One of the biggest challenges I had pre-publication, whilst juggling the 'day job' with the 'dream job' was finding the ideal writing slot for my craft. The habit I developed was to write each day, but I would 'pinch' bits of time from sections of my day in order to write. In a typical day, I might have five writing sessions: one before work, breaktime at school, lunch time at school, on arriving home and then a late night session. I wrote in chunks of pinched time whilst others were drinking coffee, chatting in staffrooms, watching TV and sometimes, sleeping - I was writing. The daily time would amount to several hours and several thousand words which got me to my goal: publication.
I'm not complaining, it was necessary for me to do what I was doing. Yes, it meant I was always thinking about my novel, always had the next time slot in mind, always carried my note pad/laptop where ever I went, but it worked for me. I reached my goal on 1st August 2017 when my debut novel was published. Many authors have similar stories to tell; the bottom line is you need to do, what you need to do in order to reach your goal.
What would have made my life a little easier back then if it had existed is 'the gem' that I was introduced to in November 2021. In November, I attended a writing retreat and another participant mentioned The London Writers' Salon - a Zoom session that occurs four times a day chasing the '8am time slots' around the globe. It's completely free to attend, there are memberships should you wish to become more involved, but the basic four times a day Zoom sessions are totally free.
The four daily sessions, Monday to Friday, are Zoom connections in which 'writers' of any nature - be it published, unpublished, students with study, poets, playwrights, office workers, bloggers, reviewers, even those simply catching up on a backlog of emails can attend and work in a silent, but dedicated community for one hour. Now, that probably sounds the strangest thing you've ever heard, but I swear it is magic. If these sessions had been available to me prior to being published, I would have attended! Seriously, it would have made my journey easier. I've been attending each day since November and I do love it! You have screen after screen of people busily writing/studying/working but to me it feels like turning up for a study session in a global classroom of two hundred! Each one hour session has two LWS hosts a leading the format; the first five minutes are setting your intentions, followed by 50 minutes of dedicated work and then a few minutes wrapping up the session and hearing what two chosen people have been working on. I keep my camera on as it provides a sense of accountability that this is my writing time amongst friends, but many choose not to, so have blank screens.
Now that I'm writing full-time at home, I have a schedule for each day and it's one I stick to as if I were working outside the home. For me, these daily Zoom sessions enable me to alternate between 'lone' writing and a sense of 'community' writing where I get to see other faces each day. I get to hear of other's progress, challenges, success and disappointments which provides a new aspect to my daily work.
Last week, I introduced a friend to the sessions as he hadn't completed any writing in recent months - he's attended every day since and like me, loves it too. It's definitely worth a visit for anyone completing any form of writing or study.
Here's the link to London Writers' Salon - free sessions (press the red font) - I'll see you there!
8am - London
1pm - New York
4pm - Los Angeles
9pm - Melbourne
There's nothing I like more than a beginning; be it a new reading book, a new project or a new idea! So, it won't come as a surprise that I love New year! Many folks hate resolutions, but I adore embarking on study, self-improvement and gaining new skills. A new year represents a time for self reflection, renewed vows and a spring clean of your daily routine in order to achieve those hopes and dreams.
I won't bore you with my resolutions, some are serious and arduous, others quirky and entertaining, but each will assist in improving my daily life and wellbeing. Oh, and then there's the work ones too! My immediate task, with a deadline for 9th January, is to complete my structural edits for Shetland book 3. After which, I'll be editing Shetland book 4 prior to submission to my editor on 1st March. Then I'm free to indulge in 'playtime' with a couple of ideas which have been niggling me to be written.
For those who truly know me, you'll know that my reading pile has become an issue in recent years. My 'To-be-Read' book shelf - yeah, its an actual thing, is overflowing! I was pleasantly surprised to learn I'd read a fair amount during 2021, which I'd deemed a particularly poor year given my focus elsewhere. Many authors read to provide reviews and blog posts, I stir clear of such tasks; I read purely for pleasure just as I did as a child. I'm hoping 2022 will see a return to my usual reading habit filled with more classics, crime and non-fiction topics.
Any how, I'm sure 2022 will deliver plenty of highs and lows, but I'm ready and excited to face whatever comes my way!