I am a routine kind of person. I like to know what a day has in store, more or less, and I like to plan. I know which days I'll have time and space to sit and write, and which days I need to be out and about with other stuff to do. Then the schools break up for a couple of weeks and it all goes out of the window. I promise myself that I'll try and carve out some writing time to keep the Blog Monster fed and to make some small advances on the WIP, but I am not sufficiently spontaneous to be able to turn my thoughts to it at the drop of a hat, just in a small unexpected window of time when the children are occupied.
- Time marches on. Inexorably, like a never-ending conveyor belt, it just slides on no matter what I'm doing. I have no 'pause' button. Sometimes I'd quite like a 'rewind' or even a 'Stop/eject' but I don't have those either. It just keeps on going.
- I am going to have to fit writing round my life, not the other way round. Try as I might, things happen. The car needs to go to the garage BUT IT'S MY WRITING DAY. The children have a school trip and I am roped in as a parent helper BUT IT'S MY WRITING DAY. It's a beautiful unseasonably warm and sunny day and I have a chance to put in the summer bulbs that are overdue for planting BUT IT'S MY WRITING DAY.
Which of these is a valid reason to move the writing time? Are they just excuses? I find that I am inclined to protect my writing time much more fiercely if I'm getting on well, in the middle of a scene or chapter that I am wrapped up in, rather than in a lull where I am a little undecided as to what happens next. Funny, that. One day an earthquake wouldn't shift me from the keyboard, and on others all of the above have occurred, and my little swivelly chair has been left empty. I have even been known to clean the windows rather than get down to it when I am feeling overwhelmed by the whole project. And that's saying something.
I need to work out what kind of priority this project should have, and whether it is realistic and sustainable. I had hoped to get a first draft written before the summer holidays, but that looks increasingly unlikely. First draft before the end of the year? But that autumn term is a busy one that leads into the chaos of Christmas, where I find that peace and quiet gets squeezed out completely for a while. On the other hand, perhaps I should just make time. Be determined to protect my writing days no matter how compelling the alternative. At what expense, this novel? Does it matter if it takes one year, two years to complete? I don't suppose anyone can answer that, really.
Today, the children are at school once more. I packed them off with PE kits, books, drinks, snacks and musical instruments and then settled down at the computer to try and remember where I left off weeks ago. I need to get back into my groove.
No distractions. No procrastination. Only moderate amounts of coffee.
Come on. Words, where are you?
The sun is out, but I am going to write.
I have a pile of interesting-looking paperbacks on my bedside table, but I am going to write.
It'll be time to pick up the children, soon.