Good afternoon, gentle readers. Can you believe that it's almost spring? Today is the last official day of winter, which just seems odd to me. My seasonal sense-of-time is still stuck on the setting for Alaska. Which put me in mind of time, in general, and gave me the idea for today's post.
I can't speak for every writer out there, but I find that I am most productive if I have a set writing schedule. When I was working nights in Alaska, my writing schedule was fractured. Normally, I would write between noon and 2:00 PM, and wouldn't touch the keyboard again until I returned home. Usually, I'd write between 1:00 and 3:00 in the morning, then be in bed by 4:00.
After leaving my job, my writing schedule became more free form. Honestly, I spent the first few months hardly touching the keyboard, but when I did I wrote in long marathon sessions. Usually, I'd start at night and stop some time around six or seven in the morning.
Eventually, I fell into a set rhythm.
Today, months later and a few thousand miles away from Alaska, I've found a new writing schedule. When I was finishing up my first novel, I was out of bed at nine and pounding on the keys by ten. I'd take a break for lunch, then return to the laptop until five every afternoon.
Now, with the book done, as I sit here waiting for a response from query letters, my writing schedule has changed again. It's become much more relaxed. These days, I normally don't get started until eleven in the morning, my break is later in the day, but I still stop at five.
I cannot, in honesty, say that every day is productive. A lot of the time is spent glaring at the screen, swearing under my breath, and, occasionally, lapsing into fantasies about winning the lottery. Some days, I'm lucky if I can manage to string a thousand words together. Other days, the story just unfolds, as naturally and organically as a flower opening.
But, good or bad, I stick to the schedule.
Because it works for me.
It may not work for you, but if you're a new writer, you may want to try. Just remember that the schedule is less about structuring the day and more about disciplining yourself to write.
And if it doesn't work? Well, no harm done.