One Step at a Time ~ Do I need a Writer’s Den to Retreat in?

It’s been a difficult summer. From the privileged position of having long stretches of the day to myself for a year to do ‘writerly’ things in peace, suddenly my life has been turned upside down with my husband’s retirement. I thought of requisitioning the shed and turning it into a writer’s den but have not resorted to that, quite yet.

Throughout our married lives I’ve done the cooking ~ not unusual you might say. Then in Fife I did absolutely everything in terms of housekeeping ~ guilty that I was no longer in ‘conventional work’ I suppose, although I worked pretty hard from morning ’til dusk.

Before returning to Bedfordshire from Fife I knew things had to change and so this was my first target of attack in a campaign to ‘get some of my life back.’ Life revolves around food and drink ~ morning cuppa, meal times, snacks ~ all required a rethink in order to give me periods of quiet to get my head around the task in hand and yet hubby needed to feel fulfilled too (and not ignored) so it was a fine balancing act. We didn’t always get it right in the early stages and had a few cross words and rows, but we’re getting there now. Here’s how we went about it:

1 First Ground Rule ~ ‘I think it’s coffee time!’

From day one I had to make it clear that when I was concentrating on a project I needed to be left in peace. Difficult for someone who would expect me to jump up and make tea or coffee. Mind you, he had brought me a cuppa first thing at about 6.15 am on work days for years!

We soon learnt to make our own tea and coffee but if I happened to emerge we’d stop and share a few minutes together.

1. Second Ground Rule ~ ‘What are we having for lunch?’

This was tougher but I liked to grab a snack, something simple, at an appropriate moment. Gradually hubby got the hang of getting his own lunch and even cooks bacon for breakfast sometimes too. Progress!!!

3. Third Ground Rule ~ ‘Is the dinner ready?’

Once he had mastered bacon there was no stopping him. It took time and patience to sit in the kitchen, giving instructions and the occasional helping hand, but now we share responsibility for meal times ~ a huge step forward ~ in fact he’s cooking a chilli to go in the slow cooker as I write this, which we will enjoy in a companionable state early this evening. Delicious!

In the next post I’ll share the more tricky day to day stuff.

How have you coped with a spouse retiring? How do you preserve your writing space and time? How do you hold on to your own identity? I’d love to hear from you.


About Diana Jackson

Author of 'The Healing Paths of Fife', Historical Romantic fiction ~ The Riduna Series set in 19th and early 20th Century a murder mystery ~ 'Murder, Now and Then' and two memoir. What links my books ~ history! Riduna on Twitter and on Facebook too!
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6 Responses to One Step at a Time ~ Do I need a Writer’s Den to Retreat in?

  1. thenoveilst says:

    Well, mine left me in the middle of a terribly health breakdown, so that left me with space to write and to recapture my identity. I then recently published my books in the UK and hoping to finish my third one which is set in Berkshire. 🙂

  2. Pat says:

    Yep, yep, yep, Diana. Sounds familiar but, for me, my writing is at the kitchen table right in the middle of things. Fortunately, I’m lucky that hubby likes to do his thing on the computer downstairs so that leaves me free and alone with my thoughts.

    We’re also pretty independent on getting food and drinks for ourselves. Hubby is more on a scheduled timetable than I am and that makes for a bit of interruption at times. All-in-all, it’s been working out pretty good for us but has been a work in progress.

    • Funny how we all write differently. I can imagine you at the kitchen table almost welcoming interruptions – a chat over a cuppa from friends and family. (I imagine it’s not always like that though 🙂 )
      It certainly takes time to work things through

      • Pat says:

        It is, Diana. We’re all coming from different places and writing in different ways. That’s the beauty of it. I’d love to have more friends stopping by but their lives are different, too, and not retired, yet, still commuting to work.

        So, it’s more quiet and remote here and the silence gets loud — different and, you’re right, it takes time to work through. I love it, though, and you never know what change is coming around the corner. Life keeps happening like that and I’m just enjoying it as it comes. :-).

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