This is inspired as a short piece from a question on the A215 (Creative writing) student forum about what discipline people apply to their writing.
I write as part of my work, although mostly not for publication these days (I’ve had posts in the past where some of my output was made public). The last public work I did was a guest blog entry for the Government Digital Service on Learning from Service Assessments.
On the other hand I also write for my own enjoyment, and lots of that is made public, mainly blog entries here, although I also write fiction and have published some of the Exodus Series recently. I joined in National Novel Writing Month last year (it runs every November – affectionately known as NaNoWriMo to its participants). That challenge of writing 50k words in a month got me into the habit of writing most days.
My writing time is the commute to and from work. That isn’t my ideal time to do writing, but it is the only time I can’t do anything else with. At home I try and spend time with my family, which includes time as a school governor and a section assistant for my son’s beaver colony. At work things are full on, I have multiple projects to manage and lots of meetings to attend, lunch isn’t usually a break.
The commute involves a 15 minute walk from my house to the train station. I use that time to think through the plot points and the scene that I want to write next. Sometimes I rehearse the dialogue in my head, replaying the conversations until either I get to the station, or I’m completely happy with it. I live just outside the M25, and most days I manage to get a seat on the train with a table. On those days I then spend the 35 minutes or so typing furiously (using Scrivener) to get the story out of my head and into the computer. Mostly I manage about 7-800 words on the way into work. If there are delays then there can be more than that. On Tuesday I wrote almost 2,200 words on the two way journey.
I also have a 10-15 minute walk between the station and my office, so there is more thinking time possible there. The process is repeated on the way home.
Editing is also done on the train to and from work, and in the gaps from other travel. On ocassion I travel for work and if so I spend the evenings afterwards either editing or writing if I stay anywhere overnight. That’s pretty rare though, as I prefer to go home if it is possible.
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