This is a moment worth noting.
I have the house to myself for a couple of hours.
The entire house.
I could moonwalk around the lounge room with my underpants on my head singing Puccini, and there’s nobody here to care … not that they’d care anyway because they’re either my husband, who loves me despite my unsavoury fondness for opera, or my two small kids who think everything mummy does is funny.
But it is a rare gift to have space to think and, more importantly, to write. This has never been more appreciated than since I started trying to write fiction. Over the years of working as a journalist both in an office and at home, I’ve developed the ability to filter out distractions and just get the damn words down on the page.
That doesn’t seem to work with fiction. I need clear, calm, quiet space to write, and finding that in a house with two children under five years, a full-time at-home job, a husband who also works from home, and the usual assortment of domestic distractions, is not easy.
I’ve been asked a few times lately when I find time to fit in creative writing. The answer is between 7.30pm (when the kids usually go to bed) and 8.30pm (when my brain finally calls it a day and I collapse gratefully on the sofa and turn on the TV for a blessed hour of mindless entertainment. And occasionally during the day if the kids are out or both asleep.
It’s an hour not entirely free of distraction, but it’s enough. Over the course of the past year, that one hour has been enough to get more than 80,000 words down onto the page, although it’s probably a lot more than that because I’m now on the fourth draft of the novel.
Some nights I get to 7.30pm and feel like I’d rather clean the kitchen floor with my tongue than sit down and write creatively. Most of the time, however, I push through this and strangely enough, those seem to be the nights when I do my best writing.
I’ve listened to and read a lot about how other writers write and there doesn’t seem to be anything right or wrong about how, when or where you write.
The single golden rule is ‘just do it’. Each day, steal some time that is just yours. Close down your browser. Find a quiet room. Put your headphones in if music helps. Don’t procrastinate. Just write.