The plan, this week, is to present you with my diary and explain how I make time for writing and important things like that. It is somewhat of a gamble. So much of this human interest stuff I imagine many of you find deadly boring. I also worry it’ll come across as a bit of a sneak-grumble when that’s really not the intention.
See, I really only have time for writing two, maybe two and a bit, days a week. The rest of the time is taken up with the dust and detritus of modern life. But before I get ahead of myself, here’s
my guide to burgling my house how my typical week works:
Chiildcare. Until recently the grandparents took the little one in the mornings so I had that as writing time too. I’ve lost that recently, and so it’s off to Mucky Pups and singing with the folk in the care home with me of a morning and watching Monsters Inc in the afternoon.
A writing day! The little one is in nursery, so after dropping her off I get to sit down, purge my emails and draft my blog (I write these words at Tuesday 09:22). Unfortunately, I have a regular medical appointment that takes two hours out of my day. I also have to do household jobs like the laundry, making dinner and taking the rubbish out, so it’s not just free and easy time for me.
Then it’s time to collect the monster from nursery, and one weekend in two I have Paid Employment in the evening.
I have Sproutface in the morning; it’s off to Busytots with us, then the playground. My wife works from home in the afternoons so sometimes I manage to squeeze in another hour or so of writing before it’s off to Paid Employment.
Another writing day, this time free of interruptions… sometimes. As I have commitments on other days, Thursday is my Random Appointment Day, so my time is often thieved by the magpies of modern life. C’est, as they say, la vie.
It’s worth saying that my ‘writing days’ (typically around 09:00 to 15:30) are also when I spend time on social media. I live a fairly isolated life, so Twitter especially is a way of keeping in touch with my interfriends. I’ve some strong attachments to people I’ve met only virtually and this connection is important to me.
It’s also important to point out that a writing day is not merely about getting words down and creating new stories. It’s also editing time, both on my work and other people’s. I work as a proofreader and copy-editor and in truth could use more gigs – but when I do get a job the deadlines are usually tight. It has to slide right in to whatever time I have and so my own work is set to the back-burner. This can be frustrating but I do enjoy editing. It’s a different discipline to writing and is, frankly, easier than first-drafting.
Another Sprout-filled day with Shake, Rattle and Roll, then swimming, then more Monsters Inc before I pick up the wife and she takes over the childcare whilst I do Paid Employment.
Saturday and Sunday
Saturday mornings I work one in two; otherwise the weekend is Family Time for doing Family Things like going to National Trust places, looking at houses (we’re trying to move) or going to garden centres. Time away from the computer and with the ones I love, in other words.
Not that I don’t love you too. You’re fantastic in your own special way.
And that’s it. That’s how my week works – and it’s a reminder to myself that I’m really lucky. I don’t have a full-time job; I’m supported by an amazing wife who works so I don’t have to (not entirely true; she enjoys her work and has a career of her own. But I know she’d like to spend more time with the little one). We can afford to send Sproutface to nursery so I have a few days a week to do my thing. I am really very lucky indeed.
But I also work hard. I’m determined to make the most of the little free time I have – though I find it difficult, sometimes, to not procrastinate and difficult, sometimes, to keep a proper focus on what I should be doing – still I sit at my desk whenever I can and try and get through whatever I’m working on.
Could I do more? Well, maybe I could set aside time at night, when the rest of the family is in bed, to scribble a few more words. Maybe I could get up early and join the Stupid O’Clock Writers’ Group and try and get some words down that way.
But I need free time, rest time, too. I’ve never claimed to be the most motivated person in the world. I’m just trying my best after my own fashion.
I hope this has given you some insight into my life and the way I work and it hasn’t been too self-absorbed or just plain dull. I’m always shy of writing too much about me personally as I’m sceptical as to how much anyone actually cares. Who am I? I’m no-one.
But if there’s anything you’d like me to talk about then please do let me know, either via Twitter or in the comments below. Requests always welcome.