Monday, April 26, 2010

Planning Tomorrow’s Writing

The Fisherman's Cottage-- Harald Sohlberg--1869-1935 I like having a writing plan.

This doesn’t mean that life goes according to plan.

Kids get sick. New carpet gets installed. Cars need to go to the mechanic. Life happens.

I grab my writing time when I can find it—if my plan has been completely scrapped.

But having that basic plan in place—which includes writing—helps me out from the very start of the day.

5 ways to pave the way for writing (the night before):

Check your calendar. Make sure there aren’t any nasty surprises to hijack your day. If there are things on the calendar to do, then plan your writing around those things, in advance.

Make a tentative writing schedule for the next day. Is your morning looking hairy? Can you write and eat lunch during your lunch hour tomorrow? Can you write during an evening commute home (public transportation riders only, please!) Or does it look more like a 9 p.m-10 p.m. type writing day? At least you’ll have a plan to start out with.

Plan now when to catch up with social media the next day. Decide whether it’s better to check emails/tweets/FB statuses/blog comments before you write (and risk being distracted….unless you use a timer and have a stern attitude with yourself) or after you write (in which case you might be like me and have heebie-jeebies wondering what’s lurking in the inboxes.)

Plan to disconnect from the internet if you don’t trust yourself to ignore the online distractions. Tell yourself now the repercussions you’ll face tomorrow if you keep checking in on social media.

Prep for the next day’s writing by making a (very) short sketch of what you’re going to write. It can keep you from five minutes of wondering where you left off the day before. This can be as vague as: Pick up with Susan asking Anne where she was the night of the murder.

It can be really tough to squeeze writing in. But starting out with a plan—and giving ourselves permission to veer off it—helps ensure we make the time.