I was speaking to someone today, who has written and self published a book and I mentioned I had also written a few novels, unpublished of course, and the response I got was a volley of gasps and a suddenly attentive group of immediate onlookers.

“What?” I asked, “you all knew I was a writer.”

“No,” they responded with incredulous expressions, “we had no idea.”

And I realised that it had been such a long time since I have called myself a writer that only my ‘old friends’ had any idea that I so often loved to make up stories… and in the same instant I realised why I had stopped calling myself a writer… because I had just let life take me over and now I am nothing more than a mother. Albeit one who churns out a few pages in draft form here and there, but in every survey I fill out, and every conversation I have I am a “stay at home mum”.

Not a single novel is in any way ready for publishing, a few short stories exist under my name, and a very select group of friends get to hear all my new ideas for the next novels (how many have I got written in my head already… wouldn’t it just be so much easier to talk about that chick with the cool boots who doesn’t really exist, than actually have to write about her adventures on a strange planet – but no one ever wants to *hear* about imaginary people), yet I never actually refer to myself as a writer.

The last few weeks have been especially life orientated, between Phoebe starting school, the many birthday party invitations that happen to make their way into Phoebe’s school bag (and we have to go to all of them of course… well that’s what a good mum would do right?), and the constant interruption of coffee and shopping with friends (which is always instigated by a need to get the kids together for a play – Kmart toy aisle here we come, coffee in tow!) it is hard to find the time to write anything… although I do manage to get quite a few words down on paper, it’s the whole turning on the computer thing that just seems like too much hard work after a day of chasing kids.

So, it’s all about being a mum. And if you’re a mum, you can be nothing else – or at least that is the undercurrent that life is trying to pull me into at the moment –  and I know that will change, and I know there will be that moment when I realise that the kids are all grown up and I will have the time for so many other things (and believe me I am NOT looking forward to that – for what do you do with life once there is no more washing, or bedroom tidying, or kids to rescue from the clutches of the dangerously out of tilt bar stool?) and I know that one day I will be writing more.. but this is what I wonder…

When will the day come that I will freely call myself a writer again, without feeling the need to furiously blush because the answer to the next question, “what have you written?” is a resounding… “Nothing lately, except a couple of birthday party invitations.”


~ by Alissa Anderton on April 3, 2010.

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