I thought I’d spend a bit of time writing about writing, because honestly it’s what I think about maybe 90% of the time, and it’s that thing which I’m supposed to do, so this is my next thing where I do that, and it’s called Urgh, Writing.
So last year I started doing full time work for the first time in my life, and the big question everyone asked me was ‘how is it going to affect your writing?’ And I didn’t go into it naively, I knew that going from casual to full time would be a big change. But there were a few reasons why I felt like I needed to do it:
1. I was so sad and uninspired by my casual job, that I wasn’t really writing anyway. My ‘extra time’ was basically spent in a whirlwind of guilt and job applications.
2. Due to REASONS which probably deserve a whole other post, I basically didn’t spend any time writing, and instead spent all my time doing things AROUND my writing. To make a really broad statement less broad, I was still really theatre oriented at that time, and basically did production and marketing and grant writing and artist liaison and sales instead of writing. I love my theatre company, and I love making super stupid plays, but it honestly took up my entire life and also, my entire ability to have money. But more importantly for my state of mind, I wasn’t writing.
3. After a few different ‘trial runs’ at various things, I’d decided that living off my writing in theatre was an absolute impossibility (some people do it, but even then it’s still supplemented somewhere in the industry) and I didn’t have the right temperament for freelance writing. Therefore I needed to get a job in an industry I liked, and it needed to be an interesting job. That’s how I got started in my ‘crack the publishing industry’ quest, which I succeeded at, because I’m now in a job I absolutely love with a fiery passion.
SO! All these things, and I’m now in a full time job. Am I getting writing done? Short answer yes. Long answer, yes, but I’m very frustrated. Take this weekend for example: on Saturday, I was sleep deprived so didn’t even really attempt to write. Today, Sunday, was not a conducive day for getting work done in our house. It was also raining, so I couldn’t go and hang in the park. I had to look after our new puppy, so I couldn’t go and sit in a cafe. So, I had to somehow push through. I did! But then that made me angry that my output is about 1000 words a week. That is not much. Because I have plans and schemes, I have books I want to write and grand projects I want to complete. I will write about these soon, but at the moment I feel hamstrung by time. Actually, scratch that – I’m not counting my regular columns, like The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge or Drunk Watching Downton Abbey. I get stuff written, I just have to calm the shit down a bit. Enjoy what I’m doing. Maybe focus on making what I write better than how much I do. I have to say, my strength as a writer is probably my determination, rather than any particular skill at the craft…
There are some people that are inspiring me at the moment.
Joel Naoum, the publisher at Momentum who works harder than anyone I know has managed to complete a novel. That basically kills any idea of not being able to write with a full time job.
Annabel Smith, who has managed to commit to a 500 word a day strategy, and managed to get 8130 words in the last month.
Oliver Mol, who has just had his first book ‘Lion Attack!’ signed to Scribe, told me that the excellent series of mini-fictions he writes on Facebook are written every morning on his phone. He is the one who has inspired me to write the Curriculum Worstae series I’m doing on Facebook.
SO. Do I commit to a similar strategy? I have a microfiction project that I’m working on called ‘Places I’ve Seen But Am Rapidly Forgetting’. Should I write one every morning? Or am I doing OK and shouldn’t add more pressure to myself, which might cause me to freak the fuck out?