A constant drip wearing away the stone of literature

No, I am not referring to myself as a constant drip. The title is supposed to conjure images of gradually breaking down a formidable structure. Keeping on chipping away. Little and often. That sort of thing.

Since I got my e-reader for easier, lighter reading material on the daily commute, I’ve been leaving the doorstop books for reading at home. Except the daily commute is my main reading time, and for a while I wasn’t getting very far. Then I took to reading a chapter last thing before bed. Half a chapter while dinner’s in the oven. A couple of pages while OneMonkey’s left the room mid-conversation to let the cat in. Before I knew it, I was zipping through.

As ever I pounced on the lesson in there: this applies to writing, too. We can’t all write full-time (we wouldn’t all want to), but I’ve found before that it’s possible to get a surprising number of words on the page without it taking you away from other activities too much. Most of the time, I’m lucky enough to be able to write at lunchtime. If I’m quick about getting to the library I can get 45 minutes of solid writing in, without much in the way of distractions, and if I do it regularly so I can pretty much remember what I’d written last time, I can watch the wordcount grow quite quickly.

If you’re prepared (by which I mean, have suitable writing materials to hand and have thought a bit about what you want to say next) you can write a paragraph while you’re waiting for the kitchen timer. Or sitting outside your child’s after-school activity (or if they’re older, outside the party they swore they’d be ready to leave at ten). Or in the doctor’s waiting room, at the bus stop, during the interval at a theatre, in a long post office queue, or in the last fifteen minutes before bed. Each time you write, it might not seem like much. Eventually though, it could become a novel.



  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I find that I can get quite a bit written at lunchtime or just jot down ideas between appointments. Inspiration occurs when you are confronted with life rather than when you decide “now is the time to create a story”.

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