This month The Print Posse looks at the writer’s life. Yanicke explored the dream versus the reality and Gabbie looked at the evolution of being a writer. This week it’s Fiona’s turn to examine the life of the writer.
My writing goals at the start of this year were:
1. Write regularly.
2. Do writing exercises.
3. Be more diligent noting down ideas.
4. Blog weekly.
5. Start approaching publishers.
6. Start approaching agents.
I’ve since reduced the list:
1. Make time to write.
Note it’s not find time to write but make time to write. I’m realistic here. My life is hectic with three different personas to juggle.
I am not complaining, most aspiring writers balance several roles until they ‘hit the big time’. Even then, I hear it’s not a walk in the park. Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, stated she once had to check herself into a hotel to focus on finishing a book without any distractions.
It’s the distractions though, that feed the writer in me. The details of the everyday enhance my creativity and so need to be experienced.
When I wrote my first MS, I wrote at every opportunity. The story demanded to be written. It also allowed me to cope with a difficult time and emerge a stronger person.
The memes tell me repeatedly I should be writing. In most cases I would prefer to be writing than say, doing the fourth load of washing for the day or marking a class set of papers on The Crucible. *shudders*
I think about writing. Every day. I love the advice to actually write every single day, but in my world that is not always practical. I spend time with my stories daily – even if the pen doesn’t actually hit the paper. My most productive time is when I’m exercising at the gym. Maybe it’s the adrenaline or perhaps the endorphins that help me escape into the waking story.
For a long time I felt I could not consider myself a writer because I was unable to consistently allocate a set time allowance to develop my craft. I’ve moved past that now and accepted it is not currently realistic for me to expect to write each day. Sometimes I’ll sneak away for 30 minutes or so and madly scrawl down a scene.
One episode of Peppa Pig and two Peter Rabbits allows me to throw 400 words or so at the computer screen. Other nights I’ll write for 15 minutes when it’s not my turn to read the bedtime stories.
Then there are the weeks where the days steal every moment and all I’m left with is 30 minutes before bed to stare glaze-eyed at some hotel renovation program. My characters are left to their own devices for there is nothing in me left to give.
This is not ideal. When I have no time to write it is because I have no time for me.
The longer the stretch of no writing time, the more stressed I become. The direct correlation here is that I write for me. Simply put, it is my escape.
I don’t have or need a set space to write at though I dream of a desk just for me and my words. At the kitchen bench, at the beach,
on stage during school assembly – where ever I can tune in to my story and step away from reality is a place where I can write.
Music helps. It allows me to shut out distractions. My concentration is shaky at the best of times and I am far too easily ripped out of the writer’s fictional dream and thrust into the sharpness of reality, damaging my writing rhythm.
Another reason why some weeks see a writing drought.
When my young daughter took naps I was guaranteed two straight me-time hours. Every day.
I did not know how good I had it.
Not surprisingly, it only took me four months to pen my first draft of LWC. I was writing an average of 1500 words a day. A day!
Note to past self: cherish that time.
I am lucky my career allows me regular holiday time and so every ten weeks or so I schedule in that wonderful event: Me Time.
This is what it looks like:
I’m alone for the day. I do a work out at the gym in the morning then come home and write. During lunch I might read or watch one of my shows before writing some more.
That’s it. And boy is it bliss.
I can‘t help thinking if I had this every week I would not appreciate nor utilise the time properly. It is because my writing time is so precious that it sustains me so much when I have it. It replenishes the drive that the daily grind wears away. It fills me to the brim with the utmost joy.
And so when I need to, I make time to write.