How much of a writer’s time is actually spent writing? I consider myself a writing professional but much of my time is taken up with writing-associated tasks rather than actual writing.
Usually I don’t think about this too much, just moan that I don’t get enough time to write so I thought I’d take a look at how I have spent my time in the last two weeks.
1, Edited a full novel ms for a client
2. Edited a chapter for another client
3. Revised two chapters of my current novel’s first draft.
4. Judged entries for a regional writing competition.
5. Prepared a workshop to give to my local writing group next week.
6.Attended two writers’ groups and a guest author night at my university.
.7. Spent around two hours a day networking on social media.
8. Dealt with writing accounts and paperwork, files sorting and book orders.
9. Wrote two thirds of a short story for an ongoing themed collection.
So out.of all these activities only the last one involves any actual creative writing with a total output of around 5 hours..
Of course as well as a writing life, us writers have our normal life going on as well. Around my writing practices, I fit in walking my dog twice a day,, caring for my large garden and allotment, getting involved in local community projects and hobby groups, finding time for my hobbies of cooking, knitting, sewing, antique doll collecting,spinning and lacemaking as well as the usual household tasks, shopping and socialising with friends.
Sometimes I read of other writers who shut themselves up or go off on retreats for weeks or months to produce a novel and I feel a twinge of envy but then I think such strategies are not for me. I tend to work in short bursts of around two hours with periods of other activities in between, with a maximum of three sessions a day, and even then, one of those is usually editing.
Walking the dog, gardening or doing some craft work, I find, clears my mind and allows my unconscious to work behind the scenes so that when I come back to my writing I’m refreshed and much of he writing seems to have been done and stored by the ‘unknown pen in my back brain’.
Writing is a major focus of my life. A writer is what you are, not what you do but friends, family and finding time for other things are important too. It’s a matter of trying to find a balance in a world that become ever more crowded with stuff to do.