More than a passing fancy

It’s amazing how many people say to me, ‘I wish I could find the time to write. How do you do it?’

The answer is easy. You can always make time for the things you’re passionate about. Are you passionate about your writing? ‘Yes! Yes,’ you say. ‘But time is against me.’


My own experience began when my three children were at home and I had a poorly mother to visit.

‘There’s no time to do what I want,’ I bemoaned to a friend.

‘What? Not even over half an hour’s lunch?’ she asked.

I didn’t answer. Instead I turned off the mid-day news and tried writing while I ate.  I discovered that worked reasonably well. Sometimes I only wrote a few lines of a story but found it was so badly written I had to alter it the following day.  Other days my fingers flew over the keys and my head was so full of ideas that I would forget what I’d had for lunch – or if in fact I had eaten at all. But over that half hour I didn’t answer my phone, I ignored my e-mails, stuck the ironing in the cupboard for another day – and simply wrote.

That was the key and it wasn’t long before that daily discipline soon became a habit. I did out my small study-cum-spare room that looks over the Tyne valley and from then on I kept writing.

These days that discipline has stretched to longer than half and hour. It’s a writing routine that has set like cement, so that if a speaking engagement or the family pops up I’m disciplined enough to move that writing block to another part of the day. I also give myself odd days or weeks off to rest, think, soak in, absorb the world at large and so keep my imagination active.

Writing may be creative, but if you’re waiting for inspiration – forget it. Writing boils down to discipline.  Once you’ve mastered that then you’ll have the trill of putting down on paper those inspirational flashes, and the joy of feeling those creative juices flowing into a story only you have to tell.