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We all have our days filled with so many things – don’t we all wish we could find time to write? Here are a few tips from my book, Wannabe a Writer? on how to write when there’s no time.
- Think about getting up an hour earlier when everyone else is asleep. When I’m getting to the end of a book (which always takes longer than planned) I sometimes rise at four a.m. to guarantee three hours of non-interruption and have stayed up all night on occasion. I do not, however, recommend you consider any of these options if you have small children because you must be totally exhausted already. Wendy Holden says, when looking back at her early writing days of doing just that, “compared to having two children under three…. it seems like a holiday now.”
- Think about going to bed later and write while everyone else is asleep.
N.B. If you like a drink in the evenings you might find you don’t understand any of it in the morning but at least your word count will be up.
- Be alert for all chances to write. Get yourself a nice notebook and carry it around with you, jotting down thoughts and snatches of dialogue, sentences that spring to mind or how you are feeling at a particular time, whenever you get the chance. In the dentist’s waiting- room, for example, outside the school gates or when you have to stand around in a queue. Remind yourself that there’s nothing like being prevented from writing to make you really productive when you finally get the chance.
- Join a local writing group and you have a guaranteed evening a week to focus on your desire to write. Meet others who share your difficulties and can give you support.
- Pretend you’ve joined a writing group and go and write in the pub.
- Swap childcare with a friend. If he or she writes too, so much the better but strike a pact in any case.
- Forget all that talk about the perils of too much TV and embrace the DVD machine as the greatest of childcare inventions. Tell the children you’re all going to watch a favourite film and once they’re absorbed, you can scribble things on your lap and make the right noises at the exciting bits.
- Write during Sports Days and school plays. The moment your own offspring leave track or stage, whip out your pen. Put it around the playground that you are a freelance journalist and nobody will think you rude. On the contrary, they will be delighted, assuming you are taking copious notes on the feats of their little darlings.
- When your spouse asks what you’d like for your birthday, request a day to yourself. Earmark a weekend where he or she takes the kids out and leaves you in blissful solitude at your desk. (N.B. This is unlikely to go down well on your wedding anniversary.)
- Establish the ground-rule that writing is just as important as Golf or Going Shopping for Shoes. Drum this into the kids, too. Remember that being bored is character-forming. Let them get a feel for it.
Finally, comfort yourself with the thought that if you write ALL the time you won’t have anything to write about. It is part of the process that you need to reflect and recharge, wander and ponder, see people, live life a little – otherwise, you’ll have nothing to say.
Talking to the postman is a crucial part of a writer’s day’s work. And all airing cupboards need a tidy sometimes…
This post is written by Jane Wenham-Jones, from her book Wannabe a Writer (Accent Press)