I think about writing a lot, maybe too much sometimes. Sometimes I worry about spending so much time writing that other things are neglected, such as housework.

Intellectually I know housework is not my priority but it nags at me sometimes. I realize that I was brought up to think that way, not deliberately but because I was surrounded by women who thought that way.


I remember my mother returning to education as a mature student. She had two part-time jobs, went to college, had two kids and still had to clean three houses – our house, her sick mother’s house and her elderly auntie’s house.

It went without questioning in those days. The phrase at the time was ‘you just get on with it.’ Although attitudes towards gender roles have changed I wonder just how much? Here’s me below in my first house:

Fear of failure. Wendy house and little girl


Has my own attitude changed enough? Not if I still find myself with niggling little guilty feelings about housework? Of course now there is a whole industry growing up around the idea of keeping thing clean and simple and I agree with much of it but then I wonder if keeping things clean and simple is in itself another thing ‘to do’ that keeps you away from writing. In other words – is the choice really about writing or cleaning or is there more to it?

fear of failure. Large cobweb

I wonder is it really about finding an excuse not to write. Writing is risking. It is easier to go through life not taking any risk. Not putting our work ‘out there’ is one way to avoid criticism and failure.


Failure is a big word. I dread it a lot more than I dread housework. So do most people I know. So, maybe it’s failure we need to address.  Why is it so scary? Our culture tends to attach shame to the concept, yet failure is really just a by product of learning.

In fact, failure is a crucial part of the learning process. Nobody likes it but we need to keep it in perspective. Writers often call those unsold manuscripts they keep in the drawer failures but really they are not. They are in fact practice. Practicing your art is what you are meant to do. We don’t expect to be note-perfect when we learn to play the piano. We expect it to take work. Work is what makes an artist.

If you accept this you will find it much easier to just let go of the fear of failure and focus in on developing your creative writing ideas and getting those stories written.

Oh and if it’s really about housework and then my suggestion is to schedule it and do it.  There are loads of great tips about time management here.

So get it over with, don’t let cleaning or thinking about cleaning chip away at your precious writing time. Keep your writing time sacred.

Best of luck


PS. Do we waste a lot of time buying stuff we don’t need. A lot of this is stuff that needs cleaning. Buy less – clean less and write more. Now that’s an idea I like.

There’s more from my diary here.

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