Advice from a novelist: how to fit in writing around a job

Advice from a novelist: how to fit in writing around a job

Novelist B.A. Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors, offers her advice on making your writing work when you don't have much spare time:

Set aside some time to write every day

Easier said than done, but this can be just an hour

  • If you are an early riser and perform better in the morning, write for an hour before you leave for your commitments. It’s a great way to start your day.
  • If you have a long journey to an office or elsewhere by public transport, use that time to write. Put some music in your ears, block out the rest of the world and start typing.
  • Writing in the evening can be difficult when you’ve already done a day’s work, caring for someone or volunteering and all you want to do is unwind. So unwind – have dinner, watch an episode of your favourite series – and then get down to writing.

If you don’t feel like writing, use the time you’ve set aside anyway

  • Use this time to edit what you’ve already written or to outline your next few chapters.

Try and fit in one long stretch per week when you can write for a few hours without being interrupted

  • For most people, this would be at the weekend, on a Sunday afternoon when other family members are sleeping off Sunday lunch. Unfair, I know, but if you want to be able to write THE END, sacrifice is necessary!

Learn to write in snatches

  • Don’t ever think that it’s not worth sitting down to write because you’ve only got a free 15 or 20 minutes. In that time you can write another few lines, edit a couple of pages – every little helps!

Learn to be selfish

  • Don’t let anything or anyone impinge on the time you’ve set aside for writing. Whether that's grandchildren, neighbours, friends or your partner. You need to be firm.

Never give up

  • If you’re passionate about writing, you’ll find time to write, no matter what. If you find yourself making excuses for not having written for a few days, it’s because you’re not inspired. So read over your story, find out where it began to go pear-shaped and start again from there.

Buy Behind Closed Doors (£7.99/MIRA)

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