Is there more to a writer’s life than writing?

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.

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4 thoughts on “Is there more to a writer’s life than writing?

  1. donaldbakerauthor

    I do very little writing related activities. I am considering a local writers group, but I am wary. For one, I don’t want to get involved in b**ch sessions that produce nothing. For another, I’m not sure how it can help me.

    Reply
    1. skemjazzercarol Post author

      Donald, I agree some writers’ groups can be unproductive. A good one is excellent for getting feedback on your work and help with editing/proofreading. In one of my writers’ groups we have guest authors and workshops for inspiration. In the other it is just mostly very constructive feedback. Guest authors help to widen the writers’ social writing network which can help you get readings, publicity and may at times open doors in other parts of the writing community. It also gives the members support and confidence in their own work and practice in reading to an audience and running workshops for the group so developing transferable skills. Nowadays authors are expected to give readings and workshops and these are both definitely leanred skills. I find my writers’ groups invaluable and have made so many good friends also

      Reply
  2. Brian Wharton

    Hi Carol I played one of those silly games on Facebook which was what job do you do. I got writer and shared it with friends. A fellow writer who has more professional success than me wanted to know if the result said professional writer! To be honest I thought she was splitting hairs and reading between the lines was being bitchy! I have a body of work, received two commissions, had work selected for performance and my work has been shortlisted. I’ve always had a professional approach and a writer is what I am despise not making a,living from it as yet.

    Reply
    1. skemjazzercarol Post author

      Brian, I know how you feel, I don’t make a living from writing but scrape by with what I earn mostly from editing and proofreading as supplements. I enjoy doing these but I’d really rather be writing. Getting well known on the regional writing circuit is a big help, as you are, through the work you have already done, so don’t be downhearted.

      Reply

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