The little things that keep you writing

There’s no doubt that a writer’s life is full of sacrifice. Very few people are lucky enough to make writing their full-time job; it’s often something you have to make time for, sandwiched between family obligations and whatever pays the bills.

Everything else seems to fall by the wayside.

These are not mine. ©Shauqee Pauzi/

This weekend, as I was cleaning my flat for the first time in *mumble mumble* weeks and discovering potential health hazards, I was thinking about the tiny stitches in time I’ve found which allow me time to write. My sewing machine was covered in a thick layer of dust, reminding me of the five pairs of trousers I keep wearing despite the holes I’ve worn through them.

It’s added ventilation, right?

Of course, considering where those holes are located, I’m nervous every time I bend over or sit down.

I also did a few loads of laundry, but instead of neatly folding my underwear, I threw them all into a drawer. Hey – it’s not like they’ll wrinkle. Why should I spend ten minutes folding them? This could save me a whole 40 minutes a month.

Just like those little sacrifices, there are crazy little thoughts that keep me writing when I’m struggling.

1. I don’t want my characters to die.

When I was little, I had imaginary friends. By seven or eight, I knew they didn’t exist, but I felt so guilty giving them up. I knew they only existed in my head, and once I stopped thinking about them I’d be extinguishing what little life they had.

My characters are the same. They can have a life, as long as I write their story and share it. I feel an obligation to give them that chance. They seem to know this as well as I do, because they keep jabbering away and insisting I write about them. (Please don’t call in the men in white coats.)

2. The camaraderie is addictive.

I’ve written before about the camaraderie of novel writing. It’s an incredible thing, and it seems particularly strong in the romance genre. The writers I’ve met online are among the most supportive people I’ve met, and that’s saying a hell of a lot considering I work for a charity.

3. I want to hire a cleaner.

I’m pretty realistic in my dreams. As much as I would love to be Nora or SEP, I’d be thrilled to make enough money from my writing to be able to hire someone to clean my flat for me. It’s a tiny flat. Wouldn’t take much.

Maybe then I can have nicely folded underwear again.

What small sacrifices do you make so you have time to write? What little thoughts keep you writing and make the sacrifices worthwhile?

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