Finding Time

I’ve got two stories going at the moment, Calypso and Nightingale and they’re both going very, very slowly.

There are a few reasons for this but one of the key ones is that, (having been out of full-time work for nine months) three months ago I started a new job. A very demanding new job with a huge learning curve.

Which is great, and I’m enjoying the challenge (and the income), but by the time I get to evening and a bit of time to write, my brain doesn’t want to talk to me any more.

In case anyone else is having fun with this, these are some tricks that have helped me. I’d be interested in knowing if they’re useful for others:

4theWords – I’ve written about this site before, but it’s got me so well-trained now, I get actively uncomfortable if I don’t write most days.

Journal – if my brain can’t be creative, I can at least offload the major stuff that’s cluttering it up. This is apparently super-good for mental health for those it works for and I’ve sometimes found it a good way in to my story. I grump about what’s not working and what I want and that sparks an idea that sends me off to that story’s file and progress is made.

Focus on the weekends – they’re still pretty quiet at the moment, so I start getting words down in the early part of the day (‘early’ being a very loose term). That way I grab my brain when it’s still fresh and also have the potential to hit up more than one writing session in the day.

Classes – I’ve been doing the 60 Minute Writer class from CityLit once a week. The exercises aren’t always what I’d choose, but the variety is valuable and it’s an hour out of time, with a tutor and classmates and you’re expected to produce something.

I’m also taking a look at the Neil Gaiman course on Storytelling in Masterclass. It’s great information, I am learning, and just listening to him speak is a treat, but I don’t actually get any writing done. I need peer group pressure.

Which brings me to my last trick.

Online writing groups – they’re all over Meetup, the one I normally seem to end up on is Shut Up & Write because that’s exactly what you do. Log into Zoom, say hello and maybe a bit about your WIP, then for the next however long, you and all the other people on the call, shut up and write.

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