I really am lucky in that I am employed because I am a writer and that sitting at my desk at work and doing my own writing is not a crime as it might be for some other people. Having said that, there are many tasks that I have to perform which aren’t directly connected with my own writing:
· Designing modules
· Writing handbooks and lesson plans for those modules
· Preparing and delivering lectures and seminars
· Seeing students about matters to do with their creative work
· Seeing students about other matters
· Attending meetings
· Admin, admin and admin …..
· Bidding for funds (another opening for rejections?)
· Marking students’ work
Then there are all the tasks I do because I am a writer but which are not actually writing:-
· Reading proofs
· Writerly research (all three levels)
· Sending out query letters
· Artists’ treats
· Being nosy
· Filling out a tax return
· Giving talks and workshops to schools and other groups
· Attending festivals.
All of this leaves little time for writing - maybe two hours or about 2,000 words on a good day. That’s what I actually try to stick to, weekdays at least. And I allow myself catch-up time at the weekends. That is glorious – a wonderful excuse not to do the housework. Interestingly, also, that is almost my optimum working pattern. If I try to write for longer on any one day or try to write more words, I end up slowing right down and the quality plunges. You can still do a great deal with that time / word limit. It’s not as if I hate the other tasks either. Though I could do without the admin and filling in the tax returns.