Debbie Downer Was Here


Last night I lay in bed worrying about my work.

I am behind and I can’t seem to catch up. I shouldn’t even be writing this blog post but I am because it’s part confession, part avoidance.

This year has been a doozy, with a husband and child both fighting illness and injury, and both progeny starting significant years at school. The battle to keep two of my family focussed and here, has been exhausting. I am exhausted and yet I need to earn a living. I need to make money. I need to keep the power on.

I feel like I am behind in everything. All plans are are in pencil unless told otherwise. I can’t commit to next week because I don’t know if:

a) I will have any money

b) If I have had any sleep

c) If I can leave people alone by themselves or if they can look after themselves

My days consist of waking up hoping today I can tackle the workload and then watching it slip away, like a handful of slime.

Writers say, ‘Sit down and do the work, it’s a job, not a privilege.’ I used to believe in this when I had the luxury of no responsibilities. Now I am in battle and it’s impossible to find the time without the nagging thoughts of everything else that needs to be done.

Dinner, school, money, washing, cleaning, money, dinner, school, doctors, money. Rinse. Repeat.

Part of the pressure is that my last book, Close Up, didn’t sell very well, which is awful because I do think it’s my best book and it certainly got the best reviews. I’m proud of that book but it’s failure means I have to try something new. Something that pushes the pram down the stairs and something that sells.

Go and write something that will be successful, is the mantra I hear when I sit at the keyboard. You can’t do it, a voice says. Yes you can, says another. It’s like living with a talk show panel in my head. The fun one, the negative one, the conservative one, the one who smoked pot in high school, the smart one, the cynical one. All are on the uncomfortable sofa of my mind and all of them are a pack of interfering bitches.

Doubt is a son of a bitch and it seems to be with me most days. I am not depressed. That much I know and I am supremely grateful for it but I am exhausted, lonely, pondering, and questioning.

Onwards. Onwards. Onwards.





14 thoughts on “Debbie Downer Was Here”

  1. Hi Kate,

    First of all, I started following you and reading your books because I’m always excited to know about another Melbourne writer, especially one who has a) finished writing a book, b) published a book and c) done it more than once so it can’t be a fluke. The fact that you manage that as well as a family life is frankly amazing and inspirational.

    I don’t know why Close Up wasn’t a hit. It was well written and well paced. Maybe the story was smarter than the cover and it lost appeal to a bunch of readers who would have actually loved the story?

    The old advice of writing what you love or what you know is always sage. Maybe the themes you love and know now are different to those you held onto in the beginning? Is you current writing a reflection of how you see life and its joys and imperfections?

    Have you done a lot of author talks? You would easily win people over in those. Have you run writing workshops? Masterclasses? I’ll come.

    Maybe you just need to chill out and watch some telly. I have two episodes left to watch of Tangle. I feel better for it.

    Be kind to yourself!
    Simone x

  2. I am trying to think of what to say and I can’t. All I can say is that I love your books. When I was reading them I left behind my version of everything you describe above and I escaped and lapped up every word.

  3. A friend and I were discussing our ‘women crushes’ the other day. When my friend asked who my crush was, I said Kate Forster, the writer. Your Spiritual Business book has made such a huge impact on my life! And, I loved Close Up. I love your blog, I love the love you have for your family, I love your honesty, I love your heart.

    Looking at your a,b,c points above, there is reason enough that your ‘pack of interfering bitches’ have taken up residence in your mind. Maybe sit down on the sofa with them and have a chat. They might have some answers.

    I have my own ‘pack of bitches’. I usually want to punch the sarcastic one in the face but sometimes I just sit and listen. I figure they just want to be heard. Most of the time they just head off for lunch after I have listened and leave me be.

    I’m with Simone above. If you run a writing workshop or Master class. I will come.

    I know 2 of your values in life because I read your books 🙂
    Belief in the Impossible and Courage.

    Onwards. Onwards. Onwards with your courageous heart.
    Much love to you xxxx

  4. I hope Debbie, the pack of interfering bitches and that son of bitch nick off and leave you alone… I’m reckon those bastards gang up on us when we are exhausted… and exhaustion taints everthing… not in a good way… life feels pretty sh*t when you start fantasizing about sleeping for a week… hope you get some rest, the right kind of company, and some enjoyable pondering time that leads to some answers to your questions… 🙂 x

  5. Doubt’s a bitch and so is sleep deprivation, worry and anxiety. I love your writing, and your blog has made me belly laugh many times in those pre-dawn hours when I’ve needed it most, up with a newborn. For what it’s worth I’m sending courage, sleep-vibes and encouragement your way. I hope that the time, rest and support you need comes your way in bucket loads x

  6. Imagine if I told you all the things you expressed in that blog entry? You’re kind to me, you’re patient with me and you’re full of bright ideas. You never criticise me or put me down. Say to yourself what you would say to me. Then, ask for help in some areas. From inside your house and without. One of my nearest and dearest sat down recently for a family meeting, explained she was not coping/had too much on her plate and asked the husband and kids (10 and 15) for ideas. Already after dinner dish washing and drying has gone from her list of chores and the 10 year old vacumed while she was interstate. She did not expect that but still it’s the thought that counts. She also got some help from a relative. Anyway … you’re ace …

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