I've been thinking a lot about my writing recently. You'll note I said thinking about it and not actually doing it. Although I am writing, I'm not writing to pitch or try and earn money from it - well not in a direct sense. I am doing a lot of 'essay' writing for the teaching assistant course I'm doing, but no article or stories. But it's still writing isn't it? I still have to construct proper sentences, think about the words I use and the point I want to make in a concise and meaningful way. I'm varying sentence length, trying to make what I'm writing interesting to the reader (my assessor) who, for all intents and purposes is acting as an editor. If I don't make myself clear or include all the relevant points, or I start waffling, I won't pass the course. So although I'm not writing my articles or short stories I am still practising my writing skills, keeping my hand in so to speak.
My plan is to do as much of my course work as I can during the week and leave the weekends free to indulge myself in writing articles and short stories. The course finishes in January 2011 but I know I can get the course work out of the way much sooner than that. I have had such great support from the two teachers whose classes I go in and that has made all the difference. I've also been using my writing skills in the classroom, helping the kids to improve their writing/reading and it's been such good fun.
I am frustrated that I'm that I'm not doing as much writing as I was and I'm still disappointed that I was unable to make a living purely out of writing and had to go back to some paid work other than writing. But I can live with that at the moment. I love going into the classrooms and it's given me fodder for things to write - we writers must always be alert to new writing opportunities! I don't think I'm the kind of person who can survive without going out to work albeit part time. I think I liked the idea and the flexibility of working purely from home as a writer but I missed the social side of interacting with other people and I certainly missed the money! There's a fine balance between having enough money and doing the kind of work you really want to do. I think I have the best of both worlds at the moment, even if I, temporarily, have to write more essays/coursework than my beloved articles/short stories.
Writing is about choices: we, to a certain extent, choose what we are going to write - or what an editor wants us to write. We choose how much time we devote to our writing - sometimes we have more time and sometimes we have less. But we have to decide what we are going to write and when and how much time we can give to it. Sometimes life gets in the way and we just have to go with that and write when we can. It's no use to man nor beast if we think, 'I've got too much on this week so there's no point in me even trying to write as I haven't got the time to do it justice.' You have to make your choices and get on with it.
In the words of a famous sports brand - Just Do It! Oh and another motto, this time from a leading supermarket, I've found helpful is, 'every little helps!'
Happy writing what ever form it takes and for how ever much time you have to do it in,