Friday, 3 February 2012

Living Under a Rock

People often ask me how I manage to come up with ideas for this blog. I usually tell them that it's a case of necessity being the mother of invention – I have to post every Friday, therefore an idea will be found. It probably doesn't help that I try to tackle a different subject every week, but if I posted more often I'm sure I would have repeated myself many times over.

Recently, I've become aware of how dependent I am on general themes in the writing world for sparking ideas for blog posts. I've made quite a shift in my working patterns and behaviour since I started my new job, with the result that I've not had as much time for writing or keeping up with the children's fiction market. It was only when I made a conscious decision to stop checking my personal email and avoid social networks during working hours that I realised how much time I had previously been stealing to do it. This has had great benefits in terms of my concentration and focus, but I'm aware that I've dropped off the radar a bit. Someone actually emailed me the other day to ask if I was alright (I am, but thanks for asking).

It's only been a month, and I hope I can tune my schedule to give me more time to keep up with things. But in the meantime, I've often felt that the party was going on without me. I would have dearly loved the chance to weigh in on the "what is commercial fiction" debate the other week, but by the time I caught up with it, the moment was gone. Bekki Hill has been leading some brilliant debates on the SCBWI Yahoo Group over the last month, but again I haven't been able to participate. I kept glancing at the 100+ unread emails in that folder, groaning, and moving on.

The worst part is not being able to read other people's blog posts. Whereas I can jump onto Facebook and off again in a couple of minutes, reading blogs requires time to process the content. I do like to comment as well, which adds more time to the experience. Other blog posts will often spur me to address a certain topic or look at a subject in a different way. Another consideration is one of courtesy. There are people who read this blog faithfully every week (thank you), most of whom have their own blog. I feel I owe it to them to visit as often as I can, but recently that hasn't been very often at all. On a more selfish level, I'm sure more people would visit this blog if I gave them reciprocal feedback.

I said a month back that I was really looking forward to an extra hour in bed every day. But what I hadn't considered was how much I had been doing in that hour. It isn't so much that I miss my long train commute, as much as missing the time it afforded me. Clearly, new working patterns take time to gel, and I need to cut myself some slack about how much it's possible to achieve in any given day. The good news is that I'm happier than I've been in months – I just haven't had time to tell you about it.



  1. I give it three months before your back reading stuff at work...

  2. Very glad to read you're happier, Nick. Please don't slide entirely into the outer darkness.

  3. Its seasonal that's all - this is a busy season for you - but it'll soon settle down and you will find a routine and then you will be back with a much renewed enthusiasm - I have no doubt

  4. I admire your willpower in staying off FB etc. I've not quite managed that yet even though I know how much time it drains away. But, having said that, I'm glad things are going well. Perhaps it was just what you needed. Just don't stay away too long!

  5. Happiness rocks. Good to hear this. And keep up the keeping off. It's good for you (and us) really.

  6. Yeay! Glad you're alright and happy. Keep up the blogging though, it's always a great start to the weekend.