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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Routine and Productivity by Val Innes

With the school holidays well and truly underway and my mind still relatively intact my mum offered to run the legs off my kids to give me a break. I stuffed some pencils and a notepad in my bag before I ran for hills in case she changed her mind. I ducked into the nearest coffee shop and started to write… of sorts. I made a list. Do you class list-making as “writing”? The list I made was of how much writing progress I had made since last summer. I compared it to the year before (summer 2010-11 for those writers who don’t “do” figures) and what quickly transpired was the ebb and flow of my “creative” periods. In particular, how each year mirrored the last. A natural writing timetable, if you will. However, what my 12 month (and 24) review showed me was that I had, indeed, made headway. Not enough, of course. I wonder - can we ever be satisfied about how much we write? You plug away to get published – in my case features and articles – and when it happens you are exhilarated. But then you just have start scaling the heights again for your next piece. But forging relationships with editors and building a contacts list really has taken shape over the past twelve months. Why, my clippings file is too thick to balance my red wine glass on now! Nb. I generally write once the kids are in bed. What I find most beneficial is understanding how my “writing” clock works and the realisation that the summer holidays are never my most creative. However, it seems that a summer of not actually writing much allows ideas to form because I consistently see a rise in features sold each Jan until May. That tells me that I cocoon and nurture my ideas and then research and sell through the dark, months of winter; moulding and preening them until they are ready to hatch with the coming of the New Year. My writing mirrors a Phoenix by slowly burning and disintegrating during the hot (excuse my wishful thinking) summer months only to rise again from the ashes of the previous year in full colour and bursting with life. Fantastic. I can now relax in the garden with no guilt about lack of writing. But with our weather? Perhaps not!

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