I’m sure there’s a novel in itself about how my lady and I got together. In fact, we might very well write a short story about it for the latest Ylva submission call. But here’s the thing I wanted to share right now: when you’re a ‘creative’ (still not sure I like that moniker), living with another creative makes it so much easier. They understand you in a different way. They get the need to jump out of bed at the ass end of the night, just to scribble down a sentence your main character has to say in the chapter you’ll write in two days. They get the need to re-prioritise when you’ve got a submission deadline for your publisher that has to be met because your editor has twenty other manuscripts to work on in three months. There’s an understanding when you drift off mid-conversation and are no longer present because there’s suddenly a dialogue in your head between your two main characters, and you simply have to listen to it to have any chance of replicating it when you sit down to write.
In short, everything is easier.
And I apologize for those of you who live with writers, artists, musicians, and you support everything your creative needs. I can but comment on my own experience. As an artist in whatever field, you have to be selfish. You create, mould, craft until you’re ‘happy’ with the end product. That might happen at 3am or 3pm, and it might take ten hour stretches of solitude or ten week-long retreats, but inevitably, it doesn’t fit into a prescribed schedule that suits anyone but yourself. I tip my hat to all artists out there who are able to balance a normal life, with the demands of children, partners and families. I really do. But in the past, for me, that’s meant compromise.
I no longer have to compromise. My lady and I work all day at a regular job (like most authors), and we carve out our writing time every evening. We sit side by side on our Italian leather sofa with electric recliner action (also perfect for nap, and other, action), and we write. We wake on lazy weekend days and rot in bed for hours, discussing plot gaps, our characters, and where our stories are going. On nights when the words just won’t play ball and go from my brain to the prettily lit-up Mac keyboard, my lady pushes for me to persevere. And when she scrolls and scrolls through Facebook instead of tapping away at 1500 words an hour, I prod her, not so gently, to give me words. On weekends away, we are sure to find a lovely little spot in a coffee shop, hunker down for a few hours and…create.
I’ve long been a writer, and only relatively recently become an author. Prior to meeting and claiming my lady, other things always managed to get in the way of my writing: work, a Masters degree, other partner-shared interests. I feel absolutely certain I would never have made it as a published author had my circumstance not changed, because there never seemed to be enough time. I recall a conversation with an old English teacher, Mr Crawford. He told me you had to sit your ass in the chair and write. You can’t wait for inspiration or fit it in when you have time, it’s something you just have to do. My lady tells me the same thing.
So, now, that is my life. Inspired or otherwise, I sit, with blinking cursor taunting me, and I write.
And my love, my muse, my soul mate, my creative, sits beside me and does the same.