Monday, May 2, 2011

Creating: Writing Time

I would be surprised if any of us always has plenty of uninterrupted time to write. I'm talking about five to seven days a week of whenever you want to write, you write. Or you have scheduled writing time that no one interrupts. Ever.

If any of you do live in that perfectly blissful paradise, I'd love to know your secret.

My writing world has been rocking along pretty darn good since the first of the year - for which I'm VERY thankful - but it certainly wasn't always perfect.

Then family arrived on our doorstep. It's a happy story. They are transferring to the San Antonio area and will stay with us until they can move to their new home.

In terms of my writing time, this means I'm getting lots of interrupts. More importantly, it means I can't spend the morning writing in my jammies :(

This might sound whiny and trivial to some of you. But it's a big deal. The reason is because I get a lot done in my jammies. Mornings were my time to drink coffee, blog, visit YOUR blogs, answer email. And most importantly, to write for one hour. That hour is the kick-start I need to keep the rest of my writing day rocking along.

I have a big coffee mug. By the time I drank two cups of coffee and munched on breakfast, everything was done and I would go shower and dress. This may be way TMI for some of you. Deal with it ... it's my story, not fiction :)

Last week: plenty of blogging but no morning writing. I did not meet my writing goals last week. That's because by the time I came downstairs to my office I had already showered and dressed. And done all the daily upstairs chores that I would normally do later in the day. By the time I came downstairs, I was already a teeny bit cranky because I was late getting to the coffeemaker. And by the time I got to my writing time, it was already the time that I would normally be starting on my SECOND HOUR of writing.

I have no idea why switching around when I got dressed made such a difference. Nobody changed the number of hours in the day or the number of hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. But the change in my routine severely affected my writing output.

So I figured out what to try. It concerns you.

For a few weeks, I'm not going to blog until later in the day. My posts will come up as usual in the mornings - like this one - but I won't be commenting back here or visiting your blogs until after I have my morning hour of writing done. This may mean that I'm again visiting at odd hours until I work into this new schedule. But I'll be there. And I'll answer here.

If anyone has a better suggestion, I'm all ears.

How do you deal with things that upset your schedule?

Is it always big things for you or do little things make a difference to you, too?

29 comments:

Colette said...

I can relate. I do pretty well keeping to my schedule and getting things done -- until my schedule is interrupted. For me this is usually when the kids are home -- love having them, but messes up my routine.

Linda Kage said...

I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with all my schedule changes, so sorry no advice from this corner, but I can defnitely tell you, you're not alone.

Joanne said...

I'm like you, if the writing doesn't get done in some substantial way, I'm not happy. Lately I've limited my blogging time, including taking a full week completely off, because I'm immersed in a revision I need to get done. And I do my best to avoid interruptions. It's amazing how even small ones eat up writing time :/

Rula Sinara said...

I can relate. I have young kids, so my writing time gets even more upredictable in the summer. Something's gotta give during times when my schedule (or brain) is overloaded, and usually it means visiting blogs less...or more sporadically. Other times it means no TV or cleaning. It just depends.

Laura Eno said...

More commiseration and no solution here. I know what you mean about the jammies!

Glynis Jolly said...

Carol, I just redid my schedule this last weekend. In the past I was taking care of others first thing in the morning: the blogs I visit and emails.

Now I write before I take care of others. I think it's going to work out fine. Getting started on what I feel is the most important of my daily tasks first thing helps me plan the rest of my day better.

I bet you'll notice the same thing. ;)

notesfromnadir said...

Too bad you can't wear your jammies when you write.

All you can do is go w/ the flow & write when you can.

I don't suppose you could put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign when you're sitting in front of your computer?

Terry Odell said...

I find that when I have a disrupted day, everything seems overwhelming when I get back, and I don't know where to start. I'm still dealing with it.


Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Although I cherish the contact of other writers through the magic of blogging, I do find it tricky to find enough time to write my posts and leave comments on others! Sigh. I guess I need a firmer schedule.

Maryann Miller said...

I think it is almost universal that once we establish a routine that works well for us, any change in that routine can throw us off our game. I am like you, carol, while I love to have company, I can get a little testy after a week or so of not being able to go into my office early in the morning and get some writing done before I face the day and guests.

Sheila Deeth said...

Heading off for a week with my Mum, so my writing time will be severely curtailed, as will my commenting and blogging and internet time. But inspiration will undoubtedly bloom :)

Holly Ruggiero said...

"teeny bit cranky" LOL

With the April challenge over, I have a similar thing. I schedule my post to post at just after midnight, but I personally don't get to blogging until something - anything else is accomplished for the day.

Miss Good on Paper said...

I wish I knew how to deal with these kinds of interuptions. I'm so bad at dealing with any upset to my schedule. Thanks for starting this discussion. I'm hoping to get some new ideas.

Carol Kilgore said...

Everyone - Please forgive this one comment to all of you. It's 11pm and I've been up since 6am. Today didn't go exactly as I'd hoped - as you can see. I made it to two blogs, and not here until just now.

The good news is I got a lot of writing done.

Please bear with me while I sort all this out. I will be at blogs on Tuesday. At least some of you. For sure.

I think this is a work in progress while I have houseguests.

Mallory Snow said...

Since I have a baby, it's hard to keep an exact schedule but I try to get some writing done each day when she goes down for her afternoon nap. On the days when she's fussy and takes forever to go down, I get so upset over losing my writing time...but all I can do is take a deep breath and hope the next day goes better...and it usually does.

LR said...

That morning time is holy. Hope your schedule returns to normal soon. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Mallory - Thanks for stopping by. I can't imagine writing with a baby, but I know lots of writers who do so. Yikes! Two dogs is weird enough. Today is better so far :)

LR - Yes it is. I hope so, too.

Helen Ginger said...

Totally understand. I have a routine, but when I'm on the road, it gets thrown all out of whack. I end up getting little or nothing done. And when I do get things done, it's not the same.

Lydia K said...

The writing has to come first, then blogging. So no need to apologize!

Ella said...

I can so relate; I was doing the A-Z blogging challenge, when daughter has spring break. Fine, I can work around her, then son has college exams coming up review, less classes. Then hubby decides to take leave(vacation for Navy talk). AUGH....threw my schedule off. I'm on day two of adjusting and it is just that. I liked my routine, but now thrown off course, I'm changing it up like up~

Good Luck, we do have to MAKE TIME and sometimes this is difficult~

Hang in there~

Carol Kilgore said...

Helen - Same here.

Lydia - Thanks. I hoped all my sister writers would understand.

Ella - Military spouse here, too. I get all that. It's all about creating our own time. Good luck to you, too.

Ann Best said...

We have to do whatever works for us. I'm impressed that you do an hour's writing, then another hour.

How interesting, the patterns we get stuck in.

I don't have a routine, so I never have to worry about breaking it. I don't write every day, that is on a book/story, but blogging is good, and so is reading, which I'm trying to do more of. Ebb and flow, that's how I see it.

And family always intervenes, happily. Family is first, then other aspects of life, including writing. That's how I see it, anyway.

Just enjoy the week. Enjoy the journey!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Janet, said...

I don't have a schedule, I wish I did.Sometimes I feel guilty when I sit at the computer for hours in the morning and at night. My husband is retired now, so he is here all the time and sees what I do. :o)

Carol Kilgore said...

Ann - Yes, family does come first. And that's a good thing :)

Janet - I'm much more productive with a routine.

Medeia Sharif said...

I spend a lot of time online, which can interfere with my writing, but long writing jags from time to time keep me on schedule.

I tend to stay up late or wake up early to get things done during times when there are no people and fewer distractions.

Carol Kilgore said...

Medeia - I really miss my time with no people and fewer distractions. That time will come again, hopefully in another few weeks. Please - LOL.

careann said...

Does it say something that I'm just getting to your Monday post on Thursday??? LOL!

Little things don't usually change my schedule but I recently had out-of-town family visiting for ten days and that upturned every day's schedule. The only way to maintain my writing time was to cut down on reading blogs. I hate missing out on my online communication but if anyone would understand, I figured fellow writers would.

Carol Garvin

Donna Hole said...

Flexibility is a skill, not a right :) I'd love to have any semblance of a writing schedule.

Good luck with your new routine.

.......dhole

Carol Kilgore said...

Careann - We had a week of spring breakers in March and I knew I wouldn't get any writing done. The jammie thing threw me for a loop because it shouldn't have made a difference and was totally unexpected. Today it's finally coming together. I hope it stays together and doesn't fall apart again.

Donna - Thanks, Donna. I'm pretty flexible once I know what I'm dealing with. Plan A didn't work, so now I'm on Plan B :)