I feel the need to apologise for the quality of my posts recently. They just haven’t been up to standard. I blame this entirely on myself and my busy schedule. The whole point of this blog was to ensure I wrote regularly, practise writing non-fiction and establish a platform for an eventual published book. Lately, things have been slipping.
I haven’t been writing either. Fiction, I mean. The bread and butter of my writing. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, but then I’m always thinking about it. I’ve gotten to that stage where I’ve been doing so much thinking and not a lot of doing that I’ve become frustrated at still being in the same position as a few months ago. There’s that short story, still half finished despite having finished it in my head, and there’s that novel, still unedited and incomplete despite all of the ideas and apprehension to sitting down and working on it.
There are so many things that can come between a writer and their work:
- Work – especially a full time job.
- Social life
- Television and other distractions – did anyone see the final of the Great British Bake Off last night?
- Family – especially small children
That’s not including the ad-hoc obstacles; family/relationship issues, that job interview coming up, the big project deadline looming…
One of the first things that all writers learn is how to find time to write. This changes regularly throughout a writer’s life as circumstances change.
When I was at school, I would sit in my bedroom writing from the time I got home to eleven at night with only a break to eat. Those were the days! I didn’t have to think about cooking or tidying the house or stresses at work. I just came home from school or my part time job, sat down and wrote until my eyes closed. I have to give full credit to my parents for that one and am very grateful that they gave me that opportunity.
At university I stopped writing until I nearly burst. Then I would write randomly and whenever I could. University work and my social life came first. I still managed to finish a novella, but over the course of three years! Happily, I did get to write short stories for some of my modules so not all was lost and anyway, I was out experiencing life. I was learning and giving myself something to write about. It never really bothered me that I didn’t make time for the actual writing.
Writing in the time between graduation and becoming settled is a blur. There was a mixture of relationship break ups, the full time day job, interviews and a rebuilding of the social life. I have no idea how I found time to write but by the time I fell in love and moved across the country, I had written half a novel.
In the five years I have been in Bristol, I have written three novels. On discovering that I am now an adult and following my belief that adults can get published, I am now very strict about my writing schedule. I actually have a schedule for one thing! It also helps to be settled, a routine can be established and more thought can be given to the work of writing.
So as an adult, who is fully entitled to be published after years of learning and working, how do you find the time to write? The days of carefree studenthood are over and the responsibilities seem endless...
- Make a schedule! In order to find time to write, you must make time. I keep trying this and it works for a while. Maybe the key is to keep updating it.
- Give yourself realistic deadlines.
- Create a space just for yourself where you can write without distraction (so make sure it has a door if you have children)
- If you have small children, try and create a compromise with your other half. You'll be with the kids while they do something they want to do, and they'll watch them while you write. Make sure it's for equal lengths of time!
- Give yourself a realistic daily word count. I aim for 1000 words a day. It doesn't matter how much you aim for, just don't be too ambitious.
- Disconnect the internet! And yes, I did hear that gasping. But this works. Remove all temptation and distraction.
- Treat yourself. Did you meet a deadline? Did you do those 500 words after a particularly tiring and stressful day? Then treat yourself to something good. It means that you'll put writing before watching television (in my case).
- And on that note, do some writing before you go to work, or do the housework, or cook, or write as soon as you finish work. Write before you get into anything big to get yourself started for the day or before you stop and settle down for the evening.
I really don't have an excuse not to write at the moment. I don't have children, me and my husband encourage one another to have separate hobbies and I'm still young and should have plenty of energy (and I'd really appreciate it if someone would remind my body of that). In the future, when I have a day job with more responsibilities and little ones to look after I imagine I'll be revisiting this list and creating new ways of finding those precious minutes with which to settle down with a notepad or my laptop.
How do you make time to write? And better yet, does anyone have any tips on finding time to edit (something I am still to conquer)?
Look what I found, who remembers Kenan and Kel?!