I’m fairly new to this malarkey. Round about one year in and counting. This whole writer-mother scenario. The latest no-budget action movie coming to a cinema very near you if we can get the distribution sorted.
In some ways nothing has changed.
There are sleepless nights. There is the stress that comes with trying to meet a deadline. There is the stress that comes when there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. The tears and the sheer exhaustion when it seems like THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN. The odd feeling of being rubbish at this game.
And yet, though nothing has changed, everything is different.
The sleepless hours aren’t necessarily connected to me sitting up all night meeting said deadline. The missing hours aren’t because I spent too long staring out of the window pondering how to restructure that scene (though I still do that – for a minute, at least). The exhaustion is often more to do with the wee one although sometimes the two are tangled up with one another. I’ve had to become a bit more – hmm, you know the cliché, but heck – efficient. I’ve had to become better at saying ‘no’ too. Still working on that. Wee one or not I would probably always wish for more hours in the day.
I could tell you about the weeks after the birth where I raced to meet a deadline because freelance life doesn’t stop – walking round the park to get my thoughts straight whilst the other half pushed the buggy and cheered ‘you can do it’ – whilst the wee one slept and I wanted to sleep too. Or the meetings with the wee one under the table in her bassinet, sleeping. Or playing with toys. Or the time I turned up for a meeting a week early, because I was trying to overcompensate and being too efficient. Without unlimited funds or family nearby (for ‘free childcare’) being creative and freelance is that little bit harder.
Still – now that the wee one has started walking I’m reminded on a daily basis of the joy that is creating and conquering new worlds (and also: new words). Somehow her conquering terra firma feels similar: We set out each day not sure if we’ll fall flat on our faces. Every new project is a new (exciting, mostly) challenge. Every step is that, faltering at first, then as we gain speed – exuberant, joyous, a laugh. When it’s all going well, mind you. Sometimes we just have to stomp the ground in frustration.
Line Langebek, Screenwriter