So many writers whinge they don’t have time to write. Yeah, I’m absolutely one of them.
I have writing goals. They’re not set in stone but they’re always there, sliding in and out of my head like melted ice cream. I want to write two novels each year. Ideally, I also want to have two novels published each year, but as I work with a publisher, that one is largely out of my hands. I can’t control publishing schedules.
I’m a fairly fast writer. When I’m in the groove, I can manage 1800 words an hour. When I’m not in the groove, I’m lucky to manage 500 words. Staring into space is so time-consuming. Even so, I should be able to knock over an 80K novel in, oh, 60 or so hours? Even at 6 hours a week, that’s only ten weeks. And that schedule allows six months per novel. Six months! That is so much time.
I have a full-time-and-then-some day job with a round trip of 1.5 hours of driving. I have a partner who loves me and would like to talk to me and be answered by something more than a grunt. If I don’t get seven hours of sleep a night, I’m snarly and snappy. I have friends. There are other things I like to do, such as sitting on the deck at sunrise with a coffee, or at sunset with a glass of wine. Cooking. Eating. Growing veggies. Camping and road trips. Staring at the tennis on the TV for hours at a time. Reading. Then there are things I hate but have to do, such as the taxes.
And of course there are other writing and publishing related tasks that take time. I edit for other people. Social media. My publisher wants stuff; right now, I should be completing the cover questionnaire and dredging my brain for a tagline for the last novel, the one that is finished, and with them, but is oh-so-not finished when it actually comes down to it. Next month the edits will come back and that will be the start of a lot more work.
Right now, I’m one month in on my current WIP. My six months is neatly packaged from 1 January to 30 June. I’ve written 8K so far. No worries, I’m thinking, as I procrastinate some more. Oceans of time. I’ll just watch this Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries re-run I’ve seen three times before. But a novel to edit has just arrived. We’re buying a house. There is a shit-load of work in getting that sorted (and that’s before we have it and there will be a triple shit-load of work in setting it right). I predict that those things will be sorted exactly as the edits arrive for the last book. 🙂
So, whenever anyone tells me they haven’t time to write, I understand. I sympathise. Really I do. A lot.
So when do I write? Lunchtimes at work, locked in an empty office. On straight freeways on road trips. On planes and trains. Early in the morning. I’m hopeless in the evenings, so that seldom happens. Blocks of 500 words written as a reward for doing a week’s work of accounting. Waiting anywhere: doctor, chiropractor, dentist. I have an understanding partner, who doesn’t get snitty if I write over breakfast. At least, not often.
I’m cutting down on the time-wasters. That would be aimlessly clicking links because PUPPY! And it’s CUTE. Being ruthless about social media time. Using the time I set aside for writing productively. No lollygagging around and making endless cups of coffee. No staring in the fridge wondering what to eat, even though I’ve just had breakfast. Same goes for other tasks like the accounts. If I’m entering credit card statements, then that’s what I’m doing. No more two entries, then check email. Not getting sucked into new things just because they’re popular or I’m guilted into them. Very little TV (except during Aussie tennis season and Wimbledon). I can research at work in short bursts. I’m sure the I.T. boffins in head office scratch their head at some of my internet searches, but they haven’t blocked me. Yet.
But partner time, sunrise coffee time, sunset wine time, friend time, they will continue. Along with writing time, they are the big pleasures in life.