Life is chaos. I’m sure we can agree on that.
Life is a mess of dirty linen and dishes in need of a soak. The boiler breaks, your bicycle gets a puncture, then the tax man knocks at the door when you’re out of pocket. There is always ‘something’ trying to get your attention, and out of all those ‘somethings’ chores are the worst of them.
It’s the end of the day. You’ve pulled off your seven hours of labour. You sit down at your desk to write, only to hear the machine machine sounding its, “I’m finished!” alarm. You get up to hang the washing, and then you see the dirty dishes, and then you see the messy worktop…
Desk space is fine and dandy if you have it, but it’s not always the best place to sit down and write. Other writers make the process seem so formulaic. “I sit down every night at 6pm and write for an hour,” explains one, “A thousand words a day from 8 to 9:30,” details another. I don’t know how they do it. I want to know how they do it. I’ve tried – but it’s not for me. I have writers group on Sundays, so that’s a solid chunk of time out of the window (a very useful chunk of time, I might add). Streaming on Tuesdays knocks out the evening. Emerging Critics meetings take up another evening every month or so. Then there’s the simple desire to come home and chill after a stressful day in the office. Put your feet up, have a cup of tea, and forget about spreadsheets and office politics.
If this sounds anything like you, then I’ve got a tip for you. Embrace the chaos. Alright, so you’ve got odds and ends happening all over the place – either plan around it, or, when you find a chunk of time use it for writing.
I am finding my lunch break to be the best time for me to knuckle down and put pen to paper. I tuck myself in the back of the records room with a little table, and spend the hour putting down ideas or working on narratives. The room is a dusty, dimly-lit, cobwebbed misery. The floor is littered with files and folders. It’s cold. But it works. It has a table. I can type. That’s all I need.
But I’m not always here. Sometimes I’ll be typing upstairs, or in a cafe over a cup of strong tea. Occasionally things go sour in the office and I lose a large chunk of my break, so then I find time after work – at home, in the quiet of the bedroom.
It’s not about physical space, but about finding the time to write. Plug in the earphones and you’re wherever your music is. Nothing outside matters. All there is is you and the text scrolling up the screen in front of you.
So write when you can, not where you can.