I wrote something a wee while ago about full time writers vs. writers who have other jobs. There was, however, one aspect of it that I didn’t really give much thought. Now, whenever you read a blog or a book or whatever on this subject, the vast majority of the advice will be about finding time to write, usually vague anodyne rubbish about making time or daft suggestions about cutting back on the other things that you do, such as sleeping. I all this daft because I do, as it happens, think that time can be found to write if it’s important to you, no matter how busy you are. I say this advisedly because obviously some people have much less time than others, but even on only half an hour a day you can get something done. Well, you can get some writing done, anyway. And that’s the thing.
Previously I was coming from a point of view whereby being a writer merely meant being someone who writes. What actually happens to that writing once it’s done, whether it goes straight on the shelves at Waterstones or straight in the drawer never to be seen, didn’t really cross my mind. Some folk have fairly specific ideas about what they want to happen as a result of their writing, though, often involving money and fame and so forth. No harm there, but that’s where the lack of time really does start to kill.
I have time to write, no problem. I don’t have eight hours a day, or anything like that, and there aren’t many days where I produce much more than a thousand words, but the time is there. What I don’t really have time for is all the other stuff, events and festivals and Twitter and (if you look at the timeline on the right) blogging. If all my hopes for the future were pinned on making millions from my writing, I’d be up against it.
I don’t really have any advice or tips or anything like that. I’m not trying to be constructive, just backbiting a little. Because it’s not just the hours of time devoted to self-publicity I’m talking about, it’s the hours of time devoted to learning how to be good at self-publicity. I hardly have enough time to get good at writing, never mind anything else, and if I did, you can be sure marketing is about the last thing I’d be trying to pick up. I’ve always wanted to learn Czech (don’t know why), can’t play chess endgames, and have a left foot that’s only good for standing on. My entire personality is a leaky ship sinking slowly to the bottom of the ocean; I’ve enough on my plate trying to plug the gaps, never mind taking on fresh passengers.