I was thinking, this morning (it has be known to happen!), about the importance of my writing to me, and the still, as yet, undefined portion of my life I give to it.
Selfishly, I looked forward to September all summer and the less complicated period of time I have (in theory) between 9am and 2pm, Mondays to Thursdays. It is still unpredictable and disrupted but, in general, I should have a nice chunk of creative time on 4 school-day mornings.
Because of this feeling of freedom and relative safety from distraction on school days, most of my ideas happen just after the children have gone to school and college, and most of my best flow and speediest word tapping-out happens between 10am and 1pm on a weekday in term-time.
But in times of stress or a head filled with other responsibilities or when there’s a chance I may be disturbed, this creative time and flow is well and truly stoppered.
I felt an urge to write about this problem and the time-management skills needed to do something that – if it doesn’t involve payment or other people – surely must be viewed as entirely self-indulgent…?
When I hear the term ‘hobby writer’ it insults me and I hope that no one sees me that way. But, if I’m not making enough time for writing, not being paid for it, what else can I be?
Then, within the same few minutes as having these thoughts, I heard the sentence, ‘…he dabbled in the arts,’ on Radio 4.
‘Rachel dabbled in writing’? Yuck.
I absolutely do not want to be a dabbler-writer. I dabble in cookery. I dabble in photography on Blipfoto And I dabble in gardening.
How do I make sure I am not perceived as only dabbling in writing – a ‘superficial’ or ‘casual’ writer; one who merely paddles in the shallows?
How do I spend time concentrating on perfecting my art when I don’t have the status of publication or payment and be allowed to take myself seriously?
I can’t phone my children for a chat in school hours, and I don’t interrupt anyone else’s paid employment because that time is officially defined. And yet, what I want to do – what I think should be my work – is so tenuous in its status that it can be interrupted at any time by anyone and almost any thing.
All I can do, I have told myself this morning, is make up my mind to give myself control, give myself tasks, deadlines, allotted times, say ‘no’ to other things because I have work to finish (or even start!).
It’s difficult. Really difficult.
To get out of this mindset of appearing to merely dabble, I have to prove myself. To prove myself I have to do something that earns no money, pays no bills, washes no dishes and cooks no meals, answers no phones and is good for no one else but me until I have completed something. And when I have completed it, it still may be good for no one but me!
What a curse to have the writing bug and a need to be taken seriously; to feel I have bricks and grand plans and yet no guarantee that I will build anything worthwhile, and if I am right – or selfish – to take the time to construct something.