Inspiration does not come easy

If only a writer could tackle their tasks with the same organisation and methodology of a computer engineer.

Powered by automated translation

We live on the 43rd floor of a building that affords us a combination of city and sea views, and as luck would have it, our apartment faces the Corniche. The view is breathtaking at first glance and incredible forever after that.

Sometimes the weather is hazy, other times, every detail is so crisp that I can make out exactly how many cyclists are on the Corniche, and the exact shade of green of every shrub on Lulu Island. I have seen the waters around Abu Dhabi swirl into every shade of blue imaginable, from a jewel-toned azure on a sunny morning to a calm, cobalt blue on a quiet afternoon, and then an almost royal indigo when the sun begins to set.

One would think I would never be short of inspiration with a view like ours to wake up to every morning.

Unfortunately, one would be sadly mistaken.

For a computer engineer such as Mr T, with a speciality in networks and security, and a logical mindset that thrives on problem-solving, the disposition of a finicky writer is - understandably - a little hard to swallow. Whereas he can settle down to getting his job done without wasting a second or entertaining a single distraction, I can moan and groan about the difficulty of producing a well-oiled sentence for days on end, affecting my mood, his mood, and inevitably, our marriage's mood.

I see couples who work in the same industry, or have similar jobs that might force them to be in competition, and I wonder who has it better: Mr T and I, whose jobs are such worlds apart that even now, 36 months after trying to understand what his career encompasses, I still have no picture in my mind of what his day is like once he arrives at his office? Or those couples who are both journalists, or both computer engineers, and can talk shop over dinner?

Mr T has done quite well in adjusting to living with a person who is manic about what she does, and seems open to accepting what I like to describe to him as "the artist's temperament".

Bringing my work home with me and agonising over articles that just cannot seem to write themselves is almost second nature: the complaining is part of the creative process, and he is learning how to be a great soother.

And while I fret and sweat, and wreak havoc with the backspace button on my keyboard as opening sentence after opening sentence is discarded, I tell Mr T it won't always be like this, really it won't.

"One day, when I write my Great Novel, we'll be living in a lovely little quiet cottage on a beach or lake or maybe in a wood, with a great view, and it will be so calm and inspirational," I assure him.

I ignore him when he starts waving his arms at our floor-to-ceiling windows and mumbling some nonsense about how if I can't be inspired by this view, then we're doomed.