Pencil Tip #17: Ring fence your writing time

Aah, Wednesday mornings. Both of my kids are at nursery, so I have four whole hours in which to write.

I usually write in my attic bedroom, either on or in bed, with a frequently topped up cup of tea to keep me going. I’ve been longing to get to work this week; I went on a Character Mapping course on the weekend and my head is buzzing with fresh ideas for a novel that I’ve been planning for ages. Also this morning I’ve edited my next picture book for Puffin and put the finishing touches to the first draft of a new rhyming picture book about a girl and her parrot. Best of all, I still have an hour and a half left before I need to pick the kids up! (Sorry, kids, but just a little break every now and then is bliss.)

One of today's jobs - editing my next book

One of today’s jobs – editing my next book

Personally I only get two mornings a week to write, and it would be very easy to fill that time with other stuff that also needs doing and which would be easier to do without the kids around – the ironing, the shopping, coffee with a friend, phone calls, a haircut, school visits, etc., etc. But, unless I’m deliberately taking a rest from writing, I try my best to keep writing time sacred. I might not always fill my whole four hours with actual writing, but I always start it that way and see how much I manage to get done.

It’s hard to ring fence writing time, but it’s definitely worth doing. Most other stuff can wait, and I always feel better – calmer, more fulfilled, less anxious – for having written. Don’t be distracted. So excuse me while I switch my mobile off, unplug the telly, turn a blind eye to the overflowing laundry basket and become very, very antisocial.