What is a writer anyway?

I have always written. As a child I wrote fairy stories,. As a teenager I kept a diary and wrote short romances featuring boys I liked . As a student I studied law and then became a lawyer so in my adult life I have never stopped writing – first essays then drafting contracts, board minutes and action lists and even a couple of legal articles on behalf of my previous employer. Writing for fun however took a back seat until my first maternity leave.

I had always wanted to write a novel. So once my son was old enough to be settled into relatively predictable naptimes I made a start. The idea had been floating around for months. I had even discussed it seriously with my husband well before we had children. I have no idea whether anyone would want to read it and indeed it is very much a partial first draft at the moment.

Last year I made a fatal mistake (if you have read Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande) and stopped writing for a time – I was sick and exhausted during my second pregnancy. But on this second maternity leave I have returned to the novel and am determined to get my first draft finished by the time I have to go back to work.

Having said that I am still struggling to write and although I have managed about 1000 words this week (somewhat off my target of 1000 words a day) I have allowed myself to get distracted by this blog and the tennis club AGM documents and Facebook among other things. What I have learned so far about being a writer is that writing is hard and, for me anyway, Ms Brande and other writers on writing are spot on when they say that if you wait for inspiration you won’t write much and if you expect it to be perfect straightaway you may be disappointed or spend all your time re-writing instead of finishing what you have started and that you should try to avoid distraction – whether that be the social media kind or the housework type variety in my case.

So my task for this week is to take advantage of those times when my children are both sleeping and get closer to my 1000 words a day target.

What about you? Do you struggle to find time to write? Do you get distracted? How do you write and what are your routines? I am really interested to know.

I haven’t answered my original question as by the very act of writing, I am a writer. So are you. To continue to be a writer we just have to continue to write.

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2 thoughts on “What is a writer anyway?

  1. I enjoyed this, Sophie. Which is why I gave you a follow. I can relate to most everything said. To answer at least one of your questions, it is quite easy to get distracted from any job. I have a full-time (not writing related) job that I work from my home office. To really apply myself, I find that I need to shut down the email and internet. I remind myself that these things will still be there when I finish my work. If I can’t resist, then I actually remove my personal laptop from the office. As far as my writing goes, it is very hard to make enough time to sit down and focus only on that. There is only so much time available and I have to prioritize. And then there are the interruptions that aren’t in my control… That’s life. That being said, I’m sure my writing would improve much more quickly if I were to set aside one mandatory writing hour each day, or something of that nature.

  2. I agree Drew. Have you read Ron Carlson Writes a Story? Totally reinforces what you have just said. For me prioritising is the issue. I had a full time job which I will be going back to at the end of the year which really limited my time but now I am at home all day and hope to have more time but obviously looking after the children is a full time job too!

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