This school year we are choosing a weekly theme, as a family. One of the early weeks of school was “happy” week as a way to get everyone adjusted to the school routine. Another week was dubbed “kind” week for obvious reasons!
The girls were very adamant this week should be “space” week. Not in a star-gazing way, but a focus on each member of the family giving the others space. It is that time of the term!
Today I have been thinking about space to write and to be honest I have been struggling. As I feel like I have had little space to write for the last week. But as I pondered those words this morning I remembered again that I am in charge of my own time. So if I have no space to write whose fault is that?
In the end the reason I feel I have no space to write is due to these few very fixable issues:
The first is that I don’t say no.
To have space to write, I need to create space to write. This means I need to set aside days or parts of days expressly for that purpose. So if someone calls me and wants to catch up, or if I need to make an appointment time, I have to say “sorry I am busy”. Valuing my writing means creating time to get it done. I am the kind of person who needs a huge amount of thinking space to get a few words down, and if I don’t protect that time then the writing can’t follow.
Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg. – J. K. Rowling
It also becomes a question of priorities. Sitting here at the kitchen bench typing away I can see clothes that need folding; pencils and paper that need to be put away; and a dishwasher to unpack. You get the picture. The housework is never done. There is always something I could be doing.
So I need to decide that the folding and the dishwasher are not a priority right now and give my time and energy to the keyboard. And let’s face it, the dishwasher will get done before I can refill it, and the clothes will get sorted and put away when people start running out of clothes. It all gets done eventually. But it doesn’t need to be a priority right now.
Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement. – Cory Doctorow
Following on from that thought is the idea of organisation. While leaving somethings until later (like the folding), there are other tasks I have to be organised with. I have found that knowing what I am having for dinner on a writing day keeps me more focused, as otherwise I keep circling back to the nagging thought that I have nothing to feed the family. So planning something quick and easy, or preparing something in advance gives me freedom to remain focussed on the task at hand.
In the end it is up to me to set aside my time, prioritise my writing and get organised with dinner plans. All these things work together to give me space to write.
And on that note, I’m signing off to do just that.
Join me for the journey,