Hello and Happy New Year to everyone. In our house we are variously curled up on sofas and beds, wrapped in duvets and fleecy blankets, still in our pyjamas or fully clothed, in coats, and wearing gorilla-shaped slippers, and scarves. (It’s chilly in our house.) The teenagers might have overdone it with the fruity-flavoured cider last night, plus there’s been a cough and cold bleating through our neighbourhood all over the Christmas break. The good news is my husband is back on taxi driving duty! Hurrah! Leaving me to go to bed early with a book and liquorice tea while he cruises the unlit Wiltshire lanes in search of one or both of his non-paying passengers, namely our sociable children, making merry with their friends at each other’s houses – every week the pick-up times seem to be getting later.
But what about the writing……?
………. the writing, the writing? As Robin Houghton says in her excellent New Year’s post, if you want to write you need to allocate time to writing. It’s all very well making merry on your blogs, on Facebook and Twitter, giving readings, organising competitions, buying books and magazines, keeping track of your submissions, acceptances and rejections, setting goals, planning and talking. If you don’t set aside time for writing, you’re in trouble. But it is easier said than done, at least for me. And if, like me, you have many roles in your life: part-time charity worker, parent, wife, sibling, friend, relation to many, pet-keeper…….. well, the jobs add up!
Would it be best to leave social media altogether?
Is that the answer? I’ve read a few status updates recently about intentions to leave Facebook. I know that I’ve lost myself inside many a Facebook thread and wandered out 30 minutes later trying to remember who I am. It’s not very good for my focus and, like others, I’ve thought many times about switching everything off. But, over 60 per cent of us (in the UK) have a Facebook account – some facts and figures here – and, for its many, many failings, there is no denying that in 2015 we will be communicating with each other on the internet.
So, I’m not switching off all together but I have, in recent weeks, found a way of managing my social media distractions.
One hour, every day.
Admittedly I’ve been on leave since 19th December so it’s easy for me to say this but I have been writing for at least one hour every day. For that hour I’ve not checked in to any of my social media places, I’ve sat inside my writing room (in our house this is also a sitting room) and closed the door. I haven’t necessarily sat at a desk because I don’t always work like that. I’m a bit messy. On some (most) days I’ve ended up writing more, much more, than one hour and I’ve returned to the writing at different stages of the day. On other days, it’s only been the one hour.
It’s not perfect but it’s meant that I’ve started to make headway with my unfinished poems. NEWSFLASH – I’ve only actually finished one but, what can I say? I’m a slow writer. I know it will be more difficult to stick to my plan once I go back to my part-time job later in January but, one hour a day isn’t too onerous, I think it will be manageable, and better to set a realistic goal than to aim too high and end up feeling like a failure.
It’s not exactly a New Year’s Resolution, just a goal for January. I daren’t even think about February, yet. So, I wonder if you’ll join me in turning off all the distractions and writing for one hour every day in January? Perhaps you already do this or perhaps you have ideas you’d like to share about managing your writing time and maintaining your focus? Tell me!
Don’t forget to go outside…
One last thing…. it’s muddy in January, it’s breezy, it might be raining or even snowing but it does you good to get outdoors. I probably need to allocate time for that as well. At least I managed it today. Best wishes for 2015, everyone.