When I’m not writing – I always feel I should be! For a long time, I devoted hours and hours to writing – every spare moment. Occasionally I still do, but I’m always trying to find a balance.
One of the main problems in finding spare time is that the job of being a writer in today’s world doesn’t just involve sitting at a desk all day writing a story (would that it did...). Writers have had to learn to wear several different hats and learn it very quickly. They need to promote and publicise their work, organise events such as book-signings and school visits, attending conferences, book fairs and festivals. Publishers usually require them to maintain a public presence on social media.
But I do try and squeeze a life in too! I have a son who is tennis mad and it’s my job to chauffeur him around to matches and lessons and other after-school activities. I play tennis for a team and make time for my own matches too. We’re lucky in that where we live we have woods with a brook backing onto us, and right next to the woods there is a great little tennis club. It’s less than a minute away, so right there is the temptation to go down on a sunny afternoon for a hit.
I enjoy gardening and a couple of years ago I took on an allotment. It’s right next to the tennis courts, so less than a minute away. It doesn’t take up too much time during the winter months, apart from a big dig and laying down manure, but come March through to late September, its pull is great!
I try to get to the gym most days – it’s on my way home from the school run, so I fit it in then – if I leave it until later in the day writing takes over and the gym never happens. It sets me up for a day spent sitting in front of a screen.
I love reading and watching films, and need a daily dose of either one, which does make me stay up later at night than I should.
But somehow, apart from the last few months, when my house has been overrun by builders, the writing does get done. The other hats I should also be wearing have got a little crumpled and forgotten, although I do vaguely remember how Twitter works! The build is in its last week, and after eight long months, my builders will be moving on to another project. Time I moved into my new garden room and did the same. So less of the ‘when I’m not writing...’ and more of the ‘when I’m writing I’ve got no time for anything else’. Well, at least for a while...
By the way, I’m overjoyed that Malorie Blackman is the next Children’s Laureate! Congratulations Malorie!