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Time to Write

Time to WriteWith kids, work and a hubbie, finding time to write is always – always – tricky.  You need to design a garden for your homework?  Ok.  Got a swim class tonight?  I’m on it.  Deadline approaching and an empty database?  I’m there.  Fancy a cheeky Saturday night drink?  Yes please.  Want to finish that short story?  Sorry, no time.

Writing always seems to be the first thing

bumped down the list of priorities. I can see why sometimes this has to be the case – the kids’ needs are paramount and have to come first.  I might not be arsed to brush the dolly’s hair again and tie it in plaits, and I might not be that fussed about watching the boy battle Darth Vader on his DS – but I’m a mum.  The ideas, metaphors, phrases swirling around my head just have to wait while I get the tea on and wipe another snotty nose.  Luckily, later, when the kids are in bed, Hubbie is very supportive and doesn’t mind if I’m ignoring him and rushing to get things down on paper.  Occasionally, though, he’s had enough, and demands conversation.  As I do to him if he’s spent too long on the internet.

These are all valid reasons for postponing the act of putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).  However, there are occasions when it is not ok for my writing time to be swallowed up by something else.  Housework, for example.  I resent giving up my writing time for that little joy.  Yes, it is lovely to sit in a dust-free living room and not to stumble over wet towels in the bathroom.  But it is also lovely to sit in the dining room, in peace, just me and the laptop and a head full of ideas.

The nicest thing anyone can do for a writer – apart from praise their kids – is to give them the gift of time.  A half hour away from the dishes to bang some ideas down on paper, the odd half a day in a library, or a weekend free to patter away on the keyboard – these are gifts that any writer would appreciate, even those able to make a living from their work.

What’s it like for you other writers out there?  What tips can you provide to free up some spare time in the day?  What timesaving device can you not do without or would most like to have?  Let me know using the comment section below.

About Rebecca Burns

Rebecca Burns - writer of short stories.

Debut collection, "Catching the Barramundi", published by Odyssey Books in 2012 and longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Award in 2013. Rebecca was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2011 and profiled as part of the University of Leicester's "Grassroutes" project, which is funded by the Arts Council and showcases the 50 best transcultural writers in Leicestershire.

Read a sample and download "Catching the Barramundi" at Amazon.

To read more of Rebecca's work, visit her web site found on the link below.

View all contributions by Rebecca Burns

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  • Andrew Williams May 27, 2013, 11:57 am

    If you can, try to set a specific time to write. For me, that’s evenings after dinner. Have a special place where you write, and get into the habit of going there at that time and writing. Don’t use that time on Facebook or Wikipedia. Write something. Write anything. Once the habit is established, it’s a lot easier to keep going.

    • Rebecca Burns July 8, 2013, 2:40 pm

      Hi Andrew,
      Quite agree about the comment about writing something – anything – often. One of the best bits of advice I was ever given was that I could always go back to edit. Getting the stuff down to edit was the most important, and hardest part.
      Writing at a specific time each day would be great, but isn’t always possible with kids and a hectic family life. Too often I’ve sat down in the evening in front of my laptop, only to hear little feet trotting down the stairs :)
      But yes, avoiding Facebook, emails and just WRITING – that’s key.
      Thanks for the comments!
      Rebecca

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