Sunday, 14 October 2018

House need cleaning? Use it as motivation to write instead!

I have never been good at or a fan of housework – except, in brief spurts, when I’m avoiding work.

My mother worried about this. She thought she’d turn up one day and find me sitting on a chair – with a notebook and pen, admittedly surrounded by my accumulated clutter.

Cobwebs, what cobwebs?
Then she watched a documentary about JK Rowling. “I know now why you’re not good at housework,” she said. Apparently JK had said there were three important tasks she had to fulfil – to mind her child (like me, she was a single mum), to keep the house clean and to write. She only had time to do two of these things well.

Mind you, today my glasses fell on the floor. They fire off at every opportunity. I think they regard the top of my head as a launching pad for inter-stellar adventures, though so far they’ve only fired downwards, most notably into the loo, the bath, the sink and on top of the dog. This time, they went under the heater.

Minutes after I put them back on – after chastising them, swearing a little and nearly toppling my mug of coffee as I bent down – I realised one side needed cleaning; maybe a hair had got caught in the joint – but no, it was a cobweb.
Clean cobwebs or write a play about
cloning a man from a thumb?
Julie Lockey in All Thumbs,
 International Bar Theatre, 2016

A nice fat little cobweb.

For a moment - brief - I thought, I could hoover... 

Or I could get back to my book.

 I’ve given myself a week to finish the last section. (Ambitious because I know it’s flawed. Though the flaws may stretch back deeper into the book, I won’t know until I finish, set it aside and re-read.)

Thing is, I have a really nice few chapters at the end but I’m not sure whether to lead in to leap forward... Whether that should be the ending or it should go on to the next big moment. Whether this is book two of two or of three... Whether the drama leading up to this point is big enough or needs an extra injection of oompf...

So instead of cleaning, I decided to use the cobwebs as motivation to drive me to my notebook, oblivious to the clutter and play with words for the next half hour. 

As someone once said, the house will still be there when you’re gone so what’s the most important thing to do?


Write That Script, The Angelica Touch and Dad’s Red Dress by L.J. Sedgwick are all available from Amazon and on my online store. They are also available from Kenny’s Bookshop, Charlie Byrne’s bookshop (Galway), Books Upstairs, the Winding Stairs bookshop (Dublin) and Hanna’s in Rathmines


  1. Sure when you clean it you will have to do it again soon anyway. So maybe clean every fifth time you think of it: four parts work to one part housework. Or Not

  2. Yeah, something like that! There's a Quinten Crisp quote that goes something along the lines of I hate housework - the hoovering, the dusting and then six years later,
    you've to do it all over again!