Keeping my head above water: writing when life is crazy

Posted on November 15, 2016

KEEPING MY HEAD ABOVE WATER: WRITING WHEN LIFE IS BUSYI have been watching the approach of November for months now with some trepidation. It’s always the craziest month of the year, as a parent, as a writer, as a partner, as a person.

I was right to be wary.

Now that we’re halfway through, I can confirm that I am keeping my head above water, but I’m getting a lot of those random splashes of salty water over my head.

NaNoWriMo is going about as well as I expected.

I’m at around 18,000 words, which is behind the official graph – but ahead as far as my ‘any word you have by November 30 is a win’ approach is concerned.

The next few weeks will bring two rounds of edits – a structural ‘tweak’ for the first book in my new series, which is due tomorrow (gulp) and the copy edit of book #4 of The Mapmaker Chronicles by the end of the month.

So far, so okay.

In the interim, I am writing a feature, putting together a package of usefulness for my screenwriting project, and preparing for my Make Time To Write course to launch at the end of this month (promise, it’s finally coming). My last author talk for the year takes place in a week or so, my last workshop for the year went off with a bang last weekend.

The kids are churning through end-of-year assessments, playing sport, performing at various things, and getting more and more tired, as they always do as the year winds down.

But we try to find time to snatch time when we can. Last night we went out to the beach to see the super moon. There wasn’t much moon, it has to be said, due to cloud cover, but that quick blast of salty sea air was enough to clear my head and return me to my night-time writing shift in a much better frame of mind.

The only way to write – in fact, to do anything – when life is crazy is to find those moments. Those head-clearing, mind-blasting moments that refresh and rejuvenate.

I always resist them, thinking I’m too busy. But I’m always so glad when I take them.

So,walk the dog. Weed the garden. Have a swim. Breathe the air.

Then set your shoulders and dive back in.

Hope you’re also keeping your head above water!


  1. Angela Noel

    I’m new to taking my writing seriously. I read your post wide-eyed. I have a ways to go before all my efforts are writing-focused. Your days sound amazing and exhausting and wonderful in a way I hope to experience in a year or two (or someday). Right now I have a completed manuscript, 60k on the second and a six-month old blog, a full-time job and a dream. Thank you for sharing!

    • Allison Tait

      Fantastic work Angela! Good luck with it all!

      • Angela Noel

        Thanks Allison!

  2. Bec Bowyer

    Wow, you are seriously, incredible, insanely busy! I’m looking forward to reading Mapmaker #4. The first three are all lined up on my bookshelf waiting for my boys to grow up a little. Mr 6 is up to chapter books that have fewer pictures, so we’re getting there!

    • Allison Tait

      Love hearing that Bec – thanks!

  3. Hayley Glasson

    I am also keeping my head above water for November and being my first Nano-Wri-Mo as well. I am happy to say as much as my working life can take over, I have over the past week made sure I am writing every day, even when I am tired and really just want to sleep, even if its only a few hundred words, its better than 0.

    Just want to also say I love listening to you and Valerie on “So you want to be a writer.” It has helped keep me inspired to write my very first novel and stay accountable to myself and my dream and goals.

    Kind Regards
    Hayley Glasson

    • Allison Tait

      Well done Hayley – and I’m so pleased that SYWTBAW is helping you to achieve that dream!

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