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Friday, 28 March 2014

Writer With A Day Job

Write - Even On The Days You Don't Want To - Maria A Smith

How many of you saw the title of this post and thought, 'Yes, that's me,' then let out a long sigh. Is it really possible to write and hold a job down too? Can you have it both ways? Personally, I can't quit the day job, I don't have a rich benefactor anywhere who'll pay the bills, and keep a roof over my head, whilst I create my masterpiece. I doubt you can either.

Maybe it is possible to do both, I hope so, and I know lots of you get up hours before you need to get to your jobs, to put words on the page. Or you're burning hours at the other end of your day, or maybe, like someone I know, you give over one weekend in four to your writing. That is a big ask, when you have family commitments, but it certainly works for my friend. Forty eight hours to retreat away from the everyday.

It takes an enormous amount of discipline to regularly write, and hold down a steady job doesn't it? So what's the plan Batman? If you're struggling - take a look at my list.

  • Make writing a priority. Don't waste all your time on social network sites like Facebook or Twitter,  its easy to lose track of time. you can get a lot of writing done in an hour. Or use them as a carrot, tell yourself you can have fifteen minutes surf time when you've done an hour on the manuscript.
  • Set your mind to writing. Prepare beforehand by writing down what you are going to do when you next open your laptop, a note to yourself can be powerful. Make your writing a priority. Like an appointment with a professional, you wouldn't dream of turning up at the Estate Agents, Bank or Dentist not knowing what you wanted would you? Get organised.
  • When it comes to word count, consistency is key, and its said, that if you can sit down and write a thousand words a day for two months, you'll have 60,000 words at the end of it. Wow! If you can do that, good luck to you, I'm in admiration. I can't, but I might be able to write 500 words a day for two months, which is 30,000 words. Or maybe I could commit to 500 words every other day? Can you see where this is going? Break your numbers down, set a word count goal, write it down on the fridge, in your diary, put a counter on your blog, whatever you need to do to remind and reafirm your commitment to word count.
  • Plan meals in advance. I'm a big fan of the slow cooker. Chuck everything in before you go to work, when you come home ten hours later, the evening meal is there waiting for you. you've just saved yourself some valuable time. Writing time.
  • Shop online. Order the weekly groceries in one foul swoop. Have them delivered to the door, and you only have to put them away. Bags of time saved here. Not to mention the unnecessary items you put in the basket yourself. A double saving, money and time. Get into the habit. All the big players have online stores now. 

I've made a start, but what can you add to my list? Let me know and I'll post it here. Lets pool ideas on how a writer can have it all!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Where Do I Begin?

Botanic Gardens Leicester - Maria A Smith

On Saturday afternoon I went for a stroll amongst the glorius daffodils in the Botanic Gardens in Leicester. Traditionally, they herald a new beginning, and in case you don't know, there is no difference between a narcissus and a daffodil, narcissus is the botanical name, and daffodil is the English name.


Crocuses  - Maria A Smith

There were still crocuses in flower too, which surprised me, I thought I'd missed them completely.
Spring has sprung! We've had two glorious days over the weekend. Which has gone far too quickly, tomorrow is the beginning of another working week. Although, I've got an outings coming up, as I'll be going to my second Liars League, evening on Tuesday.  You can read all about my first expierence here. I'm particurly looking forward to this one as one of the actors is a friend of mine. Who is also a writer. I shall say no more now.


Bunches  - Maria A Smith

I do hope this weather is set to continue, don't you?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

40 Days Plus Some More

Tulips - Maria A Smith


Today is Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent, ending on Holy Saturday (April 19th) its the time of year when Christians remember 40 days and nights Jesus spent alone in the desert without food, being tempted by the devil. Traditionally, Christians everywhere, give something up, or introduce something that will improve theirs or someone else's life. Okay, that is the RE lesson for today concluded.  I've decided I'm going to live a more healthier lifestyle.

I don't want to get bogged down by making this too complicated, so my main goal is to  walk every day. I'll also cut down on sugary snacks, and limit unhealthy food options as much as I can. I'll let you know how I get on. Now my Lent promise is out of the way, its time to talk about the writing.

What are you working on?

I've been entering competitions, re-writing chapters of my novel, critiquing stories for a few of my  writing buddies, and generally enjoying my writing more. Try as I might though, I still can't focus on one thing alone, and its time to accept the writer that I am. Instead of beating myself up because I'm flitting from one thing to another.

I'm interested in lots of things. I want to write flash fiction, and short stories, and my novel, and articles too. Running workshops is fun, as is networking, and helping other writers along on their own journey is inspiring and up lifting. Its a cliche, but spice is very much the variety of life, I get restless if I am stuck on one project for too long. I need to break it up with other stuff.

So to coincide with Lent, I'm not putting myself under any restrictions, I shall write whatever I want, whenever I want, and do all manner of writerly stuff too! Lets see how I get on.

Are you doing anything for Lent?