In her excellent book ‘A Novel In A Year‘, author Louise Doughty asks “Think what you are prepared to sacrifice. Writing a novel takes many, many hours .. What, in your life, is going to disappear , to allow you the time to write a book?”
Ooh, I’ve scared myself a bit there. Because this doesn’t just apply to novels, does it? Writing of any kind takes time. Time when you could be doing other, really nice and not-so-difficult things.
My writing buddy Sally and I, when we’re feeling a bit ‘moany’ (which isn’t often, I hasten to add, we are normally as cheerful as a couple of spring daffodils), we say things like, “I wish I didn’t have this urge to write. Life would be much easier!”
But, going back to the ‘time’ thing, I have had a bit of a ‘Spring Clean’ this year and I’m feeling better already.
For starters, I’m cutting back on my tutoring work for the Writers Bureau. I’m not taking on any new students, just seeing those I already had, through to the end of their course. So, by the end of this year – maybe sooner – I’ll have stopped completely.
Secondly, I’ve resigned from a Writers Group I belonged to which, admittedly, only met once a quarter but which was very time-consuming, when that quarterly meeting came round and wasn’t really my thing. I was writing things especially for that meeting, in order to try to please the other participants (who didn’t want to read, ahem ‘commercial fiction’) and it was stressing me out.
And finally, the Book Club, bless it, has pretty much gone by the wayside. I haven’t attended a meeting this year and, apart from the May gathering, which we are hosting, I’m not intending to go to many (any?) more. For reasons which I’ve explained before. The people are lovely but I don’t have time to sit round for two hours, chatting. (Get me, sooo busy and important).
There are other things too, that I’ve cut out or cut down on this year, which aren’t writing-related, so I won’t bore you with them.
What about you? Are there obligations in your life that you could avoid or cancel, to give yourself more time to write? I’m not suggesting you stop visiting the in-laws (!) – or that little old lady down the road, who relies on you for her shopping – but perhaps there are things you do, more out of habit than real enjoyment, that you could stop…? Come on, be ruthless, Spring Clean your life – and tell us all about it!