Okay. Here’s the thing. I have a number of secret weapons which aid writing.
The first is this : An ATV (quad bike to the uninitiated.)
I have 2 very energetic dogs
who require more than 2 hours a day exercise. So while this doesn’t always save time (though if you bomb round the forest really fast the dogs will run in front like sled dogs even though not attached… they love to race the bike)
it certainly saves energy on a regular basis. And for me, energy is nearly as useful a resource as time. Money, forget it, I spit on it and avoid it wherever possible. Time and energy those are my currency.
The dogs themselves are secret weapons because when I’m not Ben Hurring it round the forest I WALK and in walking I THINK and in thinking I PLAN and in planning I WRITE (in my head) and then am inspired enough to put it onto computer when I get home. They also are pretty good at being ‘writer’s dogs’, lying in front of the fire, keeping my feet warm by lying under the desk , proof reading, editing etc….. ( I trained them young!)
In my study I have more secret weapons, for example the guitars. (which you might be able to work out amidst the books.)
I rarely play them but looking at them is enough to make me feel guilty enough to get back to writing. Sometimes I strum out a tune or two while waiting for a download but they are really just back up to remind me that writing NEEDS to be done whereas playing the guitar is just for fun (unless I could ever ever crack writing a great song.)
I realise now that my lifestyle is in fact one big secret weapon. I live 3 miles away from a town, any town and it’s a town into which I only venture WHEN NECESSARY to buy what we can’t grow
I contracted chronic hermititis in 1995 and it got worse when I moved here in 2008The symptoms of this condition are a constant requirement for solitude (aka extreme peace and quiet!) In the last three and a half years I have determined to MAKE NO FRIENDS locally and so the only people I speak to on any regular basis are the librarians, as I do my bit to keep Aberdeeenshire library services on their toes by ordering the most obscure books from all parts of the region (ably delivered to my local library FOR FREE) and the woman in the fish shop (because a fish shop is such a rarity that it HAS to be supported on a weekly basis.) Use it or lose it.
I don’t count the supermarket shop (yes, one HAS to do that) as the conversation would not make good drama:
‘Do you need bags?’
‘No, I have them,’
‘Do you want a help packing,’
‘No, I’m okay thanks.’
‘Do you have a club card?’
‘No.’ (think but don’t say ‘I don’t want Tesco knowing my every move the same as amazon do’) End of conversation. Same every time I go in.
I have an old but robust car which sometimes isn't covered in snow
and the secret weapon of high fuel prices means that I don’t go out in it more than one tanks worth per month (which around here means local trips once a week and far away once a month (20 miles or if I’m REALLY pushing it, 60 mile round trip to Aberdeen library – where I speak to no one but get loads more free books) so even the economic downturn is playing its part in being a secret weapon.
This life will either appall or appeal to you but it works for me. It's taken years to achieve and means I can write my little heart out without distractions. The phone rings maybe once a week. (The doctor demanding blood or the library proffering books to collect). The post comes maybe twice a week (unless we’re snowed in which happens regularly as we have a long driveway which becomes impassable regularly between October and March) and visitors are rare, though welcome- (I suspect it suits those of an anthropological bent - perhaps for them it’s more like visiting the Baka Forest people than your usual social call!)
However, I’ve discovered there is one flaw which constantly threatens all my secret weapons… a good idea. Why do I keep having them? My recent indie ebook review good idea has played right into the hands of the enemy. For the last fortnight I’ve been run off my virtual feet!
So – do a swat analysis of your life and tell me what secret writer’s weapons you employ to make sure you get enough time to write