writing time

jasper mountain

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been pondering a few issues to do with my writing/blogging. A major issue was to do with finding time, amidst the chaos of life, to write some short stories I’ve had rattling around in my head and to work on my novel which had stagnated at Chapter Two!

Last Friday I decided to set myself the challenge of finding two hours in every day to write creatively – specifically prose – and to do this before any blogging (or blogging-related activities) in any day in order to prioritise that.

So, did I manage it?

Well, pretty much yes! My weekend target was met all in a rush on Sunday night then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I managed to divide my writing time between baby-nap-time and the evening (when the kids are all in bed). Last night – having squandered nap-time by falling face first onto the bed the moment the baby was asleep and sleeping as well –  I wrote for two hours in the evening.

I did cheat and do a bit of blogging during the day some days, basically because I realised I can fit the odd bit of tweeting and commenting into random snatches of time which I can’t really do with ‘proper’ writing so it seemed silly to waste the opportunity. But I still feel I prioritised the creative writing as I promised.

Things that were achieved in this week of writing:

  • I finished a short story that had been paused at its third paragraph since Christmas. It’s not perfect, but is at least at the point where I’m now able to leave it for a while before coming back to it and making changes.
  • I’ve written Chapter Three of my book! It’s now just over 6000 words long. And I know that’s a tiny number of words to have written out of a whole book but at least it’s progress!
  • I spent some time on a few other short stories. They may or may not come to anything but at least I had a go.

The downsides (yes, I’m afraid there were some!):

  • I’ve practically ignored my husband all week as every evening has been spent tap-tapping away at my keyboard
  • I’m REALLY tired because I’ve been unable to get an early night and the baby hasn’t been sleeping well.
  • My social life has suffered – I’ve wanted to email various friends but not had time, I’ve not been able to chat to my Facebook book group (which doubles as a general gossip group!) when I’ve wanted, and I’ve been dashing home from the school run to write rather than having a chat at the school gates.
  • I’ve failed to sort out the mortgage, pay my credit card bill or do various other admin stuff and my inbox is overflowing with things that I’ve not had time to tackle.
  • The house is messy. Ok, messier than I want it to be because I am a control freak and need a tidy house!
  • I haven’t read as much (I’m a bit of a book worm).
  • I haven’t watched the final two episodes of The Bridge and I really want to!
  • Because of all the above I’m grumpier than normal which is not ideal from a parenting perspective.
  • Oh, and I really need to phone my Gran!

Who knew that those two hours were so crucial to my life? I had no idea that using them entirely for writing would mean so many other things falling by the wayside!

So, it was an interesting experiment and I’m really glad I did it, but I’m not going to keep up the routine.

Is that bad? Does it suggest I’m not dedicated enough to writing? I don’t know… I just feel like there’s so much to juggle and I want to get the right balance and this week has felt a bit ‘off’.

Next week’s challenge:

One hour a day of creative writing.

AND I had such fun writing limericks with my family at the weekend that I’ve decided to set myself the ongoing challenge of writing one over the weekend and publishing it on my blog on a Monday. I love limericks and using the kids for inspiration felt like a really positive thing to do. So check back here on Monday for a much shorter post!

I’m linking up with Writing Warriors. Pop over to Stephanie’s blog to find out how other people’s writing weeks have gone!

 

8 thoughts on “writing time

  1. Stephanie

    A very interesting experiment! I don’t think I could do two hours a day for all the reasons you mention. Anytime I try and write in the evening it ends in frustration and conflict. Steven Pressfield says an hour a day is fine though. I suppose you could block time off and do days of writing instead but I like the daily practice better.

    I am really thinking about the word no and when you need to use it. I am back at your question from week one about how much time I spend blogging even! It all distracts I find it very hard to do more than one thing at a time. I often wish I had a coach to tell me what to do and more importantly what not to do!

    Good for you for tying this. It took a lot of experimenting to find my 5:30 slot and I had a lot of failure on the way so you have to try these things!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Yes, I think one hour a day is going to be far more manageable. I do think it did me good to have a set amount of time per day to aim for rather than the complete hit and miss way I was writing before! And I agree that daily practice works better.

      I can see how your blog would take a lot of time away from your poetry; it’s not just a personal blog it’s about helping and supporting other writers so it’s more time consuming. And I guess it’s leading you to other opportunities which also take up time? It’s hard to know when to say ‘no’ as I guess you don’t want to be either missing opportunities or letting people down. It’s not easy is it?! If you find out the secret to when to say no then please share it!

      Thanks for commenting x

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks! I really can’t cope with mess though! as soon as I posted this earlier I went on a cleaning mission round the house with the baby under one arm!

      Reply
  2. Chrissie

    Well done for doing two hours a day! I get two hours procrastinating in before about fifteen minutes of productivity before the guilt kicks in and Facebook consumes my time.
    Keep going on the novel! They all have to start somewhere.

    Reply
  3. Maddy Post author

    Facebook is a terrible distraction I agree! I found it v useful to set myself the ‘two hours a day’ challenge as without it, I could easily procrastinate my way through the time. Putting myself under pressure helped! As for the novel – I sometimes feel I could be writing it forever! I need to up the pace! Thanks for commenting Chrissie.

    Reply
  4. MummyTries

    Maddy, I’m so impressed with your efforts and achievements this week! You must be thrilled to have written chapter three of your book. I can completely identify with the downsides though, when time is such a precious commodity trying to find two hours per day will seriously cut into other parts of your life. The adage no pain no gain comes to mind, although I doubt it would be sustainable long term.

    Good luck with finding one hour per day, I’ll be interested to hear how you get on. Thanks so much for telling me about Steph’s #WritingWarriors linky xx

    Reply
  5. Maddy Post author

    I’m really glad you’ve joined up with #writingwarriors!

    I did enjoy my week of writing and it felt really good to achieve some of the targets I set myself. I think I will bear in mind that there are extra hours in the day that I can dedicate to writing if I need/want to, I just don’t think I can do it every week. Maybe I should have one ‘writing week’ every month or something… hmmm.

    Thanks for commenting, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future xx

    Reply

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