Showing up to write

This week I joined a writers’ accountability group. We’re the secret seven – a small group of writers (some published, some not) who are troubled with two issues: PROCRASTINATION and FAFFING. Okay, so it’s really one issue, but still …

Each of us has a writer’s goal (or goals) we want to reach, whether long-term (write novel), others are short-term (finish edits), or time-based. And each week we share our weekly goal/s and support each other in our efforts to get there.

My short-term goal is to work on some possible rewrites for Wherever You Go, based on suggestions from the first agent I sent it to. I’m working in another perspective and killing some darlings. I’d like to have this finished by the end of February, before I go to a writer’s retreat in Ireland, and the London Book Fair.

But it’s so easy to faff about and do all sorts of other things, especially when your thinking is blocked – which often happens when I drag myself out of bed for 45-minutes’ writing before work three days a week. I’m tired and ‘Oh look, this bill is due today’ or ‘I’ll just check my emails’, or ‘Awww, the cat wants a cuddle’ and ‘That sunrise is insta-worthy! Where’s my phone?’.


The other morning I woke up to a bench full of dirty dishes – it was Miss 16’s turn to wash up and she forgot – and I could not leave them. I couldn’t. By the time I’d washed up (I made home-made pasta the night before so there was a lot to do), wiped down the benches and so on, I had 10 minutes’ writing time left. I could have left them for Miss 16, but she was in a fragile state owing to having to go to school with a coldsore, so I chose not to fight that battle. It wasn’t a hard decision. I can’t write if the house is a mess.



I’ve been reading Still Life With Teapot by Brigid Lowry lately (great book) and among the many gems of wisdom is this: “Either write, or don’t write”. If you can’t be bothered writing, don’t.

But if you delight in words, and you must write:

“Write with every ounce of your being. Write as if your hair is on fire. Be the writing … Don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, after Christmas. There is no perfect time to write.”

Be the writing. Wow.

And then Lowry delivers this kick up the butt:

“Stop whinging about how hard it is. ‘Work with pleasure only,’ as Henry Miller advised. Stop being a lazy bugger. Show up for work everyday and give it everything you’ve got.”

Ouch. But spot on.

I wrote this morning – I could have kept going if the need to get paid didn’t intrude – but I’m realising something more and more. I need to guard my writing time. I need to use it when I have it and not waste it. Not FAFF about.

If I don’t, my accountability group will have words with me.




Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

0 Responses

  1. What a beautiful post! So much I want to respond to, including the reference to the ‘secret seven’ as you’ve named us! And yes, the lollygagging police will pay a visit!
    PS. I ❤️ Brigid’s book too! So many gems of wisdom.

    1. Thanks, Louise.

      I am so glad I have been in my circle who get what I’m trying to do, and how hard it can be at times. People like you, and the rest of the secret seven. I’m so looking forward to what each of us produces.

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