Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Nikki Moore: I wish I had time to write a book...!

 Welcome to Nikki who has found time in her very busy schedule to write for us. Whatever you do don’t tell her you have no time to write…

Over the years I’ve heard that many times. Should I admit that it both sets my teeth on edge and fills me with amusement? Probably not! But here’s the thing – writers have the same twenty-four hours in a day as everyone else. We don’t have a magic wand that makes time stand still at midnight (oh, how I wish I did). Many writers have day jobs, bills to pay, friends to see, children to raise, family to care for, housework to do, gardens to tend and everyday stresses to deal with.
The demands of being a published author are numerous. It’s not just the bum on seat, fingers on keyboard time hammering out a first draft. There is also research and (sometimes substantial) rewrites before the manuscript gets anywhere near your agent/editor/beta reader. Then there are the edits and the promotion that’s required of an author nowadays. You can spend hours on the radio, TV or social media trying to drive sales and get your name, brand and title of your newest release in front of readers, bloggers and reviewers. There might also be social events to attend for networking purposes, sometimes at your publisher’s request, and their needs have to be taken into account so that you meet their deadlines to hit the right market at the right time. There is all this and more, so when people say to me, ‘I wish I had time to write a book,’ what I tell them is this I can’t imagine not writing, it’s something I have to do. I’m lucky to be an author and I love it. I’m grateful for every review and all the support I’ve had in my writing career so far. But I don’t have time to write books. I make time. I make writing a priority, sometimes lower down the list than I’d like, but a priority nonetheless. Time that I could otherwise spend watching TV, reading, scrubbing behind the toilet or ironing (I buy crease-free clothes and let them hang!) is spent on writing instead.

I work full days in Human Resources over a nine day fortnight, meaning I get two Fridays off a month as dedicated writing time. I’m a single mum with two kids, one of them a teenager. They see their dad regularly but are with me day to day. Sometimes I write between 6.00 – 7.00 a.m. before the school run, but usually it’s after my youngest has gone to bed from 9.00 p.m. until I fall asleep over the laptop. I do this at least three times a week but it can be closer to five or six evenings and weekends too if I’m up against a deadline. Sometimes I fling food at the kids and tell them I’m neglecting them for a few hours, before closeting myself away. Mostly they accept this with good grace, as does my lovely boyfriend, who is more patient than I deserve. My friends and family also accept falling by the wayside if I have a deadline. Equally, housework drops from my usual gold standard to bronze level. It’s a delicate act to keep all the plates spinning but if I keep moving, I’m usually okay!
I asked other RNA members how they find time to write and to share tips.

Jules Wake, whose last release is From Italy with Love (HarperImpulse) works four days a week, volunteers at a local theatre, has an active social life and two teenagers. She suggests setting realistic goals and sticking to them. ‘Usually when writing a first draft, I aim to write 1,000 a day for five days out of seven. That's realistic because it gives me two days not to get any writing done.’ She’s written a book a year for the last five years and wrote an 87,000 word novel in seven weeks this year!
Bestselling author Katherine Garbera’s latest release is Carrying A King’s Child (Harlequin Desire/Mills&Boon Desire). She usually writes Monday through Friday from 9.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m. around the school run, managing a chapter of around 3000 words every day by being disciplined about her writing time and not spending too long on social media. ‘I also use the timer to jumpstart my writing on the days when it feels more like a job than fun. I set it for ten minutes and tell myself I have to write for those ten minutes.’ With this routine she writes an amazing 4-6 books a year.

Jenni Keer, who attends the Chelmsford RNA Chapter and was shortlisted for the Choc Lit 'Search for a Star' competition, has four sons and cares for her elderly mother. Her husband works irregular shifts and she writes around the school day. ‘For me, family will always come first, but writing is now a definite second. Housework, socialising, helping out at the school and even my lovely garden are all things that have dropped down the list. I don't need to live in an immaculate house but I do need to get this current novel finished!’

Elaine Roberts has had over a dozen short stories published since joining the RNA New Writer’s Scheme and Elaine Everest’s writing classes. She is currently working on her novel The Legacy. She works 35 hours per week for a Local Authority and is an active grandparent. ‘My time is very precious. Every second counts. I am thankful for having an understanding and supportive husband who has basically taken over the household chores, freeing up my evenings and weekends to spend on writing.’

Elaine Moxon’s (writing as E S Moxon) debut novel WULFSUNA is out now with SilverWood Books. She is a mum, writer and community volunteer and doesn’t set weekly word count goals or set specific writing times. ‘I simply have a personal agreement to each week set aside some time for writing. I limit events to no more than once a month and use evenings and weekends for promotion at key times.’

Susie Medwell’s latest release writing as Zara Stoneley is Country Affairs (HarperImpulse). With wedding plans, supporting her son through A' levels, flying out to see her fiancé in Barcelona and working two days a week, her writing schedule has been disrupted recently but she always aim for an impressive 10-12k words a week. She knows how to make the best use of her time. ‘My ‘planning brain’ works best in the mornings so I try to schedule things so that I do this on my non-office days. When I’m writing the words tend to flow faster in the evening so I often work until quite late, I also find it easy to write at the airport/on the plane.’

So what are you waiting for? You can write a book too if you want to badly enough… Good luck!

About Nikki:
 A Dorset girl and RNA member, Nikki Moore has a HR day job, two kids and a lovely boyfriend to keep her busy alongside the writing. Published mainly by HarperImpulse, she’s the author of the #LoveLondon series and has a story in the bestselling RNA/Mills & Boon anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Nikki’s debut novel Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015 and she is a strong supporter of aspiring authors. The last in the #LoveLondon series Picnics in Hyde Park is due out later this summer.

Please pop over and make contact via Twitter @NikkiMoore_Auth or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NikkiMooreWrites

Thank you, Nikki. This shows the dedication to writing from our members.

The RNA Blog is brought to you by:

Elaine Everest & Natalie Kleinman  (who are also busy writing!)

If you would like to write for the blog please contact us on elaineeverest@aol.com


Nikki Moore / Ella Allbright said...

Thank you so much for having me on the blog.

I really enjoyed writing this and hope it will strike a chord with people or inspire them to write.

Nikki x

Elaine Everest said...

A lovely piece and those who make excuses should stop and think!!

Terri Nixon said...

Brilliant piece! I'm a single parent, working full-time, and I scrabble for every moment's writing, so when people breeze in to work after weekends away and nights boozing 'til 3am, and tell me they'd write a book too, if only they had the time, I feel something other than 'amusement,' I confess! ;) I'm going to share this blog, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Exactly right, Nikki. You MAKE time to write when you also have to have a day job. I used to get up at 4am to write before I got the kids ready for school and myself ready for work. Then my husband took Saturday afternoons to play golf while I looked after the kids, and I took Sunday morning while he looked after them. Again, I got up at 4am to write.

I've been a full-time writer for a while now and the big problem is that people think you can take time off to socialise whenever you want. No. It's a full time job.

Good luck with your writing, Nikky.

Gabrielle said...

I work in London 3-4 days a week, albeit it in a writing-related job.
I suppose it's that old age, 'if you want something done, ask a busy person!'

Gabrielle said...

sorry, that should have said 'adage'. Blame it on the bifocals. x

Vicki said...

Yes I can identify with this. And I am guilty of saying 'I have no time'; I work full time (the only breadwinner in the house); have 4 children and a husband (who thankfully deals with the housework aspect) and am constantly battling exhaustion and guilt over not writing/not spending time with the family...

But it's not getting my book written. I've had my critique back from the RNA so I'm currently in mid-edit of my first novel, and then I'll be concentrating on Book 2. I need to spend my energy on writing instead of feeling guilty. I am the only one who can do that.

Can someone please remove Twitter and Facebook from my laptop...?

Teresa F Morgan said...

Oh, yes, I'm with you there. Everything you say is true! It's about making time... and even that can be difficult at times. Great blog post, Nikki. xx

Rosemary Gemmell said...

What a positive and encouraging post, Nikki - not to say a kick up the behooky for those of us who procrastinate too much when we do have time! Thank you.

Natalie Kleinman said...

Great job, Nikki. Telling it as it is

Jane Lovering said...

You are so right, Nikki! I wrote my first book when I was a single mum to five kids (which I still am, but the kids are older now), and I got sick of people telling me they'd 'write a book if they had the time', and then recounting the entire plot of last night's EastEnders... Stop watching pointless TV, people! You'll have plenty of time then... was what I wished I said, but I really just used to nod and smile.

Kath McGurl said...

Great post, I agree with every word! Wrote a small book myself on the subject of finding time to write, and I make a lot of similar points.
We all have the same number of hours in the day. What differs is how we choose to use them.

Nikki Moore / Ella Allbright said...

Wow - have just popped in and have seen the comments. Thank you so much for leaving them Elaine, Terri, Anna, Gabrielle, Vicki, Teresa, Rosemary, Natalie, Jane and Kath! Twitter and Fb have been similarly busy.

I am so encouraged by the fact people have taken the post in the way it was intended, not to moan about writing or being an author but to inspire people to write. I have days where I can barely face the thought of writing after spending all day in meetings or typing up notes but once I'm sat down in front of the laptop, I escape into the world I've created and I love it so much the stress of the day job fades away :) In some ways, it's therapeutic!

I completely agree about social media - we need to do it but it can be addictive and suck away hours of time.

Nikki :)

angela britnell said...

You're absolutely right and like everything else in life we make time for those things which are important to us.

Sun Chara said...

Fabulous post, Nikki! Really enjoyed reading it, and your 'writing story' and other authors you included on 'finding time to write'. Can so relate to this! Thank you for sharing! x

Nikki Moore / Ella Allbright said...

Thank you Angela and Sun. Glad you enjoyed it :)