Monday, October 17, 2011

Changing Our Routines for Writing and Life

Laptop_6731 (17)by Elizabeth S. Craig @elizabethscraig

I’m definitely a creature of habit. I have a morning routine for getting the kids off to school, and if I mess up one part of it, there’s a sort of domino effect of screw-ups that happen.

But as life and schedules have gotten more complicated with a busy family life, I’ve tried to be more flexible and responsive. Sometimes I’ll do a better job with that than others. Now I can at least fake being flexible.

With writing, I’m able to squeeze it into miniscule amounts of time at the drop of a hat. This is just a response to a packed schedule (and a schedule that I’m not totally in control of.)

Squeezing writing in is a lot easier if:

You’re prepared. You’ll need index cards or a small notebook and something to write with.

You know where you left off. And I wouldn’t waste time reading what you just wrote…that will burn up your time right there. Just make a quick note at the end of each writing session to remind you where you were.

You can block people and noises out. It takes a little getting used to, but yes, you can make the whole world disappear. After a while, actually, it’s tough to bring it back

You’re forgiving of your efforts. If you’re squeezing writing time in, then it’s not the time to except perfect prose.

Then, there comes a time when you’re not squeezing writing in. It’s time to put more time into writing.

There are different ways to add writing time to your day (but most of them aren’t fun):

Sleep less. I’ve done this. It’s okay, but after a while I start looking like something out of Night of the Living Dead. I write more on the front end of my day…in the morning, instead of at night.

Take vacation time from work or spend a weekend writing. Here I’m luckier because I’m at home. Weekends are my busy times because the family is home.

Spend less time online or engaged in other activities. Set timers for online time, turn off the television, etc.

Right now, trying again to be flexible, I need to write more. I’m editing a book, brainstorming another, beginning one that’s due in May, and coming up with a new series premise. And I have a book launching on November 1 (the 3rd book in the Memphis BBQ series—Hickory Smoked Homicide.) I’m sleeping a bit less, but it’s looking like I need some more writing time. :)

I’m moving for the next couple of months to a M-W-F-Sun schedule of blogging until I get ahead with the writing I’m working on. And Wednesdays will be a retro-post day. But guest bloggers are more than welcome for Tues/Thurs. spots (or the M-W-F ones, for that matter, too.) If you’ve read a good book lately and want to share it, I’m opening Saturdays up for that.

Do you ever change your schedule to include more writing? How do you do it?