scheduling writing

Getting Up At 6 AM

Alarm_clock_numbers_266493_lBecause I'm in the midst of the busiest time of my life, ever, I've actually been setting the alarm and dragging myself out of bed at 6 AM in order to make sure everything gets done.

I work at home and can set my own schedule, so most days I allow myself to sleep until I wake naturally.  I'm not a late sleeper–dozing until 7 feels lazy to me.  But lately there's so much going on I've been staying up later at night, reading longer before I turn out the light.  And that means more and more mornings I'm snoozing later than I'd like.

And now that I'm working on a couple little things like rewriting a novel and running a writing program, and my social life also insists on intruding, there aren't enough hours in the day.  Something had to give and it was that extra hour of sleep in the morning.

So I have been setting my alarm for 6 AM, and getting up early has been a revelation.

For one thing, I get so much done so fast in those early hours.   When I'm half asleep, coffee in hand, I get right to it.   (I figure I better make my effort worth it.)  Without distractions, it is easy to breeze through things.  I should know this, because it is how I got the first draft of my novel done.  I got up every morning at, I believe, 5 AM, and worked for several hours before starting on the "real" work of the day.

I also like the actual process of getting up at a pre-assigned time.  It is a commitment I've made in advance and thus my mind and body are prepped for action.  I feel focused and directed. There's no dithering or farting around, just intent work.  Getting up early to work sets an intention that creates productivity.

And perhaps the best thing about it is how the feeling carries through the day.  Getting a lot done first thing in the morning gives me a sense of accomplishment that sets the tone for everything that follows.  It creates a little glow that follows me along and gives me a boost.   Energy breeds energy, and getting things done breeds more getting things done.  (Isn't this so often the case?  I'm either getting tons done, or nothing.)

So, I'm a convert to setting the alarm and dragging myself out of bed.  This, after months of enjoying sleeping as long as I wanted.  It just feels more productive, period.

And, all that being said, tomorrow is Saturday.  I'm sleeping in.

How about you?  Do you get up early to write?  Or stay up late and sleep in?


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?