Now that I have a new project to work on, I’ve been thinking seriously about revisiting and revising my writing habits. I’ve already talked about my writing regimen during the Belfry years, which was probably the most solid and consistent I’d ever had. [The Arkham West years, not so much. I spent most of those years just trying to adjust to married life and living on the opposite coast.] The Spare Oom years have been stable and evolving at a stable rate.
But I just feel that I’m not doing enough.
This is my current weekday schedule:
Eat breakfast, catch up on webcomics
Focus on Day Job stuff during Day Job hours (sneaking in a blog post or Daily Words if time permits during slow time)
Longhand personal journal entry during first break
Catching up on social media or writing magazines during lunch
Breather during second break
Dinner and maybe an episode of whatever A. happens to be streaming that night
An hour or so working in Spare Oom at the end of the night
Getting into bed and reading until lights-out
Weekends include e-mail catch-up, chatting with family on the phone, shopping and errands, outside activities, blog writing, and so on. End the day continuing work on whatever project I’m focusing on.
Mundane stuff, yeah, but I can’t help but think that I’m really not doing my best at time management here.
BUT! Since I no longer have a Giant Book Project weighing me down, I realize it’s time for me to give that all a rethink. It’s too scattered, too disjointed. I find myself wasting time when I shouldn’t be. Sure, maybe I’m already using these few hours whenever I can, and just like every other writer, I feel it isn’t enough. The question becomes: how to get the maximum work out of a limited time frame?
Or perhaps that’s the wrong question. Besides, that way lies madness. I’ll never have enough time, even if I decide to drop every other minor exercise to make it happen.
No, the better question is: how do I organize my time better?
Well, the problem is that I’m dithering. I’m in the very early stages of Meet the Lidwells! and I’m chomping at the bit to get writin’. I’m trying a new approach this time: preplanning by way of index cards and an outline instead of making it up as I go along. [Noted: the reason I’m doing this is that the trilogy project took so damn long and needed so much clean-up afterwards that I figured being more organized might save me a hell of a lot of time.] All this precision is driving me batty, because I’m so used to being a pantser writer. I still have this excess energy with nowhere to put it, so it ends up getting wasted on skimming social media or futzing around with my music collection.
And to be honest, I had the same problem in the Belfry years. I’ve talked about my time wasted playing multiple rounds of FreeCell (or worse, wasting twenty minutes pondering over my cd collection trying to decide what I was going to listen to that night). And I definitely had the same problem during the Arkham West years.
So what do I do?
Well, the best thing for me to do is to expand on that daily assignment regimen.
One of the steps I take is following my whiteboard schedule. As you may have noticed, I’ve been reasonably consistent with my blog schedule here and at Walk in Silence. I’ve also been good at writing the personal journal five days a week during Day Job hours. I can expand on that, then. I’ve already given myself a deadline of getting the indexing and outlining done for MtL! by the end of April, and to get the major writing started by the first of May. I can certainly add more assignments with other projects if need be.
Mind you, I’m not trying to Write All the Things. I’m just trying to be more productive. It’s also a long and evolving process, so I can’t expect a complete change right off. It takes time and practice. And dedication.
It’ll take time, but I’d like to think it’s worth it.
1 thought on “Creating a Writing Regimen”
Dithering is such a fantastic word. Writers dither very well, don’t we? Take small steps. That’s my best advice. Change one small thing, get used to it, and then change another. Trying to do it whole hog is going to make you take one step forward and then run the rest of the way BACK to your bed. I feel you. Change is never easy but it’s worth it, no? Fight on my friend!