Writing with children

December News - The Horseman cover, writing with a baby, and other stuff.

So, yesterday I saw my first glimpse of The Horseman's cover. It looks mad (in the brilliant sense) and I'm itching to show it to you all. I will be giving my newsletter subscribers a sneak preview as soon as the final res comes through, so sign up if you haven't already. The next newsletter will also have a giveaway, some stuff about thus-far unpublished projects, and some useful Christmas-y stuff.

So that's that. Now, to the nuts and bolts of what I do each day, which is write. I'm currently writing the first draft of my next project, which involves the recent research trip to Parkes and a trip to Paris next year (so you can imagine how excited I am about it). I'm just under 30k in, which I've written since the start of December. That's not bad going, given I get about 2-3 work hours a day, and I've moved house in that time. This past few weeks (and months) has taught me a few things about writing:

  1. I work much better with time pressure. When the window is narrow, and I'm desperate to get those words out, procrastination has to bugger off. There's no time to stuff around. This is much like I used to write when I worked full-time. A few precious house in the evening and weekend was all there was, and I was incredibly productive.
  2. Staying in the chair ups the word count. Most of the time, I'm back to writing with the baby sleeping on my lap. Then, I can't get up. So the washing, the cleaning, the whatever else also must bugger off. There's no time for that.
  3. Social media has to bugger off too. This is my first blog in a while. I haven't been on facebook more than a handful of minutes. Nor twitter. Pinterest only for research board. There is zero time to spend chatting, commenting or engaging when you're writing a book.

My goal before Master A was to write 3000 words a day for first drafts. Now I aim for 2000, and most days I'm hitting it; some I do more, some a little less, and I don't expect words on the weekend. What's to learn from this? If you're writing and you can't get words done (and I see the problem a lot in my teaching), maybe ask yourself what else is occupying your time, and why that's so much more damn important than your book. Or ask if maybe someone needs to be figuratively standing over you with a whip - making a deadline could make a difference. Or are you saying to yourself that your writing doesn't matter as much as all this other stuff? (it does, by the way, your need to write is not mutually exclusive with other responsibilities, even parenthood - if this is you, you might be interested in this - I don't like everything about it but the spirit is good). Maybe another blog a later time on the real nuts and bolts of how I'm doing this (writing 2k a day while full-time caring for a nearly 9-month old). But for now ...

... I'll just end in saying, from amidst the pile of boxes in my house, best wishes to all for the upcoming festiveness, whichever variety of it you celebrate. Love and safety for everyone, and I hope Santa brings you good books :)