If you’d asked me five years ago if I had time to write a blog, I would have told you I didn’t have time. In fact, two of my work colleagues suggested I start blogging and I said exactly that. The idea was great in theory, and it did appeal to me, but just when were they imagining I’d do that? With a full-time job and a toddler (just the one, back then) the idea that I had any spare time at all was just laughable.
When I wasn’t at work I was looking after Sam, and when he was in bed I was just too tired to do much else apart from flop on the sofa and watch tv. Add in the fact that I did actually quite like spending any spare time I had with my family or friends, and I thought it was ludicrous that anyone would suggest I had the time to blog.
The reality of it was, I had so much more time then than I do now. I had just the one child, a husband, and a job which involved shift work, so I regularly had time on my own in the morning or afternoon. Our son, Sam, was in nursery and we had childcare covered five days a week.
Back then, my husband Roger was fit and healthy, and did more than his fair share of the domestic duties. He loved cooking and usually sorted out meals for the week, and shopped for the ingredients and cooked them! Something I took for granted then but now I have to do it all myself, I would do anything to have him here looking after me like that.
Compare that to my life now, and I’m a widowed parent bringing up two children on my own. I’m back at work, albeit part-time but on the other days I’m looking after our two-year-old Florence, and Sam of course when he’s not at school.
On non-work days I also need to catch up on things like housework, tidying up, food shopping, cooking, and trying to see friends as it’s hard to see them in the evenings.
Do I have any spare time? Well the answer is no, but I do write this blog. Somehow, in my hectic week, I manage to carve out enough time to write two, maybe three posts, take and edit the photographs to go with them, read and comment on other blogs, and chat online to what I call my second set of work mates, my blogging friends.
The majority of my posts are written over several days. I might start one on the train to work at 7.30, work on it again on the way home, and finish it in two more micro-sessions as Flo plays on my days off. I try to write at night, but I find tiredness gets in the way of creativity!
It’s all about snatching time here and there, writing when I have chance, no matter if that’s for ten minutes or an hour, it’s getting those thoughts down on paper and doing something just for me. Often inspiration comes when I have no time to sit and write, so I jot it down on my phone or in a notebook, and mull it over until I get chance to sit down and work.
It’s a question I am often asking other bloggers – all the ones I know are parents, mostly mums, some work, some don’t, some have one child, some more. All of them have partners. But we are all short on time for ourselves.
I spent the day at the Mumsnet blogging conference Blogfest yesterday, and the subject of time was raised by a panel discussing motherhood and creativity. On the panel were the marvellous Margaret Atwood, via video link from Canada, journalist Bryony Gordon, writer Meera Syal, comedian Bridget Christie, columnist and writer Polly Vernon and blogger Catherine Mann.
When a member of the audience asked the question of how they found time to write, their answers really made me think yeah, it’s not just me, who wants to write this little blog for fun, who struggles to make time, these super women do too!
Some of the points made included:
Be creative when you can be or you never will be.
You need to be creative to fit your hours, if it can’t be the other way round.
If you find you have a spare hour, just sit and write, otherwise you will never get it done.
Remember it’s just not possible to do everything brilliantly at the same time, but maybe if you choose your goals wisely and prioritise, you might just be able to have it all.
So as I took these points away as food for thought, I started to write this post at 4.30 this morning when I woke and found it hard to get back to sleep. I took the photos on my phone at about 11am while there was still enough light (after realising the bump to my Nikon camera has put it out of action).
Then I edited them while Flo and Sam were watching a bit of TV this morning. I’ve finally just managed to do a write-through and finish off while my parents, who are still here after kindly coming to babysit while I went to Blogfest, entertain the kids.
So there you have it – how to find time to blog. Now what are you waiting for?