Welcome to the “let’s get inspired” Series.
“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.” – Socrates.
To be inspired by another life and their routines helps us in our writing, blogging, and life journey. Therefore, I love to be inspired with the help of a few blogger friends I have created this “let’s be inspired series”, click here to read the introductory post.
Where does the inspiration to write come from?
Featuring Robbie Cheadle Part 3
In this three-part series, we will be speaking to Robbie/Roberta Cheadle who has written books in several genres, whilst running a household, working fulltime as an accountant, and actively managing two blogs.
In Part 1, we learnt about Robbie’s Children’s books that she wrote with her Son – Click here to read.
In Part 2, we learnt about how Robbie got into writing, the fictionalised biography she wrote with her mother, and how she started to write Horror. We will also discuss editing, researching, beta-reading and more.
Today, we learn about her writing habits and advice to bloggers and wannabe writers, and how she juggles it all.
How do you manage it all?
You have a full-time job, a family, two blogs, you love to make cakes, gardening, and so much more. How do you manage it all and still find time to write?
I get asked this question a lot.
I am an obsessive person and suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. As a result, I am a workaholic and the things I do for relaxation are things other people regard as work like baking, blogging, and writing.
I have a strict daily timetable which includes 2.5 hours of blogging daily. Over weekends, I write at least 4 to 5 hours (between 2 and 2.5 hours a day).
I am very consistent.
If I have down time during the day, I utilize that time to write, even if it’s only 30 minutes. I use every minute in my day effectively. If I’m not frantic at work, I sometimes use my lunch time to write an article for my own blogs or for someone else’s blog.
I like to guest post. I also think I do things very quickly.
I have noticed that in my work life, I can do a task in about 35% of the time it takes other people. My mind works very quickly. I don’t like teaching as I find it difficult to slow my thought process down sufficiently to teach effectively. It is something I now actively avoid, other than my two sons who I have all the time in the world for.
I also don’t do the things other people enjoy. I don’t watch movies or television and I don’t exercise in a gym. I like to exercise by gardening and going for walks.
What does your blogging/writing Routine look like?
I get up at 5am from Monday to Friday and at 6am on Saturday and Sunday. I go to bed between 10pm and 10.30pm every day.
I don’t think about cold dark days and treat them the same way I treat all other days.
I am not fond of the cold and have taken to building a fire every day during the winter to keep my workstation warm and cosy. I get backache if I get cold and stiff. During the winter months I get up at 5am and do the washing. I put it in the tumble drier and sit and blog while the drying programme runs. The kitchen is lovely and warm from the drier and this is a pleasant and peaceful time of day for me.
During the summer, I save electricity and hang my washing outside while listening to my latest audio book story.
Do you write in the same place always or do you move around?
I don’t have a specific place where I write or even work. As I write these answers for you, I am sitting on the carpeted floor in my lounge with my laptop on the coffee table.
Sometimes I work at the kitchen table, sometimes at the dining room table, occasionally at my dressing table in my bedroom and other times in one of our two offices at a proper workstation. I work in the offices the least. I’ve even been known to work in the airport, on an airplane, while waiting for my children in the parking lot at school and while watching my boys have extra lessons for swimming, karate, and tennis.
I am very versatile and can work anywhere.
Do you ever get lazy or procrastinate, etc?
No, I don’t think I ever get lazy.
I was quite exhausted by the end of November this year and really needed my summer holiday which falls in December in South Africa. I do find I get burnout from the stress and anxiety of my day job if I don’t take breaks for long periods.
Lockdown, the period from the end of March to the end of August, was very busy for me and I was working long hours. I suffered some health issues as a result of not taking short breaks from Zoom meetings and work during the day. I remediated this when I realised what I was doing to my body and health. I now take to walking breaks of approximately 15 minutes each during the working day. I go out into my garden and walk around in the sunshine. Exercising and relaxing.
How has the pandemic affected your writing?
The pandemic hasn’t impacted my writing much other than the fact my day job was even busier than usual from April to September as a lot of companies transacted to raise additional capital or debt to see them through this difficult time. As I wasn’t taking kids to school or driving to work, work filled that additional time and my writing, blogging and other time remained the same. I also didn’t see any family members for nearly three months, that was tough as I see my sister, Hayley, once a week usually. It was also hard for my mother who was a bit lonely for other company.
Finally, what is your advice for wannabe writers?
Writing is a lifestyle, it is all consuming when you are in the throws of writing a book. The process tends to take over your life. You need to ensure you keep a balance and make time for family, but you also need to be very disciplined and ensure you write in your allocated times.
Writing a book is hard work, I overhauled and edited A Ghost and His Gold seven times and that is a lot of work for a book that has ended up being 116 000 words.
I get up early every day to blog and write (as mentioned above).
My children and husband tend to sleep late over weekends, until about 8am. I get up at 6am and write until 8am. If they sleep longer, I write longer. That is my ‘stolen’ me time.
This is what works for me, but I am a disciplined person and have always lived with time blocks for different activities. I get a bit distressed when my schedules are disrupted, but I’ve learned to control that and accept that life is a series of changes and sometimes you have to go with the flow.
The “Let’s” CONTINUE to ” Be Inspired“ .. the Interviews Continue…
I hope you are enjoying the “Let gets inspired” series so far. Today is the last interview with Robbie. But, I have other blogger friends lined up as part of this series. I do hope you come back to read their stories. Don’t forget to visit Robbie at her two blog sites. Robbie’s inspirations and Roberta Writes.
Are you inspired, motivated?
Robbie clearly has a lot of energy. I feel super inspired and motivated. I like the idea of “stolen time”. I am always finding stolen time or creating it. I also LOVE that Robbie is flexible about where she works, I am rather like that. Especially as a laptop allows us to move around. I do try and write in the morning as that is a good time, but, I actually spend my early morning in meditation and spiritual classes.
I feel we can all be efficient, motivated and organised, especially if we are extremely busy. But, at the same time life has it seasons and chapters. Some chapters are fast paced and others slow.
Always be inspired by others, but never get disheartened that right now you aren’t able to find the time. You will. And you will make your routine that works for you. I say this to myself as my season, chapter of life doesn’t quite permit me to as super efficient as Robbie right now, but that is okay, I am inspired by Robbie and I have made little adjustments to my routines.
Here are Parts 1 and Part 2 of Robbie’s Interview. Robbie is really inspiration for me.