As a writer, I’m constantly searching for moments in the day to actually write. It’s not easy; I’ve got a full-time job, I’m organising a wedding, I’ve got this bloody blog thing to write – there’s not enough time to go round!
For instance, I realised just this morning that since completing my plot outline, I’ve written one measly chapter. One! In a week! I have 88 to complete, which means at this glacial pace, the second draft won’t be complete until APRIL 2017.
This is clearly not good enough.
But wait, watch what happens when you cram more work in:
Two chapters a week – Finished by June 2016
Three chapters a week – Finished by February 2016
One a day – Finished by November 2015
One AN HOUR – Finished by THIS SATURDAY.
You see? At that rate I could be a bestseller by this time next week!
That’s why when a writer finds a hitherto undiscovered slot that works for them, they rejoice, as though a peace has been brokered with Time itself. We are always at war with the inevitability of the ticking clock, so when such treaties are signed, joy is manifest.
And it is with joy that I impart my recent revelation:
writing on the tube.
Yes! I know! It’s mental. But take a moment to breathe.
Turns out, it has always been there – an hour and a half every day, zoned out of my surroundings and erstwhile engaged in some other writer’s fictional world. A free hour and a half to weave fiction in transit.
And although this does cut into my reading time, I’ve got so much going on at the moment, I need every spare minute.
Aside from the editing I’ve been doing on the Chaos Draft every morning before work, and again every evening when not seeing friends, I’ve been writing blogs on my lunch breaks, and flash fiction on Fridays.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping to send short stories off to publications (I have one ready and another at first draft), but how do I crowbar this extra work into my schedule?
The fucking tube! I actually enjoy it when the blasted thing gets stuck between signals – when everyone else is huffing and puffing about how awful the underground is, and getting tetchy and shoving each other for more space, I just delve further into what I’m doing, focus more acutely, bury myself in my imagination.
The only problem is delving too far. I was sat on the Piccadilly Line the other day, writing a scene between father and son, in which the father pushes his son away from danger knowing he cannot escape himself – imagine Leon pushing Mathilda down into the walls of their besieged apartment.
I was tapping away on my phone, empathy flushing my sinuses like a chef chopping onions. And with a sniff and a sigh, I noticed people watching me – perhaps worrying about me? Or just fascinated I was getting signal in the bowels of London, and perhaps was being dumped via SMS.
Either way, I knew the story was a winner.
In short, I have very little free time – to paraphrase Leftfield: “My time is not free, my time is expensive.”
And any chance to claw some time back from Life is a blessing to be cherished.