Monday 27 May 2024

Writing Around Your Life - The Creative Process


Last week I talked about plans changing (found here) and this week I thought that I would touch a little on how you go about writing around your life. Full disclaimer here, I write full time. It is my one and only job. It doesn't pay full time, but it's the only thing I do for a living. I realise that puts me in a very privileged position and so when it comes to things said here, or anywhere by me, take that knowing that I know that my life is very much different to people raising kids with jobs and other commitments that they have to meet.

With that out of the way, let's get into the piece itself. I started writing properly when I was 19 and had been retired from working life because of my chronic conditions and disabilities. It was daunting to be faced with the prospect of never being able to work a conventional job. I did not like that. I did not like the idea of having nothing ahead of me but time to do, what I felt, was very much nothing. I'm 42 now, and while I now know that my job before being published and writing was keeping on top of my health conditions and the numerous hospital stays and such they bring, I didn't back then.

At 42, I have almost 22 books published, about 48 finished drafts, 26 of them waiting to be published, and I pretty much only write as my job. That said, I did have to juggle writing while doing my degree, while co-parenting a child, and trying to find the time, the energy, and the ability to write while being chronically ill and disabled. So I don't come from a place of having never had to juggle things.

When Mx. K was a baby, they would go off to a friend's place for the night and I would only have that day in the week to write. So I was writing as much as I could, but of course my physical conditions, and the mental health issues, made that not sustainable or healthy. When Mx. K got older, I would go to the same friend's house once a week and do the same there that I did at home. Write as much as I could, and then plan to do it again next week. That was the way I got books written, and obviously, they're now an adult, but we still have parent things to do, and so they do have an impact on my time spent working.

So how do you juggle writing around an exceptionally busy life? If you've got a day job, and kids, or family, or anything else like that, then how do you find that time to write? If you, like me, are chronically ill and/or disabled, then how do you find the spoons and time to get your writing done for the day when you also have a lot of medical appointments to get to, and time to spend doing other needful things in your life. I'm not going to be able to wave a magic wand and give you all the answers you're looking for, but I can give you some tips of how I made it, somewhat, work for me, and still do make it, somewhat, work for me. Just remember that everyone is different and if these don't work for you, that's not you doing it wrong. It's just not the right way for you, and that's valid.


You don't have to write massive amounts for you to be valid as a writer. You don't have to write out huge chunks at a time for it to be worth it. Every book will take you as long as it takes, and that's okay. So even if you can only commit to fifteen minutes once a day or week, that's still something. It still counts, and it's still something that you can do to move that writing forward.

I see a lot of people talking about getting up an hour earlier, or going to be an hour later, whatever works for them, and it's true that you can do that if you're able, but it's also true that not everyone is capable of doing that and all they can find is five minutes, fifteen minutes in any given day to put to writing. And that is still valid. Carving out that time matters.

I know what it's like to have only a small amount of time to write, and then something happens and you feel like you need to give up that writing time to deal with the thing. Okay, that happens from time to time, but if it keeps happening you have a few options. One, if it's the same issue every time, then think about carving out a different time for your writing. Two, if it's people interrupting you for things that can wait, make it clear that this block of time is your writing time, and it is sacred. Emergencies are one thing, anything else is not.

It might seem rude to deny people access to you during that time, but it's really not. It's about you needing that time to work on something, and if they can't respect that, bar those emergencies, then you do have to get tough about it, as much as possible anyway.


I know that sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the idea that everyone has to write super fast and produce book after book in a very short space of time or else they're not valid or their work will never succeed. That's not true. I didn't start out as a fast writer. It used to take me literal years to finish a project, and even from there, even when I started writing two books at once, it was two years, at least, before I reached the end.

There is no race. There is no sprint going on where if you don't reach the finish line by a certain date you will not ever be published or publish. It really does take as long as it takes, and that's okay. Everyone writes at their own pace, and no one can or should be telling you otherwise.

So those are my three things to think about when writing around your life. Everyone has a different experience when it comes to life commitments and the like, and how you choose to do your writing is up to you. Take your time, and take care of yourself. The world needs your story.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments! 

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