Monday, May 24, 2010

All in the name of research

Sometimes research is just another name for writing avoidance. But sometimes it's truly fascinating. And after all, it is important to get your facts straight. For example, what does the interior of Enzo di Carovigno's private plane really look like?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Work / Life Balance

This is something I think about a lot - usually while grumbling about how many hours I spend at work. I know I'm not alone and that this is an issue for half the people in my industry (at least the female half).

But today was the first time I really sat down and calculated how much of the average working day I spend doing what. This is what I came up with:

  • 42% is spent on either the day job or commuting to and from the day job. This can go up to about 50% on busier days.
  • 30% is spent sleeping, assuming I get 7 hours a night. (At the moment it's more like six, and I'm starting to feel it!)
  • If my kids are lucky, they get about 8% of my time. Most of that is dinner, bath and bedtime, then the extra half hour fighting with them to stay in their beds. This is sadly the bit that gets squeezed on days I work late.
  • About 8% of every day is wasted on necessary stuff like eating meals, getting dressed or undressed, having a bath.
  • That leaves 12% of every day (the time when the kids sleep and I don't) for all the rest: writing, reading, social networking, TV. And this also has to give way to work demands. Looking at it this way I can suddenly see why it's so easy for the writing to get squeezed out. I guess you can call this 'me' time, though it's usually so full I can see why 'me' often gets lost in the mix.
So what am I going to do about it?

There's not much I can do about the day job unless some gorgeous billionaire Alpha hero sweeps into my life and offers to take care of the bills. And negotiating work hours isn't an option either, because that's part and parcel of the job.

But I think this exercise has shown me two things. Firstly, it's helped show me which two things on the list need more time and attention: my children, and me. Secondly, it has highlighted the importance of spending that 12% of 'me' time wisely. Less TV, less social networking, more writing.

And starting right now I'm going to make sure that every moment of my weekends is allocated where it should be to make up for the Monday to Friday deficiencies, including some real 'down time' when the kids and I can just kick back and do nothing.

And maybe if I stop wasting time bathing, I'll have more writing time. Just kidding, folks!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Day Dreamer

By profession, I’m an organiser. As a film production manager, I plan everyone else’s lives and make sure they all know where to be and when, and that they have the tools to do their jobs. I have to be on top of everything all the time, keeping all those plates spinning, because if I drop one the repercussions could be enormous and costly.

How did I ever land up in this job?
Because I'm really a ditzy blonde, just like you see in the movies. Though I’m sadly a lot less glamorous and a lot less organised than Alicia Silverstone in Clueless.

I’ve been told I’m actually quite good at the day job. Perhaps that’s because I’m over-conscientious. I’m so scared of failing that I work extra hard to get it right. But exactly because I do it at work for 9 to 10 hours of every day (and sometimes more) I’m the complete opposite in my personal life. As though the day job gets all the energy and effort, and there’s nothing left for my home life.

In school, I was the kid forever staring out the window, lost in daydreams. These days, I’m the mother who might actually forget to pick up the kids from school because I got side-tracked by a project and simply forgot. When I still had a safe local library to borrow books from, I was the person who always had to pay hefty fines because I forgot to get the books back on time. I’m also the moron who only checked if my passport was still valid when I arrived at the airport for a holiday that had been planned months in advance. (It wasn’t, and that’s a whole other story. Maybe one day you’ll read about it in one of my novels).

So when I read stories in which the hero does absolutely everything for the heroine, from buying her clothes and shoes, to booking romantic dinners or private planes, I’m in love! The feminist in me doesn’t stand a chance against the fantasy of a man who can pick up his own phone to organise flowers (or his own dry cleaning), who can run a bubble bath for the heroine, and who can even pay his own bills without someone else’s help.

What heroic characteristics do you admire, and why?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Blog Launch

On 10th May my wonderful crit group and I will be launching a new blog, the Minxes of Romance.

Mondays will be Minx days, when you get to meet the eight ladies who make up the group. Wednesdays are author spotlight days and we have a wonderful line-up of romance writers who'll be answering our questions and telling us about their latest books. Fridays are Anything Can Happen days: we'll be discussing books, movies, industry news, and writing craft issues.

Please drop by to check it out, leave a comment and give us feedback and suggestions. I look forward to seeing you there!