Short-term vs. Long-term Writing Projects

I’ve been out of commission for the last week.  First I was at a wedding in Santa Clara, California, and then I had gum surgery.  Yes, gum surgery, complete with graft and stint and a lot of wonderful gory details I won’t bore you with. 

I’ve used the surgery as an excuse to ease up on taking copywriting jobs and I’ve been working on my novel in my lucid moments (I exaggerate, as the surgery and its aftermath has been remarkably easy).

But because of all this I’ve been thinking about short-term vs. long-term writing projects and how to fit them both into one’s life.  I’ll tell you the one thing I know for sure about achieving this balance: it ain’t easy.

The thing about a long-term project, such as a novel, is that there is a certain amount of living in an alternate world involved.   Getting into the alternate world of the novel is a journey, and like all journeys, it takes awhile to get there.  You know? 

You don’t just jump in and jump out at will.  And once I’m there I like the locale and I want to stay awhile.  Sometimes a long while.  So its hard to write a long-term project in a one hour a day schedule (hard, but not impossible–I’ll share some tips for how to maximize your writing time in a future post).  Sometimes that hour goes awfully fast and you’ve barely just arrived in the other world when your time is up.

How to deal with this issue?  I beg, borrow and steal longer chunks of time whenever I can, like on the weekends.  Like right now, when its the most beautiful day ever and I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t live in Portland and yet I’m not outside.  I could theoretically be outside because I do all my work on a laptop.  But I know myself. And I know if I’m outside I won’t be working.  So I’m inside, at my computer, taking a break from finishing up a chapter to write this post.

Come Tuesday, after this glorious long weekend, I have 4 or 5 SEO articles that I have to get written by Friday.  And I’ll be gazing back at this time I took to work on my novel with longing. 

Anybody else have any ideas on how to manage both short-term and long-term projects at the same time?  My kingdom for a good solution.

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