The Fetid Nightie*

It’s important, while writing novels, to make sure you’ve slipped into something more comfortable while you work. I do a great deal of my writing in the early morning, when I first wake up, and this means that I tend to work a lot in my pyjamas. I’ve spent the last few days finishing book number 23 (yes, let’s all pause a minute in due reverence), and I was struck by just how unglamorous this writing gig is.

A glamorous nightie, unlike mine

If you’re squeamish, stop reading now.

The last few mornings I’ve set my alarm for 4.30 a.m. I’ve been wearing a light cotton nightdress because it has been so hot here in Brisbane. Humid, sweaty, violently hot. Even sleeping with the aircon on has been a little sticky. So there I was in my nightie and breakfast would come and I’d eat it and I’d keep working. Eleven o’clock would come and I’d think, “I really should shower.” Then I’d step out of the shower and look about for something cool and comfortable to wear and… well, it was right there, folks, so I put the nightie back on and wore it all day, then to bed again, and so on. On the second to last morning I spilled an entire cup of tea all over self and floor and notebook (not computer, thank God). I sponged the nightie out and let it air dry. In my crazy-artist paranoia, I had begun to believe that the nightie was the thing that kept me writing. If I took it off to wash it, I might lose my powers; like Samson when he gets his hair cut. I wore the nightie for almost 72 hours straight in one the hottest weeks of Brisbane summer. It was foul. When I finished, I finally peeled it off and showered. Free of the fetid nightie, free of the deadline.

So next time you think writing is a glamour career, please remember the story of the fetid nightie. And when the book comes out (go check out Kimberley Freeman’s blog for more details), stay in bed with your own stinky pyjamas on, just to keep in the spirit of things.

*This blog is so named to honour my Sistah Sal, whose birthday was on finishing day, and who thought it would be a good title for something.

6 thoughts on “The Fetid Nightie*

  1. It must be an author thing. I get up early, nightie-coffee-computer-deadline, and often it’s 1pm and I’m, ‘okay, shower and breaky?’

    Your post is so affirming!

    I love it, especially now because I’m reading ‘Rosa’ of a night (your Russian political history and lore astounds me!) and I have to say Em and Daniel must be quite rank. I mean, there’s no drinking water let alone enough for a wash. Another fabulous read. Thank you Kim!

  2. “In my crazy-artist paranoia, I had begun to believe that the nightie was the thing that kept me writing.”
    ….. Ohyes!….

    Security blankets, magical possessions, they hold special powers and abilities, the boiler suit I always wear when I am feeling vulnerable acts as a safety shield, twenty years ago, it prevented me from attack when I walked around tottenham in london, at 3am.
    Steeping in the stench of your own creative sweat …. wonderfully identified
    and I identify wonderfully.


  3. I have to admit I am kind of relieved that I am not the only one that has this curious nightie behaviour. I have this old pair of mens flannel pajama bottoms that are so old they have lost all their warm furriness, they have been cut off at the knee, they have been restitched in various places. I live on the Sunshine Coast and I still wear them in Summer when its boiling because I write my best in them and I live in them for days when I am in my “zone”. Thanks for sharing this one Kim, when my boyfriend complains I can say it is quite normal writing behaviour 🙂

  4. Pingback: Dymocks still fumbling the D Publishing ball, and other writerly news « Vampires in the Sunburnt Country

  5. Pingback: On Writing Companions | Kimberley Freeman

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