Yesterday, a local reporter interviewing me at toddlers asked me the question everybody thinks:
“But you have 4 young children. When on earth do you find time to write?”
I wanted to say something profound or glamorous, like: "I have a wonderful nanny called Beatrice Lightheart who does most of the menial tasks." Or, "I share a delightful singing governess with a family called the Von Trapps."
“Sleep deprivation,” I said.
Now, I'm not as impressive as Cindy's son (see the post 3 below). But I have exchanged sleep for writing. And it shows. (Well, my Mum says it does – but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is just age and I’m about as good as I’ll get). But it also shows in my work: my first ever book is full of broken nights: sleep walking, night-feeds, yawns, siestas and general, unadulterated exhaustion . . .
The reporter looked rather unconvinced as a small person threw a dinosaur in my coffee. (The small person was of course mine).
Now, I know that sleep deprivation isn’t completely advised. In fact, it’s decidedly not. (I believe it accounts for quite a lot of health-related conditions – depression, anxiety, stinted tissue repair, that sort of thing). And I wouldn’t exactly recommend it. But if you’re doing it anyway, (with 4 young children, it’s kind of a ‘life-style’ choice), then isn’t it best to put it to good use?
My best-friend (or am I too old for those?) is married to a pilot, and she tells me that I’m writing "in the Window of my Circadian Low." Isn't that wonderful? It makes my nocturnal scribbling sound so grand. And wait, it gets better!
If a pilot has to report to their place of work before 6am (disturbing the rhythm of their natural body clock), then they have been scheduled in a W.O.C.L .
And if they are scheduled in a W.O.C.L twice in a row, then they are not fit for duty (F.F.D). A double W.O.C.L , which I will refer to as a ‘wockle’ from here on – (poetic licence and all that), results in 36 hours off! Yes! 36 HOURS OFF!
That is why I’m a writer, and not a pilot. (Well, that and the whole ‘flying license’ and ‘skill’ thing). I would NEVER be fit for duty because I am constantly writing in my ‘wockle'. Or should that be 'wockling'. Not once. Not twice. But pretty much every night.
There’s only thing that really scares me. What if wockling is what makes me a writer? A good night’s sleep could mean the end of my budding writing career!
That’s why I need to ask you all one question. Please be honest. I really need to know....
Can a writer write well if they’re completely FIT FOR DUTY?