Friday, 24 January 2014


I’m writing this in a local bar. I’ve just spent an hour working through some notes over a coffee and would you believe it, Real Madrid are about to play and they are showing it on the big screen. I mean, what am I meant to do, go back home and work on some more notes? Well, yes, probably that is exactly what I should do, but I’m not going to, I’m going to stay here, use the time to write this blog and watch the match. Ahem…the perfect moment for writing about routine…

Everybody I have spoken to that has an interest in writing has made the comment that they too would love to have a year off to write, or perhaps be in a position to write full time without the day job. I am not a professional writer so this year away for me is not strictly speaking a change in that fullest sense, I am not now a writer because I am writing, if that makes sense, and if it doesn’t, it sort of proves the point. This is a year of change, of re-assessment and of taking opportunities. However, let’s put ourselves in the position that we are in fact making a living from what we have chosen to do, it could be writing in my case, or it could be music, art and so on, whatever it is you have dreamt about being, let’s say you have this year to ‘be it’.
            I have talked before about finding the time to enjoy your passions outside of the 9-5 working hours (or no doubt more) especially if you have other commitments too, but overnight that has changed, you no longer have the train to catch, you have no meetings to prepare for, there is no boss to report to…you are now the boss!

How do you go about your day if there is no traditional timeframe to fit around? It’s the position I am now in, having no deadlines for this or that task, no rush-hour to get through, no set lunch hour…you get the idea. The main point is that there is no external pressure. Everything that needs to be done has to be driven by me, and me alone. If I don’t get up in the morning, no one is going to wonder where I am. If I don’t get a set amount of words down, or read a certain amount, or edit a certain amount, it doesn’t matter one jot to anybody other than me. Do I therefore create a day plan? How much time do I allocate to certain activities? How do I know if I have done a good job? How do I be strict with myself?

Is it easy do you think to manage yourself?

I’m going to leave this with you for a bit. Have a think. When was the last time you had no responsibilities? When was the last time you had all the time in the world to focus on what you wanted to do? If that has ever happened, did you make the most of it? What was it like being your own boss? Did you tell yourself off if you didn’t work when you said you would? Did you feel disappointed in yourself? Did you overwork perhaps and make yourself ill thinking about how precious this opportunity was? How did you mark your progress against whatever targets you had set yourself (or did you even set targets)? Was it such a fantastic time that you swore to yourself you would never work for anyone else ever again?

After all that, you will remember I blogged about ‘enjoying the moment’ recently so please don’t think I am contradicting myself, it’s all about finding a balance as they say. I mean, what is the point of going away if you don’t go to the beach, if you don’t walk, if you don’t swim, if you don’t make (or allow) the time to enjoy your surroundings? There is a reason you want more time to be by yourself, or with your partner, or your children, or your gardening, or your running, or your whatever…don’t forget that.

So one day it’s football and the next day…’insert any reason you like here’. It will happen, no matter how good your intentions are, something will always come up to change your plans, some good, some bad, it’s all about getting the work done but perhaps not being so 9-5 about it. For instance, here are some road-side snaps from when I said I was spending the afternoon writing but instead met my uncle to go to Palma.

Let’s catch up about this in a few months; it’s only been a couple of weeks so far after all, let’s see what happens when the novelty and ‘newness’ has worn off and see how the real business of getting some writing done is progressing…or not…


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