Hey cHEwY gum gums

Greetings from Winterfell, I mean Orange haha. R.A Spratt and I are here, ready to rock this country town, before we catch the train (oooo) to Blue Mountains tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the evening XPT ride because I want to get some writing done. There’s something about confined spaces that help me stay focused.

It’s kinda funny to say that, after spending 2 weeks at home, with no school or author visits. I had dreams of doing a whole chunk of writing in my fortnight of solitude, yet I might as well have spent it playing Fortnite, because I felt like I hardly made a dent in my next manuscript. I mean, I got a little done, but not as much as I’d like. A typical writing day at home would be spending 6 hours writing, in between going to the gym, doing errands and so on. Yet, in terms of productivity, 6 hours of home time equals 1-2 hours of writing on the go.

It’s strange, when I find myself with heaps of time to write, my brain tends to work slower. But I’m more productive in shorter bursts.

People always ask me, with my hectic travelling schedule, where do I find the time to write? When I’m on tour, I make myself hungry to write, in between breaks, as the kids come into the hall, in the hotel room, on planes and trains (no automobiles, I get car-sick easily). Over the years, my brain has become wired to dip in and out of writing.

Perhaps, it’s because I’m a sucker for adrenaline, riding the deadline dragon. I have my next cHEwY creation due to my editor in the end of July. So of course I’ll be switched on over the next 4 weeks, because I need to get it done. Yet, why didn’t I have this sense of panic to fuel my writing time over the last fortnight? I suppose a happy balance would be 2-3 days of writing a week, with the rest made up of author visits. But those weeks are hard to come by, especially when I’m traveling interstate and I want to maximise my time there.

Back in 2012, I won a May Gibbs Fellowship, and spent a month in Norwood in South Australia. I split it into 2 weeks at a time, but I had a glorious time, working on a draft for a book. I delved into my character’s world, thinking and dreaming about my story. I recommend writing retreats, if only for a week or two. Yet, I reckon if I did another writing retreat, I wouldn’t write for long periods. R.A Spratt told me that she writes no longer for 90 minutes at a time. She’ll plan, think and plot out her stories in between other tasks, but the actual writing is a 90 minute blitz for her, twice a week. That’s how she gets 2 books done.

Timing is different for everyone. I admire authors who guard their writing times. The ones who carve out a month or a week in their calendars with no other commitments, and they write up a storm. I salute the writers who have full-time jobs/family commitments and squeeze in an hour here to write. I know an author who would wake up at 4am before the kids wake up, just to write. That’s not just dedication for them, it’s a necessity because not writing makes no sense.

This is the line that separates the writers from the non-writers. The authors from the wannabe authors.

When you want to write, you’ll make the time.

How do you get the most of your writing time? Let me know!

O.W

About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree