The Apologetic Writer

It’s a sad day when a writer has to apologise because she hasn’t had the time or the emotional capacity to write a blog post other than this one. I humbly apologise. I know that as a writer you have to build up your platform by being consistent. Although I do understand the significance of such actions (after all I’m a professional writer) sometimes life gets in the way.

Please let me explain.

Every time I see sadness in my little boy’s deep brown eyes, my heart feels as if it’s ready to lurch out of my chest. A seven year old shouldn’t be subjected to bullying, not by his team mates (who believe it only takes one person to lose a soccer match) and not by students who are nearly four years older than him. He has been humiliated for no other reason than to make others feel good about themselves. No child should have to deal with bullying on their own. When I was bullied for preferring books and getting good grades, I was told to deal with it: sticks and stones, etc. I unfortunately had to deal with it on a violent physical level and eventually had to resort to fighting back. I know how I felt about it then and I know how I feel about it now. My son has my support, is now enrolled in a sport that will build up his confidence, which has hit an all-time low. So that’s where my heart is at the moment.

My patience has been worn as thin as a stretched out strand of cotton candy. My ten year old going on sixteen daughter has decided that now would be a great time to test out a new attitude. The devil is definitely laughing at me now, especially since my daughter’s hormones have started kicking in. I know I was like that, but I was a late bloomer. I’m trying to remember what it was like but I was never a ten year old girl who was beginning to develop. I was ten once but I remained flat chested until I was seventeen.

Have I mentioned that I’ve gone back to being a student, so I can teach at an adult level? As though I didn’t have enough to deal with such as family, working fulltime, trying to write, I’ve gone and added learning to my list. We all know that when you are learning there’s usually a lot of homework. I have ten activities due in three weeks. THREE WEEKS! There’s work, school holidays, (kids fulltime at the same time. ARGHH!) and in the middle of that my husband makes the lovely gesture of deciding that we needed a holiday to relax. I’m all for it which now means I have TWO weeks to finish my homework.

So there you have it. I suppose it could be seen as a weak excuse, but there’s something in all this mountain of stress and heartache that every writer should be using. The emotions, the reactions are all real. Use them when you put your characters through similar circumstances.

Trying to find the positive in all this negative is the only reason I haven’t given up yet. And other writers out there facing the same or worse problems need to remember that this is life teaching you a valuable lesson, not just about yourself but for your writing too! The bad things in our lives will eventually go away, and what you write on the page whether you like it or not has a little you in it, so use the experience and the trauma to enhance every sentence.

The apologetic writer,

EJ McLaughlin


4 thoughts on “The Apologetic Writer

  1. Tamara says:

    Sounds hectic and thinking about it lunacy for going back to school. I know why you are doing it and i thought I was mad for going back, since I’ve been having issues with the activities. But you really deserve a pat on the back and a huge well done for doing all that you do. So WELL DONE *pats you on the back* Enjoy your holiday.

  2. ddigman says:


    So let me get this straightened out in my twisted, little splodge of grey matter.

    You are an apologetic writer because:

    1. You are being a responsible parent, taking real responsibility for the needs of your child at a time when he is both genuinely vulnerable and has a genuine need
    2. You have not chosen to raise your child to be another unimaginative, bullying thug by advocating that he reduce the standards of his behaviour to the lowest common denominator (the ‘easy’ option so many lesser parents seem to choose)
    3. You have reacted to your son’s problem in a creative and imaginative way, calculated to boost his self-confidence and self-esteem, whilst not retraumatising him with neanderthal-era tales of what constitutes ‘manly’ behaviour
    4. You are simultaneously handling other important life-phase issues of your other child, and your are doing so with what is, by the standards of our prevailing culture, extraordinary sensitivity and forebearance that goes beyond the call of ordinary maternal duty
    5. All the while you are daring to study a painfully-bureacratic discipline with a range of jargon and conceptualisations that would make little Regan O’Neill’s head stop spinning, leaving her uninvited ‘squatter’ leaving the room screaming…
    6. And then you are maintaining your marriage and family, showing that you take neither for granted; communicating clearly and succinctly with all cooncerned that you really do love and treasure them

    Is that it in a nutshell?

    Not good enough!

    How dare you be such a slacker!

    It just won’t do – I think we need to organise a jolly good flogging, drawing, flogging, quartering, more flogging and then a beheadiing followed by some more flogging as your earthly remains must be entombed with a television set repeatedly playing telecasts of each and every session of the Australian Commonwealth Parliament between now and doomsday…



    Excuses, excuses, excuses!

    (Now I never do that…)

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