Social media is a wonderful thing. I love Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends and Twitter for those I call my ‘Pen Pals’. There is no doubt that some people use Twitter to unashamedly promote their work but most of the people I follow are in it to have fun, be helpful or to try and make the world a better place.
Sometimes people will offer advice on the writing process or publishing industry (traditional or indie) and I try to read as much as I can to improve the way I write and to be prepared for the all-important submission (whenever, if ever, I reach that point).
A couple of weeks ago a tweet by @ellisshuman piqued my interest: I have a family, I have a job, but I need to create! ‘How I Found Time to Write in My Busy Schedule’.
I have a family, I have a job and I need to create! All three are essential pulls on my time and when friends ask me how my book is coming along, I find myself making excuses for not having the time, ie spending time at a work (a must) and spending time with my family (a pleasure). Why is ‘family time’ often considered to be non-productive and therefore non-essential?
It’s family time that makes everything okay – it centres and grounds me and allows me to fly……it provides a stable foundation for carrying out the day job and a sanctuary from the sometimes harsh world outside. Family time allows me to be me which provides the gateway to creativity.
But recently a lack of time has been a bar to creativity.
Thankfully, I read Ellis Shuman’s blog post where he shares just one single tip on how he fits writing into his daily schedule while still doing everything else he has, and wants, to do.
He leaves for work an hour early, goes to a coffee shop and writes.
With my equilibrium teetering, I decided to try Ellis’s simple advice; what did I have to lose?
And so for the last two weeks I’ve been leaving for work an hour early and what a difference it has made to my day! Traffic is lighter and the journey is very calm and relaxed. Once parked at work I go straight to a coffee shop or find a secluded place in the canteen and I write for an hour. I find the journey helps to focus my mind so when I sit down to write, that hour a day is incredibly productive. I have no time to sit and dilly dally or let procrastination take over. This is my time. I have left home an hour early to do this, and I treasure it.
An hour a day isn’t much, but it provides a constant, steady flow of work. The plan is to add longer chunks of time at weekends, if time allows. And if there isn’t any time for writing at weekends because there’s a family barbecue or shopping trip? That’s okay, I can enjoy myself knowing that I have time set aside each weekday to be creative.
So thank you, Ellis Shuman – I no longer feel guilty about wanting to spend time with my family and I have found a way to scratch that creative itch!