Monday, 28 January 2013

Time to Write

Time to write - now, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing?  Of course, all of us have access to the same amount of time (in the present moment, nobody knows what the future may hold) and we choose how to spend that time.  I am constantly trying not to squander mine, to make the most of every minute, to focus on the things and people that are the most important to me.  To lead a fulfilling life. 

Recently I have found myself shooting off in all sorts of directions, all of them very interesting, and found myself struggling to sort out my priorities.  Last weekend was extremely busy.  On Saturday I attended a writing workshop in Bournemouth (thanks, Amy Mason of LitUp who organised the day, and Andrew McMillan, poet and very inspirational speaker).  The day confirmed the thing I keep coming back to - I am a writer, I need to write and want to write more than anything else. 

I just need to find the time to write.  Well, the workshop day was about exactly that - how to be a full-time writer, how to fund your writing.  Amy spoke very knowledgeably about writing residencies, and about bids for Art Council Funding, and Andrew, who has just been appointed Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Liverpool University, also spoke about how to make writing pay.

It was the Arts Council funding information that I found most interesting.  If you are a writer with a proven track record - a published poet, or an author with at least one book under your belt, you can get a 'Time to Write' grant.  Time to write my novel, without have to rush around trying to do everything else simultaneously!  I have already made preliminary enquiries to the Arts Council, and now I am going to keep my fingers really, really tightly crossed until I hear back.

A few days ago, I temporarily stopped trying to write my novel.  It had been progressing very slowly, so I decided to schedule time into my diary to get on with it, and headed off to the library to do my work where there were no distractions.  The first time I did this, it went really well.  But then other things happened, I became busier than I wanted to be, and the appointments I had made for myself in my diary were all missed.  I was disappointed in myself, but I soon rationalised this.  I realised that it was not a failure and not my fault - I simply could not cram any more into my life than I am already doing.

I need to be able to look after my family, above all.  Do the cooking, washing, cleaning, and give each of the children, and Paul, as much of my time as they need.  And then when they are all out of the house (Monday to Friday, nine am to three pm, I can get on with other stuff.  But ghost-writing, studying, teaching, helping out at the kids' schools... How on earth can I write a novel with all this already going on?  Not to forget the fact that I need to walk the dog every day - which is a pleasure, but still takes time.)

So I am scaling back my efforts now.  I have applied for the Arts Council grant, and if that doesn't work out I will find another way to follow the correct path to get to where I need to be.  I am sure it will all work out. 

Now, I said we had a busy weekend...  We had planned to go and visit my sister on Saturday, stay with her on Saturday night, then go up to London on Sunday morning to 'do' the Science Museum.  Meanwhile, the writing course came up, and so did a party for our youngest.  So Paul had to ferry all the children around, and do all the packing for our trip, while I attended the writing course (who got the best part of that deal...?)  He picked me up at the end of the course, and we went straight off to my sister's.  It all worked out fine, although it felt like a bit of a rush. 

The Science Museum was wonderful - although we couldn't see a fraction of it in the time we had available.  Partly because with four children in tow there was a great need for refreshments and toilet trips and visits to the museum shop and so forth.  But it was great nevertheless, and we are planning a return trip to London in the Spring, probably to the Natural History Museum this time.

Enough for now...  I must get on and finish my entry for the Rethink your Mind competition.  Here's the link again:   The deadline is looming, so do enter soon if you get a chance, and pass on the word.  It's a very worthwhile project, and if that's not enough of an incentive, the prizes are iPads and a trip to the House of Lords!

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