“So how’s the not working / writing more thing going…?”

I confess to have been prompted to this mini self-assessment by Andrea Badgley’s post Writing More Means Doomscrolling Less, and as a follow-up to my own Missing Work Already? It’s not the kind of thing I normally do; I’m not a natural “look at me” kind of person – though I am belatedly realising that as an author I really do need to make a bit more of an effort!

So we’re half-way through October. How is it going?

Well, the diary is working to an extent. I’m normally ticking off around five things a day from my ‘list’. The biggest hitters are currently:

  • working on the publication of a poetry and prose anthology – “New Contexts” – that I’m putting together for January 2021. I’m at the selection stage – which is so much harder than I’d imagined! There are, not surprisingly, too many Covid-related poems…
  • working on the publication of a collection of original plays for an old friend of mine. Lots of enjoyment there!
  • adding (slowly!) words to a short novel I’m trying to write. Even though I’ve got the whole thing planned out and am about a third of the way through, I’m still not convinced that I yet believe in it. I need to pick up the pace.
  • working – again slowly – on a couple of collections of poetry. One will probably see the light of day next year, the second probably never…
  • trying to be a little more ‘out there’ in terms of my social media presence, but as I say, I’m not a natural, and this is proving the hardest thing of all!
  • going to the gym / running / getting on the exercise bike.

The rest of my time is taken up with normal domestic stuff. And I’m avoiding (I think!) wasting too much time on the TV or gaming and stuff like that.

So am I missing work? Not at all. And yet, in spite of the list above, my days don’t yet feel full. I know I don’t need to add anything else to my catalogue, I just need to do a bit more of them: an hour rather than thirty minutes, that kind of thing. And I probably need to turn the writing into a little more of a ‘job’ i.e. 9-11 every day, write X or Y.

But the interesting thing is that, given so many of my tasks are creative, there seems to be a limit, a capacity for creative thought. It requires a different mindset to a 9-to-5 job, requires a different type of commitment, intelligence. Just flicking a switch and saying “I’m now going to be creative for the next 90 minutes” just doesn’t work. It’s a bit like there’s a daily allowance, and once it’s spent…

Well, at least I recognise the challenge – and at least I’m trying. And, if you don’t mind, I may report back on progress in a few weeks.


Link to my Coverstory books publishing imprint.