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  • Caroline Johnston

The Excuse Of Time


Go to any writers group or conference and you'll probably hear at least one person say they haven't written anything recently because they just haven't had the time. I know I've said it on many occasions; or at least used it as an excuse for snail like progress.

Like many people, my life is a bit of a juggle. I'm married with three children = busy; I'm part of a business start-up team =busy; I volunteer my time to various things = busy.

Excuses seem easier to come by than focussed writing time!

Last year my plan was to block off Wednesdays as my writing day. An ambitious target that didn't work out too well. When you're juggling several things, a free day a week doesn't happen all that often. Plus, while I liked the idea of a special writing day, the reality was a bit different. On a Wednesday, faced with a flashing cursor and the need for thousands of words; housework, internet searches and Facebook suddenly became my best friends.

Writing courses tell us we should write every day. Maybe they are right (funnily enough!). So what does writing each day look like? As a writer you've got to find your own writing time sweet spot. For some people it might be in the crazy early hours of the morning; I'm not a morning person, so no thank you. Or maybe late at night; but by then I'm zonked on the couch and can only just manage to follow the plot line of some easy going crime drama. I considered that my optimum time might occur just after dropping the kids off at school. And so for the last few weeks that's when I've been writing for an hour each morning.

You know what? It's working! I'm enjoying the challenge of writing each day; I stay focussed, and it keeps my writing moving forward. The other things I'm juggling can stay suspended in the air for an hour, while I pay some much needed attention to Kirsty, Paul and Jennifer - the main characters in my next novel - Raincoats & Sunglasses.

I'm currently writing Jennifer's story, she's a forty something housewife, trying to decide what to do with her life, now that her three children are at school. I'm enjoying getting to know Jennifer; she's not great at time management and is a bit OCD with the housework. By spending this consistent time together, her character and story line are developing quite nicely.

I'm sure my writing time with adjust with the seasons of life, but for now I'm loving my morning hour of writing. And hopefully it means I'll be sharing Raincoats & Sunglasses with you in 2016, rather than years from now!


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