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Time waits for no Muse

Posted on May 3, 2010

 

Just a short post today because I’m supposed to be writing something else. I’ve been dwelling a lot on the concept of time lately. Mostly because I never seem to have enough of it. Today, especially, because having a birthday tends to amplify the tick-tick-tick of the clock running down.

As a work-at-home-mum, I fit a fair amount into each day. Fulltime mum, part-time job, some-of-the-time domestic goddess, all-of-the-time partner. What I learned early in the piece was the importance of prioritising what was important and letting go of everything else. Only I’ve never been real good at letting go of anything except the housework. That, I sent out to sea on a raft a long time ago. Everything else, I try to fit in.

When I started blogging, I didn’t stop to consider where I was going to put it in the schedule. I just figured I’d do like I always did and fit it in. I joke about procrastination, but the truth is that I’ve always been very serious about deadlines. If you want to make a living as a freelancer, you have to be. So when the baby/toddler/preschooler went to sleep, I sat down to write.

There was no waiting for the Muse. The Muse, I find, is often held up in traffic so it’s excellent policy to begin without her. If she’s good, she’ll just pick it up as she goes along.

That’s how the paid work got done. Also how I fitted in the writing of the fiction. The proposals and pitches for new work. The volunteer bits for the school. You know.

Then I started blogging. And it’s a lot of fun. So when I sit down, my head doesn’t immediately go to ‘GO’. It goes to blog. Which means everything else is, well, waiting for the Muse.

Which is why I’m writing this, instead of the other thing I’m supposed to write.

I’m not complaining. Just putting together some notes for when I begin to lobby seriously for the 25th hour in the day.

Anyone with me?

[edit]

I wrote this post in 2010. Since then, I’ve written six novels for children, along with thousands of works for features articles, blogs posts and more, as well as managing a day job that takes in speaking, social media work and even a podcast. 

In 2017, I distilled everything I knew about making time to write – including a few more tips on handling that capricious Muse – into a course for the Australian Writers’ Centre called Make Time To Write. You can read all about the course and how it might help you here.

Or you could try my 30-Day Creative Writing Bootcamp – it guarantees that you’ll write 10,000+ words in 30 days if you follow the daily instructions. 

In the meantime, here are some other posts to try:

How to get the words written: top 10 tips for writers

Six reasons to start writing your novel now

An inconvenient truth about mothers and writing

11 Comments

  1. Ivan M

    I started blogging but all the comments I got were from people offering genital enlarging procedures. After about 10 you start to get paranoid.

    I want to start again though. Blogging helps let the insanity out and the calm in.

  2. Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig

    You know, the proverbial “they” say that everyone is given the same 24 hours. But I honestly think I’ve been short changed a few hours or so. It just goes, goes, goes!

  3. Cate Bolt

    Hmm… time… *sigh*

  4. Maxabella

    My Muse has been on the number 87 bus to Nowheresville (up the back row, alseep) since about 1994… bound to be on the return bus any day now.

  5. PinkPatentMaryJanes

    I remember waiting for the muse – then frantically working in the hours before deadline, still waiting for the ideal words to flow. Now, I’m like you – I just do it.

    I count blogging in a separate box to everything else I need to do. Because I work from home I can become really isolated, so blogging’s the perfect way to have the leisurely conversations I’d normally share over a lunch break – but in a compressed 150 words, and less with the comments. I also find it quite motivating – particularly when I post a to-do list.

    Oh, and if you find that extra hour let me know…

  6. Anj (@anjwrites)

    I’d LOVE a 25th (or 26th or 27th) hour in the day…seriously. I’m trying too, so you’re not alone. Though I have to say I might have to call out a Missing Person’s on my own Muse. Perhaps I should check if she left her passport…if it’s gone, I’ll just have to get on without her! Damn fickle chick 😉

  7. Kylie L

    Thankfully I enjoy the fiction FAR more than blogging. I like deadlines that come around every 18 months, not once a week or even daily. Horror! And I agree with you about the Muse. Have given up waiting for her. The only way to make her come to the party is to park my backside in a chair and write. I think she’s shy.
    PS. Mia Freedman’s blog today is on the tyranny of blogging, funnily enough.

  8. Stacia

    I tell myself (maybe it’s my delusional inner muse) that when I’m blogging, the other stuff, the projects I really need to be working on, are percolating in the back of my brain. So that when I do finally get to them? They just spew forth onto the screen. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not, but that’s my story (excuse?), and I’m filing it (with a few minutes to spare).

  9. Seraphim

    I so understand this. I find blogging so much easier and more fun than all the other things I am supposed to be doing to earn a living…think I’ll have to forego my muse and just work without them for a while.

  10. A-M

    Totally with you. I draw the line at Twitter though… for me…blogging has all consumed me but it has also launched a career building houses… so I don’t guilt over the time… it’s ‘research’. I am up with the sparrows to fit it all in… blog, then coffee, then children. The Muse, I find is always on my shoulder….whispering in my ear… it’s like I have come home. A-M xx

  11. deer baby

    So with you. So with you I’m practically sat on your lap. I love blogging. I find I don’t really need ‘The Muse’ to be engaged.I love the people you ‘meet.’ But lately I’m finding twitter all too consuming. I have started switching it off. It’s like a siren song.

    It concentrates the mind doesn’t it having a set time before a) they wake up, b) the school run c)ironing engulfs you. I love what you said about ‘the muse’ being held up in traffic.

    Like you, I have never ever missed a deadline. I take them seriously. But something’s got to give. My two year old seems to have given up napping and I want to be with her. And at night is the only time I can work on my novel as well as let my husband think he hasn’t lost me to the internet.

    So I don’t know where that leaves me, really. I know I can’t complain about ‘the pram in the hall.’ I know other people write novels with children around. It’s twitter I blame.

    I think you’ve got the balance about right? You’re managing to fit it all in. If you find that extra hour, let me know.

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