A number of years ago, I read a book by a writer about writing and the gist of one of the chapters was that if you were not compelled to write every day, then you weren't really a writer. I accepted this as truth, probably because I was at an impressionable age, and also because the romanticism of the idea appealed to me. Thereafter, every day when I didn't or couldn't write made me feel like I was just a literary pretender. I still feel it. Whenever people ask me how my second book is going, and I have to admit that it isn't really, not since before the littlest was born, I feel like such a hobbyist.
I have good intentions. Each morning I really do believe that I'll be able to sit down for an hour at least and get some writing work done. And by the time 9 pm rolls around and I still haven't spent any time writing, all I want to do is drink my glass of wine and fall asleep. Someone once suggested I wake up at 4:30 in the morning and work for a couple of hours before the kids get up. And that was such a genius plan. All the way up until the alarm went off. Obviously, I have to get real. I am not going to have a regular productive hour to myself every day, not if I also want to be any good at keeping my kids healthy, safe and entertained.
Does that make me a fake writer? I don't think so. I think it makes me a writer who, like so many other writers trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables, has another job that eats up most of my daytime hours. Whoever wrote that chapter about real writers having to write every day must have been a very well-paid professional.* But, if I don't ever write, then nothing gets written. (I don't have the square footage for infinite monkeys or typewriters, after all.) So, how to go about writing this second book?
If you came here looking for some revolutionary new writing technique, I am about to disappoint you. This is the incredibly mundane answer I've come up with: Open the W.I.P. file. every morning. Whenever a few moments are available, work on getting down one pretty good sentence. That seems like something I can accomplish. And now, when somebody asks how things are going with the second book I can at least say, "Slowly."
*Unfortunately I can't remember who wrote it, or from what book.
Erin Bedford, writer.