I get a little writing done here and there, but I’m inconsistent at best. Sometimes a flash of inspiration will lead to an hours-long obsessive sprint resulting in thousands of words. It’s rare, but it happens. Every day, though, I sit at my computer as often as I can (around housework and kids and such) with every intention of writing. The actual writing doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like. What is it I’m doing when I’m supposed to be writing? A few things, some of which aren’t actually bad.
If you know me, you know I have a thing for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s a love/hate relationship with the sites themselves, but I can’t do without lurking behind the threads of my favorite peoples in the whole wide world (outside my family). I have my days (sometimes weeks, but that’s rare) when I need a bit of radio silence to recharge the old battery. Then I have those days when I need the interactions, crave the light-hearted jabs, and I seek out the innuendos because they always make me smile. Whether I’m having a “behind-the-scenes lurking” type day, or an “omg-talk-to-me” one, I spend more time on social media sites (Twitter especially) than I should, time that I could spend writing. For every 30 minutes on Twitter, I could have written almost 1,000 words. It’s not a bad thing when I’m actually talking to folks, I enjoy those conversations, however brief or seemingly disjointed. I’m just thinking I need to allot specific times during which I “allow” myself to check -in to create and maintain a balance.
Doing Other Writerly Things, but Not Writing
I do A LOT of this, too. I’ve created so many blogs. Why? I don’t know. I made a couple of websites, too. I research Amazon Book Categories and Medieval Terminology. Some of what I do is actually helpful and necessary. I’ve recently released a book, and a part of selling books is marketing. I’m dipping my toes into advertising, now. After a rough take-off, and now that I’ve got a bit of a system going, I’m heading into week two. Week one tutorial period (no, there’s no actual tutorial) is now over, time to leave the newbie zone, buff up and move out. How I did this (today, actually) was to compile the relevant data into a table and make some comparisons to see what worked for me and what didn’t. This time next week, I’ll do the same. I even made a handy weekly planner so I could remember to do this at the same time, on the same day of the week, every week so I can track my trends. Speaking of my handy planner …
Planning and/or Plotting
Also known as daydreaming. I like to categorize and assign, to rearrange before I create. I have two older kids with a school schedule that gets top priority on my list. We wake up at 6:30 every morning to get ready for school. There ain’t no gettin’ around that. We leave the house at 7:15 (Yeah, I’m that good). I’m back at home by 7:30 and ready(ish) to start the day. From that time until I leave to get the kids from school at 2:30, I do stuff. With a toddler, or with a toddler nearby.
Toddler usually eats 2-3 times during the day (plus snack with the kids at 3:30 and supper), and we’re doing the potty training thing, too. Every two hours, on the even 1/2 hours, we go potty. Or go sit on the potty. Either way, everything else I do revolves around the daily schedule of my kids.
Homework is priority one from the time we get home from school (around 3:30pm) until 5pm, though it usually doesn’t take more than 30 minutes. I’m in the kitchen (sneaking back to my computer as often as I can) from 5pm-7pm, and from there it’s a race to clean-up and get the kids in bed by 8.
When I actually sat down to plan out my days, on paper, this is what it looks like I’m left with:
8am, 4pm, 8pm: (Check E-Mails for Assignments for the Paying Gig)
9am-11am: Write and Play with Toddler (Possibly sneak in some Twitter)
11am-noonish: Cook and Eat Lunch
noonish – 2:30pm: Write and Play with Toddler (Possibly sneak in some Twitter)
4pm-5pm: Spend time with all three kids
8pm-10pm: Write (Possibly sneak in some Twitter)
I do actually write and edit articles throughout the day for the paying gig, so I have been writing some, but I’d like to do more fiction writing. I do other miscellaneous things every day – I have numerous hobbies and an actual, real, live back yard – but this is where the majority of my time is spent. Looking at that schedule, though, I see the opportunity for roughly six hours a day of writing time, with frequent breaks to play with toddler. The most important thing I did today was identify those opportunities. With this information, and a bit of discipline, I’ll know that if I don’t take the time to write during the time frames set forth above, I won’t have time to do it later. Now I just need to figure out exactly how long I spend on the paying gigs so I can set aside time for the fiction.
Here’s to giving oneself a good, swift kick in the pants. I’m going to stick to my schedule for the next three weeks (and I made a note on the third week’s planner to do the next month’s planner, too), and see if I can’t get some consistency going. I’ll let you know if it works out. 😉