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Finding Time to Write at Christmas

December 11th, 2015

October-2015-Front-Cover-blogFirst, thanks to Sue for last week’s blog. I know that meticulously recording all your sources isn’t the most exciting part of writing – it’s not exactly creative, is it? But it’s important and Sue should know, especially when you look at the list of non-fiction books she’s had published!

We’ve now started the run-up to Christmas. I tend to be quite laid-back about the whole thing because I don’t have a large family to cater for, but some people I know have already gone into panic-mode.  One of the less enjoyable things about Christmas is that it seems to suck up huge amounts of time.  If you’re a writer this can be particularly irritating. It’s difficult enough to find time to write during the rest of the year and it becomes virtually impossible at Christmas.

I think there are probably three options open to you. The first is to accept it and put everything on hold until the New Year (not a pleasant thought if you’re in the middle of your magnum opus and characters are bursting from your brain, demanding to be fleshed out). The second is to turn sneaky. When you’ve got the kids engrossed in their toys, sneak away and try to get some quiet time on your own. Or when all the elderly relatives start dozing, ignore the washing up and sneak away.

The third is probably the most civilised – ask for writing vouchers for Christmas.  Tell your partner and the kids that you don’t want material things; you just want a pile of IOUs saying that they’ll do the washing up, the tidying, the making small talk with in-laws and you’ll get a set allocation of time to write where you won’t feel either furtive or guilty.  Not the most original idea – but if all else fails, it’s worth a try.

And if you don’t fancy that idea here are two suggestions for things you could put on your stocking-filler list or buy for the writer in your life. I think they’re both invaluable and definitely won’t break the bank. The first is a subscription to Freelance Market News. As the name implies, each month it’s packed with markets that are accepting freelance work plus there’s news of competitions to enter, articles on improving your writing and a subscriber’s prize competition. The next is a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook (or a subscription to the online version). With its lists of current magazines and newspapers, publishers and agents, plus some really useful articles it’s a great resource, and because a new edition is brought out annually the information is up to date.

Our Short Story Competition finished last week. As usual, I enjoyed every minute of it and the entries have now been sent off to Iain Pattison, our trusty adjudicator. We’ll be announcing the winners in the New Year; so if you sent in a story there’s not long to wait… and a little bit of excitement to keep you on tenterhooks.  Our Flash Fiction competition was so popular earlier in the year that we’ll be running another one, starting in January. So watch this space!

That’s all for this week, but don’t let the run-up to Christmas stress you out. And remember, every experience – good or bad – is grist to the mill for a writer.

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