This year, I have determined that I will find time to work on my creative writing, instead of just thinking about it. This will mean writing every day, even if I am tired and overworked from my day job.
I know I can find the time because of this: nearly two years ago, I took up painting as a hobby. Since then, I have produced more than 40 finished paintings, variously in oils, watercolours, acrylics and pastel. I paint four or five evenings a week, sometimes only for 30 minutes, sometimes intermittently over five hours.
Writing after hours is more difficult to do because in my job as an academic, I am on a computer screen much of the day, working on scholarly articles, lectures, and so on, or I am standing in front of a class of up to 60 university students. I don’t feel like writing at the end of the day. I feel like watching TV, eating pasta and painting pictures.
So, my best option is probably to get up an hour earlier and write before the rest of the day starts. Or, just make myself write at the end of the day for an hour. Sometimes I don’t feel like painting at first, but if I just set out my equipment and start, I am soon engaged by it. Maybe it will be the same with writing.
My other problem is that I have made significant (but slow) progress on two novels, and I think it is better to choose just one to work on. They are both historical novels, and one is a sequel to my first book, The Occidentals, initially published as long ago as 1999, then in German editions in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Where has the time gone?
While I’ve done much of the research for these two new books, there is always more to do. Some time, however, I have to stop researching and get writing. I constantly toy with the possibility of writing a contemporary novel, too, and my head spins with ideas.
Ideas, however, do not a novel make; constant hard work every day does. Writing a novel is like climbing a mountain: then having to revisit the mountain and climb it all over again when the editing starts.
My new writing program starts on Thursday, January 10, because it’s the day after my birthday. Also, my day job doesn’t start until February, so I should have the time I need to get a good start on my projects. I’m looking forward to a fruitful writing year.