…
    it’s like the necklace made out of red grapes that explodes! 😉

    Wishing you all the best Jackie, may all go well and may you “Git Er Done”!!~ xo

  16. Ankle bracelet – genius! All writers should be fitted with one. This is a big issue for writers, especially if it’s not your full-time job. People seem to think that because you’re not getting paid for it, it’s not serious and more of a hobby. When actually, it’s the most serious thing in the world, because in order to become a full-time paid writer, you have to put in the hard yards to (a) write the material and (b) build a loyal readership. Then as a self-published author, you also have to carve out time to publicise your books, create a platform, blog. etc, so finding the time to get your bum on the seat and write can be really challenging. Ankle bracelets seem like the way forward 🙂

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