So there I was in beautiful Tasmania, staying in an Art Deco building that used to be an insane asylum, working full time on my program and book about trust in business. So that’s conjured up some mental images, right? Of course it has. It even does for me. I myself am rather fond of the image of Jane Fonda as writer Lillian Hellman, casual but chic in a pencil skirt and sweater, cigarette in her mouth, hunched over her typewriter, sometimes chucking aforementioned typewriter out the window in a fit of Writerly Frustration. Which is OK, because a rather dishy and supportive Jason Robards as Dashiell Hammett is just in the next room.
But here’s what the reality of what “writing full time” is like:
Research. Books and printouts and surfing the Internet and phone calls. And just when you think you’ve done all your research, someone says, “Have you read this book?”
Disjointed notes and doodles on pieces of paper.
Looking out the window (today’s view: two black ponies).
Walking. To clear your head, and to get endless cups of tea.
Jeans and socks. No pencil skirts, and no Jason Robards. Alas.
A little bit of writing.
It’s the idea of Jane Fonda (or whoever your archetype might be) that stops many people getting their words down. Also, the idea that you need endless time at your disposal. But that’s all they are: ideas. I don’t know any full time writers who literally write full time. It’s just about impossible. The brain power required to write 9-to-5 is superhuman. What is commendably human, however, is doing bursts. It’s so easy, in fact, that you can fit in a whole day of writing into your week just by:
– Getting up 30 minutes earlier and writing. If you have a long commute and can’t get up earlier, write on the commute (tune out other commuters – that’s what earphones are for).
– Spending 30 minutes of your lunchtime writing.
– Writing for 30 minutes to one hour in the evening before you settle down to watch telly or do anything else.
Doing this for five days is the equivalent of writing 9-to-5 for one entire day. No superhuman brain power required. No Writerly Frustration.
Now. I wonder if it’s too soon for another cup of tea?…