Happy Tuesday! First of all, apologies that I haven't been around to your blogs the way I'd like to over the last week and a bit. My laptop is currently being shared with the house, due to my good wife's machine being the innocent victim of a rogue charger from eBay which fried the motherboard. Won't make that mistake again. Also, my elder stepdaughter has had to borrow it to finish off college assignments, although she's now out for the summer. We can't spring for a new laptop just like that, so I'll need to get to grips with using the touch screen on my better half's iPad when she needs the laptop to conduct her business!
So, what of my WIP? Well, last week was a bit of a lost week. I only managed to cobble together 1000 words, partly because of the reasons mentioned above, but also because of another situation which is too draining to get into here. I'm making sure this week is a lot better, and so far I've kept on track. Not trying to catch up with what I missed last week, because I fear I'd burn myself out. I just aim to keep on the trajectory I set for myself, of 5000 words per week. The story is getting to the tricky middle stage. I have an idea of what should happen, but it's the mechanics of getting there scene by scene that is proving a struggle. Just a first draft, I keep telling myself. It's never going to be perfectly smooth at this point, so I'll just keep going.
I've also been heartened by the excellent feedback I have received recently for Part 1. Thanks, Tyrean and Meradeth for being great betas! I look forward to working on your suggestions, and your encouraging comments have spurred me to continue with Part 2. I'm finding that writing a trilogy comes with its own unique set of challenges.
So, onto the main thrust of this post. It's mainly advice for those with offspring, but could be applied to any situation. With the onset of summer days, I'm aware that many of my American friends already have their kids at home all day, here in Scotland we break up next week, while England have a good few weeks left to go. Your jealously guarded bubble of sacred writing time is about to be rudely burst by requests for ice lollies and demands to play football. That's too bad. You should get involved with your kids' activities and enjoy this time with them. Does that mean you should take a break from your work, like them? Not at all!
You just have to get a bit more creative with how you schedule your writing time. If your kids are late risers (aren't most?) you might get a fair bit of interrupted time in the mornings before their sleepy heads leave the pillow. Or, you could keep them so busy during the day that they'll crash out at a reasonable time and allow you the rest of the evening. Me, I'm a morning/daylight writer. If I try to write any time after around 6pm, it just gets all fuzzy and doesn't make any sense. I'm sharper when the day is fresh. I already do a paper round where I start at 6am during the week. I'm not actually obligated to start that early, I just need to get the papers delivered by nine, but I need to get back to get the kids up and ready for school. During the holidays, I won't have that responsibility, so I can do the papers a bit later and get a bit of work done beforehand. This approach has the added advantage of knowing I only have a limited timeframe before I need to leave, thus hopefully making me more productive. When you have all day to write, it's that much easier to find other essential jobs to do first, like polishing your collection of priceless Ming vases (not that I have any of those). Plus, there's the bonus of complete silence, when even the dogs are fast asleep.
The last thing you want is to be batting your kids off with one hand while you try to scrap out fifty words with the other. It's not fair on them, and is only going to lead to tension and bad tempers. I came over all parenting coach there! I'm not an expert by any means, but the main point is to make sure your kids have a great time, because it's their summer and a time of what feels like dizzying freedom. I will still have articles and editing to do, but I can be a bit more multitasking with them, attending to the kids at the same time. It's not as intensive as my writing where I need to have absolute concentration or things go badly wrong.
And, like I said, if you don't have kids, this advice can be applied to any situation where you find yourself with seemingly less time to write.
One more thing before I go. I didn't mean for this post to be so long! My awesome friend and CP, Kyra Lennon, recently became a volunteer for her local branch of Cats Protection, helping rescued and abandoned moggies to find a forever home. An excellent endeavour in itself, but she's come up with the added idea of creating an anthology to help raise extra funds. This will feature short stories and possibly even longer works, poetry, and real life stories all based around cats. I think it'll be a lot of fun, and I already have an idea floating around my cranium. You can go here to find the Linky List and sign up. I really hope Kyra has loads of interest for this because it's a great cause!