. Charlotte Bronte once asked Mrs Gaskell how she found time to write, in between her husband, her children, running a household, her good works and her prodigious letter-writing. Charlotte herself was contemplating marriage at the time, and trying to work out how she would fit writing around her new duties – Charlotte wrote in the evenings, but once she was married, she would be expected to spend the evenings with her husband.
It’s a difficulty that still applies to writers these days. I think perhaps it still applies especially to female writers, who are still expected to run the household and raise the children and squeeze writing in between everything else.
And if you can’t earn a living from writing, you also have to fit it around the day job.
I’m single, and have no-one to look after but myself – but I find it difficult to find time to write. After a full day of work, there’s still the household chores to do, shopping to get, errands to run. I’m supposed to fit exercise in there too. By the time that’s over, I’m too exhausted to do anything but sleep. At the weekend, I contemplate all sorts of free time – but there’s always something, an eye appointment or shopping to do. Or someone I must see. Or I have to go out – because I can’t write in a vacuum, and must see new places and experience new things. And by the time that’s over….
I still have the same problem Charlotte Bronte and Mrs Gaskell had – the same problem thousands of struggling writers have had for generations. It’s not lack of ideas, or lack of skill. It’s lack of time.