When does a writer write?

I love this time of year. Like spring, late summer is a time of year when we can feel the season shifting. We see it in the colours changing in the garden and hedgerows, we feel it in the cool evenings and we scent it in the damp morning air. Life has a ‘back to school’ feel to it, which is not a bad thing if brings with it a sense of purpose for the months ahead.

This autumn my schedule is packed. I am running local writing sessions and an evening course, and I am co-hosting an exciting new retreat for writers in West Cornwall. I am providing training in writing for wellbeing for counsellors and medical students and in November I shall be returning to Bristol to facilitate the Level 1 writing for wellbeing course with the Orchard Foundation; all pleasures to look forward to.

All this illustrates the many and various ways in which a writer makes her living. The question is, when does a writer write? I have a host of ideas for articles, journal pieces, another e-book or two, to say nothing of the novel which comes on and off the back burner as the months go by. When in the week do I find the space to make progress on any of this, either to get it commissioned or write it for pure interest and joy?

The answer comes in an image. When I lay all this out in front of me it makes a pavement on which I am continually walking forward, sometimes taking a step back and occasionally hopping sideways, like a game of hopscotch. In between the cracks in the pavement I find my own space in which to make progress with my new projects. As I hop and skip about I hope that others will not land on the same space.

This is how life is for many of us; not an unending string of days spent doing what we love most – writing – but a patchwork of days in which we teach, manage, train, plan and write for others in the hope that it will earn us those spaces between the paving stones. I wouldn’t do any of it if I didn’t feel in my element and love seeing others progress in their writing ambitions with support from me and others like me; but the cracks in the pavement are the prize.

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