Trying to find time to write anything that could be considered remotely good quality is extremely difficult when you’re trying to balance everyday life. Work, the dreaded ‘life admin’, juggling a family and chores make up a full-time job. How is it possible to do all this and write?
I’ve read interviews with writers before where they’ve said things like ‘even if you only have five minutes, you can still write a few paragraphs’. Hmm. I’m cynical of this. It takes five minutes for me to warm up my computer and remind myself what happened in the story the last time I wrote. Advice such as ‘when you’re waiting in your car to pick-up your kids, whip out your notebook…’ leaves me cold. Great if it works for you, but it sure doesn’t work for me.
Plus, you need time to get into ‘the zone’ – or ‘flow’, whatever you like to call this. Getting into the flow is amazing. It’s when you experience the ‘magic’; words fly onto your screen, ideas shoot into your head like never before and time zooms past, to the point that when you finally stop for a break, hours have past and you haven’t even realised. You can’t get this during five minutes on the school run.
Bliss for me is the extremely rare occasion when I have a full day to myself to write and, critically, I get away from my house. Even if it’s just escaping down to the local cafe, I find I get so much more done when I have a change of scenery.
Although going down to the local cafe for a coffee and a teacake someone else has made, is luxurious enough, what’s even better, if you can manage the time and the cost, is to go away for a weekend or a week and spend a substantial amount of that time on your latest project.
I’ve been on day, weekend and week creative writing courses in the UK and Tuscany (okay, Tuscany once many years ago) and find that pretty scenery, a tranquil environment and new people who share your passion, are highly inspirational for writing.
When you have a family and are limited to annual leave from work, then retreats are a rarity, but even a family holiday can offer the space you need to work on your writing – just the increased head space alone is so valuable. When you’re at home, doing your jobs and looking after the family and home, there is very little time to ponder about your plot and your characters, but being away offers a completely different approach.
If you’re struggling to find time and/or inspiration to write, then think about a week or weekend away if finances and time allow. If not, a couple of hours in your local coffee shop could work wonders!