Saturday, 30 July 2016

Making a sacrifice

How big?

It is hard for me to write in the cracks. I can snatch time to capture and sketch ideas, but when it comes to writing up I need a decent chunk of time. I need time in which to breathe, without the pressure of an appointment or engagement later in the day. Sometimes I need to feel on top of the housework and other times I just shut the door. So the obvious thing is to make more time, but in order to do that something else has to give.

Clear the decks

My small but radical solution is – drum roll – I have changed my work hours. I have dropped from full-time to a nine-day fortnight. So, every second Monday I will be at my desk at home making progress on pieces which matter to me. I have the room for my writing, and now I am creating the time for it. It does feel quite decadent, but it also feels better balanced.
Wood, trees, fire, smoke

The reasoning for this decision has slipped and slid around a bit, and in the end it was probably more of an intuitive leap. My original argument was that it would help manage my uni work. But I am back to one subject because I couldn’t get into the evening class for my other choice. So my only subject this semester is Copyediting and Proofreading. As the bulk of the assessment is tests there is not the same pressure to come up with lots of new material. Of course I need to study, but that is different in my mind to creative writing.

Then I thought perhaps it was a good opportunity to do the Artist’s Way program. I started reading the book and then sped out of the house for some very necessary stationary supplies. I also might have picked up some new knitting yarns, my rationale being that this almost qualified as an artist date! Later that week I shared my plan with another writer and was pulled up very short when her response was “So you’re taking a pay cut to write and you’re telling me that you’re not going to write.” I was shocked, it sounded so blunt. My bluff had been called, lucky for me in very short sharp time.

Get into it!
So, it is back to solid creative writing activities for me. With competition deadlines at the end of July and the end of August I have mapped out timeframes for drafting, workshopping, polishing and submitting. Having only done one competition piece previously I hadn’t realised that actually making the submission takes time – time to write a cover letter, a short bio and check the font/line spacing requirements. The good news is I now have a 40 word bio and a 50 word bio which can simply be cut and pasted in next time. Even with the extra Mondays I need to be sensible about how much I can fit in, allowing enough time for the whole process to unfold. Last week I put in two pieces, which is one more than I managed in the whole of last year, so the only way from here is up!

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