Daily commute. Dayjobbery. Family. New puppy. Running. The Walking Dead*.
These are the things which have consumed me. Writing new fiction hasn’t been the last thing on my mind at all, but it’s been the last thing in my life. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this position, and none of my old tactics seem to apply**. I’ve barely been in my study over the last month, and unless I change things around it’s not at all clear to me when I next will be.
But how to change things about? This is the bit where I would tell you my cunning plan, but I don’t have one. All I can think to do is lump it, and attack things guerrilla style whenever a spare half hour arises. The problem with that is identifying that yes, this is a spare half hour, and doing something with it while it’s there. More often than not I flop down, do something aimless, and only realise I’ve missed the moment when it’s already gone.
One thing I can do is put my commute to better use. It’s not much – a twenty minute train ride and ten minutes on the tube each way (sometimes I lose some of that by running home) – but add it up and you get an hour or so each day that I’m not doing a great deal with. In fact I’m writing much of this on my iPhone on the train home to finish off later***. If you detect a lack of wit then that is because it’s busy, and everybody smells but me. It is difficult, I am finding, to summon much wit when surrounded by people made mostly of moist armpit.
I’ll see how it goes, and keep an eye out for other times I could be scribbling things but am not. Guerrilla writing is less satisfying than planned writing. There’s not the same opportunity to inhabit the world you’re trying to create. The skill might come, but right now it’s a struggle to snap into a storytelling sort of headspace in time to make much use of scattered minutes. If I stick with it though, all those snatched words might start to add up in a coherent way. Nothing is lost by trying.
And just because I’m struggling to find the time to write, that doesn’t mean there isn’t writing to be done. Leftover from earlier in the year there’s the Lomax Chronicles to finish off and release, and I’m determined that this will be done in time for my 40th birthday in January. There’s also The 52, which is unlikely to continue on any sort of weekly basis, but which I love too much not to see through. Expect that to start reappearing in sporadic fashion. The extended break has given my imagination plenty of time to linger on some of the images I have left, and I have to find out what stories emerge.
Finally, there’s a juicy secret project, about which I have not yet uttered a word. If everything falls into place as it should then you’ll hear all about it early next year. Shhhh.
It’s a much reduced schedule from the start of 2014, and even this feels like a lot to squeeze into the edges of a life. I definitely need some smarter tactics.
Let me know if you have any to spare.
*You know – IMPORTANT stuff.
**I’m not even sure what they were anymore, beyond carefully applied masochism.
***Using the Google Docs app, which is perfect for this guerrilla thing. I also added words in the kitchen while making a kedgeree, on the train the next day, and on a chair with a sleeping puppy pinning me in place.