Minimalist writing

It happens every time.

Every time I get into something resembling a routine with writing, life takes over and I lose the momentum. Sometimes it’s personal troubles (heartbreak, health worries). Other times (now) it’s taking on a scary new job that is taking up every spare minute I have and more. I needed the new job; I needed to change something about my work. But still, it’s frustrating. I put “spend an hour on novel” on my to do list each Sunday, and somehow the next Sunday rolls around and I still haven’t managed to write.

This week, I got desperate enough to try something different. At the moment, when I’m still getting to grips with the new job and doing the mountains of preparation it requires, taking an hour out to write simply looks too much. That’s an hour I could spend planning lessons, or catching up on much-needed sleep. Even half an hour looks like too much at the beginning of the week, when the pressure is greatest…and by the time the pressure’s off (Thursday-ish), I’m too exhausted. So I thought about what period of time would not be too much, and came up with…ten minutes.

Ten minutes. It sounds ridiculous – what can you get done in ten minutes? Well, more writing than I’ve managed in the past few weeks, apparently.

Monday – ten minutes on the YA novel. 191 words.

Tuesday – ten minutes on the Depressing Literary Novel (TM). Planned the motivations of one of the main characters.

Wednesday – ten minutes on the YA novel. 202 words.

It doesn’t look like much, but it’s words/thoughts that I wouldn’t have if I’d still been pressurising myself to write for half an hour a day. Obviously, I hope I’ll be able to spend more time on writing in the near future… but in the meantime I can’t express how relieved I feel to be back at it.

Ten minutes. A tiny amount of time, but enough for now.

Thinking about writing

Last summer my life fell apart in various different ways: relationship woes, health worries, the realisation that I needed to redirect my career, with a few other bits and bobs added in. This coincided with a huge loss of confidence in my writing ability, partly because of lack of progress and success, and partly because I truly did find it harder to write when I had so much else to deal with and think about.

Since then much has changed. I have a plan for career change, my health worries have been resolved, and I’ve relocated to West Yorkshire, partly to be closer to my lovely family and partly to save money. I am also living alone again, for the first time in ten years.

And with the additional headspace and physical space has come…writing. Not that I’d ever stopped, but for almost a year, I felt as if I was progressing at snail’s pace. For the past couple of months, I’ve been making more time to work on both my novels, with the predictable result that the momentum is gathering. I’m thinking about them, or about writing, all the time, and the stories I thought were so awful, dull or silly are taking shape.

I’m also finding that I want to talk about writing, and I’m not comfortable doing it to just anyone. So here I am, in a space that I guess people can find if they want, but which I don’t have to publicise anywhere I don’t want to.

It’s writing time again.