Are you lucky if you get a corner of the kitchen table to write on? Do you have to squeeze your writing in between all the things you have to do to look after everyone else and pay the bills?
You’re not alone!
Whole books can be written on kitchen tables between shifts and child care, but let’s face it – not very many.
Women writers deserve time and space to write. It can be difficult to achieve when working and with a young family to care for, but it can be done!
When I first started writing in earnest back in 2002, I wrote sitting at a corner of the kitchen table. But that was pretty messy. Then I found a spot in the hallway, right at the end, where I could squeeze in a tiny desk and a chair and my computer. It felt like a huge achievement and a wonderful space of my own.
I worked part time and had two children under five, but on the days I wasn’t at work and the kids were down for their naps, I wrote like a fury! I was crazy with stories back then shouting at me to be told. I couldn’t wait to get to my desk and madly type all the stories and plot turns that I’d been thinking about the whole day.
Often at night as I read the children their bedtime story, I’d find myself reciting the stories in my head rather than the book we were reading. Let’s just say the words didn’t match the pictures!
I’m sure I looked just like that 😀
For the last several years though, I’ve taken up a whole lot of space in the lounge room. I put a couple of desks in one corner to create my own L shaped desk, created semi-walls around me with bookshelves, and a friend found an Indian screen that closed off the other side. I may not have a door I can close, but when I’m in my little writing nook it feels private and, most importantly, it’s a safe space where I can write and create.
These days, it’s where I spend most of my time. I’ve worked hard so that the work I now do is all related to the writing I love. My children are both young adults and can take care of themselves. Writing time is mine to claim.
But it isn’t just the physical space for writing that you need, it’s the time!
How do you find space in your busy life for your writing?
My friend Helena, likes to set her alarm and wake up at 4, sit up in bed with her coffee and write for a few hours before her children wake up and the day begins. She’s made of tough stuff.
Night owls stay awake after the children have fallen asleep and write into the wee hours.
Other writers I know give themselves one day a week where the children go to Grandma. That day they sit and write like bullet trains.
It helps if you can train yourself to ignore the housework. A messy house is the sign of a creative person!
Though I do find washing a good way to make sure I leave the computer and have a stretch before immersing myself in work again.
What I learnt from my training as a new writer with small children, is that you can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. The pressure of a very limited time frame forces you to pump out the words as fast as you can without being overly fussy about whether they’re the right ones. That can always be fixed later.
Where in your day can you find an hour, or even half an hour? Ten minutes?
Any amount of time you spend doing what you love, what your heart desires is time well spent. And all those little bits add up.
That year I first started writing during my kid’s hour-long nap time, I finished the draft of a 100 000 word novel.
Great things can be achieved in small bursts. People who’ve attended my writing workshops know just how much you can write in as little as five minutes.
It can be done!
Claim yourself a corner that is yours, just yours. For writing.
Then figure out how you can steal an hour, half an hour or even a few minutes from your day to spend doing your writing. Get up half and hour earlier. Don’t watch the news, write instead. Write during your lunch hour. During nap time. Before bedtime. After.
Anytime you can find for yourself is perfect.
How do you create space for your writing? Have you made yourself a special corner to write in? How do you find time to write in your busy days?
Share your ideas in the comments. All hints and tips are very welcome!
Good luck finding space for your writing this week!
Lots of love,