I have to say that I am becoming increasingly cynical about writers who give advice on how to write all the time, regardless of circumstances. I am happy with advice like, "Always carry a notebook so you can jot down ideas while waiting at the supermarket checkout", or "Get up an hour before the rest of the family so you can write in peace", but sometimes life just, well, takes over.
Take my situation, for example. I'm generally regarded as being quite prolific, but even I haven't managed to write anything for over two weeks.
Around two and a half weeks ago I had a great idea for an article. But work deadlines meant that I really had to focus on getting the paying stuff done before doing anything else. So I fixed a date (a week last Wednesday) for writing the article I had in mind, as I figured I'd have completed my work by then.
But it was not to be:
Tuesday: discovered I had a tooth abscess. Phoned dentist, who gave me a five minute appointment that afternoon. I went along and made a full appointment for Thursday.
Wednesday morning: looking at the heap of paper on my desk and on every available surface, I couldn't stand it any more, and couldn't think because of it either. So I spent a few hours clearing it away.
Then I received a call from the dentist: they'd had a cancellation so would I like to come in that afternoon? The answer was yes.
Thursday: having had a tooth extracted by now, I wasn't feeling particularly inspired to write anything, so I did other work and domestic stuff instead.
Friday: I got up really early to plough through several things before taking a short break. Just as I was about to start on the creative stuff, ie writing, I received two phone calls, both of which necessitated time and effort to deal with. Result: no writing.
Are my experiences atypical? I doubt it somehow. Admittedly, having a tooth extracted is not an everyday event, but things are always cropping up which hadn't been planned for. What would be useful would be advice on how to write when unplanned events prevent you from actually doing so.
You can see from my ramblings above that I don't have a complete answer to this predicament myself, but I do have a partial one, which consists of the following suggestions which I find work for me:
* Always carry an notebook and pen around so you can jot down ideas while waiting at the supermarket checkout. Yes, it does work!
* If you have a smartphone, use that to jot ideas down and email them to yourself, or save them in Evernote.
* Always carry a camera, or a smartphone, so you can take photos of interesting or unusual things, or ones that will act as an aid memoire when you really do have time for writing.
* Always carry around a book about writing, or a Kindle, Nook or other ebook reader or app with a book about writing on it. I have always taken the view that a writer is someone who writes, but if you really cannot write, reading about writing is the next best thing.
* If you are driving, it is not advisable to read at the same time. So how about listening to a podcast about writing instead?
Now that all that is off my chest, and I have explained to you why this website hasn't been updated for so long, I can start to think about the article I'd intended to write over two weeks ago: How to be a prolific writer.
On second thoughts, perhaps I'll shelve that until I can write it without an overwhelming sense of irony!