Writers Abroad Magazine 6 May 2017 - Page 14

WRITERS ABROAD MAGAZINE: THE THIRD SPACE NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY BY LAURA BESLEY Many of us can only write part-time, whether it is due to work, family commitments or both, so how do we fit writing into our daily lives? Get Up Early One way is to set the alarm for at least an hour or more before you need to get up. This can be a very easy time of the day to get quality writing in, as long as you only make your tea or coffee and get started. Don’t be tempted to check your phone or your emails because, before you know it, the hour will be gone and you might as well have stayed in bed. Personally I find this time of the day great for writing. I set my alarm for six and usually get an hour in before my three-year-old son wakes. Admittedly, I am a morning person and prefer writing in the mornings, given the choice. It can be hard to set the alarm the night before, especially because phone alarms tell you how much sleep you’re going to get. That can be quite off- putting when you see a number that doesn’t suit your needs. It’s easy to think: I’ll get up early the day after tomorrow. Richard Carlson, PhD, writes, ‘The fulfillment you experience more than makes up for any sleep you miss out on.’ (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and it’s all small stuff, p.199). I have certainly found this to be the case. Stay Up Late You can (also) do an hour at the end of the day. If you work office hours, or have children to put to bed, by the time you’re ready, it’ll probably be seven or seven-thirty. That leaves you an hour or more before you need to go to bed. The difficulty I find with writing in the evenings is that I’m very often distracted with other things. Bills need to be sorted, people need to be emailed, friends are waiting for replies to messages, and also I’m already tired having done a full day of childcare. It’s far more tempting to say I deserve a rest (which obviously I do, we all do, but then later on I feel annoyed with myself for being unproductive). One thing I have done to create more time in the evenings is cut out television Monday to Friday. Although quality television can be beneficial to our writing, reruns of Friends and the various soap operas available are probably less so. If you need more ideas as to what you could cut out to create more time, read Kathleen McGurl’s Give up Ironing – A Writer’s Guide to Time Management. She says, ‘Ironing, by the way, should be taken as a metaphor for all those time- consuming activities which could be cut out or reduced as a way to free up time.’ Work Through Lunch For people working, you might be able to squeeze in an hour at lunch-time. Try to have a change of scenery, though. Go outside (weather permitting), or a nearby café, or maybe there’s a library close by. 13 | MAY 2017