It’s back to school week for most kids in the UK, my daughter included, and I have gone from a busy, often noisy house, to one that is eerily quiet. It was a busy six weeks and although we didn’t have a family holiday (it’s the busiest time of year on the farm which means we never get away in the summer), we had day trips and met up with friends.
I love spending time with my daughter. She’s interesting and fun. The hardest part about the holidays, however, was finding time to write. Life seems to be getting busier. So I faced the realisation I would have to find a way. I heard it said once that writing time isn’t found it’s made.
1. Staying up later. I quite liked the idea of this one. I imagined myself tapping away at the keyboard under the light of my work lamp while the house around me was utterly silent. It didn’t work. I was just too tired.
2. Ignoring the housework (for a while). Instead of getting the housework done first thing to get it out of the way, I did it in the evening, when there was no real need to think too hard.
3. Writing in shorter bursts. This was a hard one. I prefer a solid amount of time to sit down and write. I get stuck into my work in progress and get the words written. Not so easy in the school holidays. Some days, there would be barely 5 minutes to spare, other days, I might squeeze in 2 hours if I added up all the short bursts. But with practice, I got into writing mode quickly.
4. Getting up earlier to write. This one was hard but effective and I didn’t touch emails and social media during that dedicated time.
5. Writing long hand. I would get my notebook out and jot down some thoughts, snippets of dialogue or character traits. In many ways, this is linked to writing in shorter bursts. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but at least I was thinking about the story and it’s so much easier to get into writing mode if I remember what my characters have been up to.
6. Play dates. They entertain each other when they’re together and when my daughter’s away with her friends, hey presto, writing time.
The sad reality however is the knowledge that every year is different and what worked one year doesn’t necessarily work for the next as she grows up but one thing doesn’t change – I’m definitely a happier person once I’ve had some writing time.
Do you have a way of carving writing time out of the day?