Saturday, September 06, 2008

Weekend Wind-Down - A Book With Biddy

This Saturday, our columnist in the trenches tells us about Lessons She Should Already Know and what she's learned this past month....take it away Biddy!

This month has been one long lesson to me about guarding my writing time. In fact it has been about what happens when you don’t say ‘No’ and don’t set boundaries. It is a lesson I thought I learnt a few years ago but I always need reminding that when I don’t have time for myself and what is important in my life I become a very unhappy Biddy.

So what went wrong?

I think like anything it is one of gradual erosion of my barriers, because giving in to loved ones is over the little stuff isn’t a problem is it? Everyone has to have a little give and take… and we all want to help out people we love. But for me it was the thin edge of the wedge. Once I had given in to the little stuff it became harder to say ‘No’ to the other stuff. To want to not be selfish because that day you had booked off to write meant you could be around to:

a) Achieve world peace

b) Discover a cure for cancer

But each time I did that I relegated my writing time to being something less important. And when I don’t treat it as important how can I expect others to treat it as important?
And then of course when there was a bit of writing time I was too stressed to write because I was worrying that I hadn’t been writing. Picture me running round in circles smacking into walls!!

Last weekend there was a step change though. Firstly I said how I felt and you know what they say about a problem shared! Secondly I had time for me. Biddy Time. I cuddled it to myself and revelled in the knowledge that no one was going to speak to me for at least twenty four hours (unless I wanted them to). Thirdly I actually got round to picking up the revisions… and with some help from the lovely Ms Donna Alward I have restarted them and managed to burn through quite a bit.

The rest of September is not looking that full of Biddy Time but I am drawing rings around every bit I can find.


  1. Hi Biddy

    The preciousness of writing time should never to be underestimated. But sometimes you just can't help letting life get in the way. And I'm not even going to mention here my washing machine and dishwasher that broke down simultaneously while I was on deadline!

    That said, you also have to let yourself be selfish. In fact I often allow myself to be a total self-absorbed, selfish cow when I'm writing (my sons can vouch for me on this one, big time). And I was like that before I ever got published. Maybe that's because being a cow comes naturally to me (and I know it doesn't for you) but you get my drift.

    Let's also not forget that it's much harder to motivate yourself to do revisions (for me anyway). I always think crap I've already written this sucker do I really want to write it again.

    So what you have here, is a triple whammy.

    1). Life Getting in the Way
    2). You not be a natural selfish cow
    3). Sucky revisions to deal with.

    So here are my suggestions:

    1). Tell life to take a hike
    2). Take a big swig of Selfish Cow elixir (I can lend you some it you don't have any).
    3). Jump in and wrestle those sucky revisions to the ground.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Hi Heidi

    Thank you very much for this!! I will take any elixir that is possible!! And thanks for saying I'm not a selfish cow... I have my moments. I think I have to unlearn all those lessons you are told when you are younger about not being selfish.

    I am about to start wrestling them into submission!!


  3. Hi Biddy,

    This is really interesting because as an aspiring writer I definitely find myself close to tears trying to squeeze in some 'me' time.
    Some days I wake and feel the words itching through my fingers...but the weather is so good (and that's so rare in Ireland)that I feel I ought to be spending the day with my kiddies. Then after a tiring day at the zoo/park/pool they finally hit the pillows and hubby suggests a good movie and a nice bottle of vino. What do I do? More importantly, what should I do? I feel bad if I fob him off for imaginary people in my head but then I feel worse for abandoning the Mod Heat couple who maybe, just maybe, might be hot enough to help me on the road to publication.
    I used to be selfish, once upon a time but then the kids arrived and now I'm a walk over. I need some serious help, I need to toughen up.
    And I doubt Heidi really is a selfish cow!!!


  4. Aideen,

    Nora Roberts told a great story at conference about her two sons and how, when they were little and she had to write she'd tell them, only if fire and blood were involved should they call her out of the writing cave. Then as they got older it was arterial blood and active fire, because frankly, by then she expected them to be able to do a decent field dressing and find the fire extinguisher.

    Of course, we all had a good laugh but my theory, like Nora's (ooh, I love saying that) is that I love my kids and my husband, but sometimes you just have to say Scram! This is important to me.

    See, I am a selfish cow, but hey, it works for me!

    Heidi x

    PS: Best of luck with your Feel the Heat entry btw, we're all rooting for you.

  5. Aideen,

    Except for the hubby and kids it sounds just like my life!! And good luck with 'Feel the Heat' competition... you never know one day we could both be joining Heidi as Modern Heat authors!

    We must channel our inner Nora and Heidis!!!

    And Heidi isn't selfish, she is just is better at saying 'no'.


  6. That Nora story is so funny and I can actually imagine her telling it. Wow, if anyone in the world has discipline it's that woman.
    And thanks so much for the wonderful encouragement, ye Modern Heat girls are so so supportive.
    The generousity shown by giving ye're time, help and objective advice is very much appreciated.
    Who knows Biddy? Maybe someday we'll be able to start a post by saying 'before I was published...'

    Dream big I say, no point otherwise.


  7. Biddy,

    You sweetie for mentioning me in the same sentence as Nora (if only!). I've almost forgiven you for not mentioning we were dancing next to her at the Harlequin party until after she'd gone!

    And yeah, Aideen, dream big. It'll be worth it in the end.

    Heidi x

  8. Heidi,

    Erm... sorry about that but I was trying to not startle her. The Greater Spotted La Nora can be a timid and easily startled specimen during the conference season. Next time I PROMISE to let you know.

    Biddy x

  9. Hugs, it is hard to make time to write when there are so many things tugging you in different directions but you can do this.