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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Words on Wednesday: Writing Amongst Distractions

Having a busy family with a husband, two daughters and various pets including two dogs, getting down to work at home isn't easy. I won't claim to have cracked it, by any stretch, but when I remember to use the following, it helps:

  1. A sign on the door, reminding would-be interrupters that 'Mummy is working'. I know this seems draconian, but it is a good solution to the problem of not having a dedicated workspace. Since my desk is in my bedroom, I could be doing something entirely interruptable, so the sign makes it clear for everyone. With younger kids, getting them to help make a sign could be effective.
  2. Instrumental music on the laptop while writing (and also while planning and editing, which I must always do with a pencil and paper). I favour chilled-out new age stuff whilst working, and have found that having set 'working music' helps to cue my muddled brain into working mode.
  3. Clear and definite non-working time. It's all too easy to allow procrastination to fill a large swathe of the day, but if you've agreed particular breaks with yourself (and perhaps with the family), you make more productive use of both working and non-working time.
  4. On the subject of time, it helps to know your own rhythms, and to work with them. I always used to work best in the evening, but since getting used to an early morning commuting start, I now do better first thing. If I get up early and work til 10, then walk the dogs with the family and return to work after lunch, I manage best.
Having now effectively finished my full time teaching job, I'm trying to figure out what my days will look like come September. It's bound to evolve from this summer holiday pattern, but I think these routines and practices will help me get there.


  1. I could just see the look of bemusement on my daughter's face if I put a sign up! As far as they are concerned, I should be partaking in their summer holiday too! Having said that I have managed to write 2000 words this morning and write a blog post, so I shouldn't moan.

  2. I love the idea of a sign on the door. I must try that.
    Thanks for these good reminders. : )


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