Finding the time to write.
Recently, a couple of new acquaintances have asked me ‘Where do you find the time to write?’ and I have to admit I’m often stumped for an answer because I don’t know how I manage to find the time to write, but yet I do. Like many of you writers out there I have a full time job. I’m not a brain surgeon or anything taxing like that but, at times, my job (project management in property development) can be stressful. It’s also largely computer based. So after a day of looking at the computer sometimes I don’t really want to switch a computer on at home. There are days when I get home so tired I don’t have the energy to write and so I don’t. And I don’t write every day either - H wouldn’t be too impressed with that (you have to admit it would be a little unfair). Because of my passion for food I have to force myself to go to the gym a couple of times a week and then there is the business of cooking decent meals every night (again with the food – I don’t like leftovers so I cook every day. I’m also not keen on pasta – so you’re talking a good effort every night, so that we go to bed happy – Nothing puts me in a bad mood like a rubbish dinner does and I quite like cooking.) And finally there is also the business of cleaning. I categorise this chore with the gym. I don’t really want to do it and I’m not good at it either. It’s a slog from start to finish, and although H is pretty good with helping out, it still takes up quite a bit of my post work time.
So when do I write? Well I limit myself to a Wednesday after work when I leave work a little early, and have the house to myself for a couple of hours. I write quickly – I can write 5000 words in an evening (they may not be great words – they need a lot of editing to get up to a readable first draft stage - but they are words). I write when the football is on or when H is out. Basically, I write when I can snatch and hour here or there. I never used to write on weekends because we were always out and about, but now I occasionally do. But unlike the gym or cleaning the house, writing is not a chore. When I sit down to write I get lost in my fictional world. I don’t want music on or the TV. I don’t feel the need to snack or to catch up on The Mindy Project or Scandal (The later has taken at least 22 of my precious writing hours over the last month). When I write I am completely in the zone. All I need is my open manuscript, a pen, several note books around me, easy access to the internet for that all important research and a glass of water (writing makes me thirsty for some reason). Sometimes I get so caught up in a story that I don’t realise I’ve been in front of the computer for hours without looking up from the screen. I also try and use my time wisely (I guess working in project management has honed my time management skills). Some lunch hours are for finding good deals on Expedia, but some are used for book research, checking out author blogs, reading about how to improve my writing, doing grammar courses, and blogging.
The crux of it is, and I’m sure most writers will agree with me here, when you are a writer writing is in your blood. You have to do it. You want to do it, and so you find the time to write. Whether it’s waking up early or going to bed late or even taking a day’s holiday to work on that final chapter – when you want to write you find a way.