Scheduling Writing

Everystockphoto_211230_m As I work on my novel rewrite, I keep trying to find the writing schedule that works best for me.  To my mind, there are two main ways to fit working on a big writing project into your life:

1. Make time every day.  Get up early, stay up late, write during your lunch hour, ignore the kids, whatever.

2.  Clear stuff away.  Spend a few days getting every single thing on your to-do list finished so you have time–a day off, the weekend–to work on your project.

My preferred method is number one, and it is the schedule I most often recommend to people.  I like it because it keeps you attached to the project, keeps the words in your mind and the momentum going.  In many ways, it is time efficient, because you don't have to go back and re-read where you were when last you managed to make time to write.  It is also good because, let's face it, most of us have so much going on it is impossible to clear everything away for even a day.

And it is this type of schedule that I've been endeavoring to keep this summer.

It is this type of schedule that I find myself failing to keep this summer.

What happens is this all-or-nothing thing.  I get going on my novel, get engrossed, and work on it to the exclusion of all else.  Like today.  I had to pull myself away from the rewrite to get this post done.

But then what happens is that I've got fires to put out.   Lots of them.  Things I've been ignoring, urgent to-dos, phone calls and emails and life in the real world.

So I end up veering between the poles of writing fiction and the rest of my career, even though I try my best to keep up a steady-as-she-goes pace with the rewrite.

Part of this may have to do with the fact that this is the most social summer of my life, with weddings, out-of-town visitors, and family galore, all of which I love.  But most of it has to do with the fact that I love, love, love writing fiction.  And when I get going on it, I don't want to stop.   The reason I sometime stop myself from starting a writing project in the first place is because I know that once I get into it I won't want to stop.

But I'm still pretty sure that the first option is the saner one for a writing project.

How about you?  How do you schedule writing?

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8 Comments on "Scheduling Writing"

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Christi Corbett
Guest
08/03/2010 07:51

I have two little ones (twins) in the house and find it impossible to write while they are awake. Even when they are consumed with toys/playing/etc…I just can’t fully immerse myself in my writing because of the inevitable interupptions.

So, I write at night. I try valiently to write every night, but sometimes the couch and tv beckon.

But, every once in a great while, I clear off enough time to write for a half day on the weekend (when dear hubby graciously agrees to watch kids). Those are my favorite days!

Great post.

Christi Corbett

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
08/03/2010 20:22

Christi, I think you have a very tough job–mothering during the day and writing at night. I’m not good at working at night, and today is a good example. I took the day off to go to the beach and vowed to come home and write. But already I can feel myself wanting to slack off, because the Mad Men Season 2 DVD beckons….

Lynn Jordan
Guest
08/03/2010 23:07

Charlotte,

I can’t believe you used sane (saner) and writing in the same sentence. I’m not sure they ever go together.

You are so right that writing needs to be scheduled. Writers tend to lean to an all or nothing approach to writing. (Or maybe that’s just me .)

There’s a lot to be said for the momentum of daily writing. Magic happens when you are immersed in the story by writing on it daily.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
08/04/2010 06:43

Lynn, I’m laughing at your comment that the words sane and writing do not belong together in the same sentence! So true, so true. And yet, that magic does happen when we are immersed in the story and that makes it all worth it.

Jessica
Guest
08/04/2010 18:30

What about waiting for power blackouts?

I’ve been struggling to find writing time of late, and the most successful moment was when the power went out yesterday and it was just me, my pen and my notebooks.

Not the easiest things to schedule into your life though…

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
08/04/2010 22:17

Jessica, Now that is a new and original one I have not thought of–waiting for power blackouts. Sounds like you weathered the crisis well!

Jinne
Guest
Jinne
03/18/2014 10:37

I found that if I get away from my computer and sit with just pen and paper, I get a lot of writing done. Yes, later I have to go back and do some research on the questions I have for myself, but I set aside a block of time to do just that. I take care of my grandson during the day so I have to set time after my kids are home in order to write. It’s nice to hide from the world and sit with my paper and pen.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
03/18/2014 13:09

I agree that sometimes you just gotta get up and walk away from the computer.  And I'm still a huge fan of paper and pen!  Thanks for commenting.

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