Writer’s term-time life: Parenting my inner child.

COVID has pushed me into several productivity spirals. These sound like a good thing, but really are not. I start worrying about output and achieving something, and my ideas quickly dry up along with my pleasure in my work.

The children have gone back to school and COVID has cancelled almost everything else. I usually dream of having as much time to write as I have now And I am very grateful. Grateful but fending off guilt. Because you can’t — well I can’t — focus on deep work all day.

It works thus. I write for a couple of hours. Often achieve something. I then feel the right to sit down with a cup of coffee in front of some productivity porn on Youtube. I’ve found such videos very relaxing in the past. Generally, because they made me realise I was doing my best with the time I had.

But that was when time was in short supply. Now I am parenting my inner child — the one saying she doesn’t have anything to do.

“Have you done your writing for the day?” I ask.


“Well then, have you done any reading?”


“How much?”

“A couple of chapters.”

“That’s not much. You could make more headway than that.”

“The book’s so boring.”

“It’s won the Booker.”

“I don’t care. I need something fun to do.”

“It’s the middle of the day. Adults are working now. Get some housework done and you’ll feel better.”

“You never bother to understand.” And she flounces out of the house with the dog.

Am I the only one? Tell me inner children grow up to become human beings you like!

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