Scheduling…

Lately it feels like each week I come up with a new way of scheduling my work load to get the most out of my time. The only thing I don’t schedule in is time to re-write my schedule for the coming week. It pays to be flexible and I am curious how others stick to their writing timetables.

As a newly published author I was unprepared for the additional work load that I now have to undertake, the marketing, the email list building, the author platforms and the writing and editing of more books on top of my daydreaming to develop ideas, listening to podcasts, reading craft books. I have a plethora of up coming story ideas each more delicious than, well, anything I have just mentioned.

It is true that we writers need to practice grit and determination, but I ask you how can you maintain writing and working into the abyss with so little feedback and compensation?

I has taken me years to finally convince not only myself, but my family that this is it. I am a writer. Now I am asked appropriate questions by my family such as ‘How is the book going?’

When strangers ask me what I do, I no longer hesitate. I am a writer. It feels both good and a little fraudulent especially when I have to say, ‘No you haven’t heard of me.’ In fact my book Allison is lost at number 898,195 on Amazon (paid in Kindle store). That is fine, my long awaited writing career is a slow burn. I have five more manuscripts written and travelling through the editing, polishing and publishing process. In the meantime I plan to work on content marketing and more writing. Yes it is a leap of faith, but my books are okay, my books will get better and so will I.

Will it always be such a struggle to schedule, to find a way of doing everything that I want to write, read, listen to and watch?

Back in 2018 I was the victim of a hit a run. A truck ran a red light and ploughed through my car. I survived but it left me with ongoing neck and migraine issues, mix that up with arthritis and carpal tunnel and there is a lot going on that makes my job, any job really, difficult. Manageable yes, but when you are in the flow of writing a story, your characters are talking to you, the plot is evolving, working and you can see it all coming together. You missed lunch, your midday meds and finally you have to get up because you can no longer ignore the urge to pee. But now your knee is locked and your hip is stuck, your back hurts, there is no way of getting from your desk to the toilet without pain. Why? because you are an idiot.. (by you I mean me) You ignored scheduled breaks, time limits and self care.

I am not the only one. I hear this so much from the people around me, the non-writers, the tradespeople, the office workers, the business owners, the teachers and the doctors. Why is self care so difficult? Do we expect too much from ourselves, is the world too hungry and eager to have it all now? Are we too keen to please, to keep up? Do we not realise that we are leaving our most valuable commodity behind? No job, no matter how wonderful is worth treating ourselves poorly.

My schedule is simple and I am semi-confident that this is the one that I will stick to. Each day I have designated an hour to working on new material, and then each day I have allocated two hours to work on an area of my business:

MondayTuesdayWedThursdayFridaySat
1hrWrite WriteWriteWriteWriteAdmin
2hrMarketingEditingStudyEditingBloggingAdmin
MoveKarateYogaWalkYogaWalkWalk

The above table is a simplified outline of my current working timetable, I use calendar on my iPhone to set the times and ‘day topics’ and Reminders to make notes on each of my projects. I can add new projects to my to do lists here as they come to mind across the board. Now I am not wasting time going through my notes worried that I forgot something and all my information is on hand. Overall it has been a productive week with limited mobility issues.

The table above doesn’t show my scheduled breaks, I set my timer for 30 minutes and get up and move around, even if it just to do the laundry or vacuum and make a cup of tea, it keeps me moving and working.

Thank you for reading, I am now going to take this beautiful lady for a walk.

Healthy Happy Writing!

Writing Begins with the Breath..

Writing Begins with the Breath by Laraine Herring.

I have just been introduced to Laraine Herring and her wonderful book on writing, ‘Writing Begins with the Breath‘.   It is one of my new go to books for blending body health with the practice of writing.  Her authentic style and mastery of the topic comes across on every page.  It is a lovely read, and left me feeling better for having taking it in.

“Writing Begins with the Breath will open up a whole world of creativity for people who may not have considered themselves writers before, while also providing keen insights into the craft for seasoned writers.”

I have put my highlighted, sticky noted, pencil drawn copy next to Stephen King’s On Writing, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic on my desk.   Laraine Herring took me on a journey that will deepen my prose and allow me to move further into each story I tell.

I will read it again soon, like a treasured classic I will take pleasure in absorbing myself in her wisdom again.

Thank you Laraine.

Writing Begins with the Breath

Laraine Herring Website.

How to avoid writing…

Having one of those days?  You have to write, you have targets to meet but everything that comes out is just blah.. forcing it is like painting a fence in the rain.  But everything you know and have been told about writing is running on train carriages through your head:

you can’t edit a blank page

writing is hard work

it is better to write a 1000 bad words than nothing at all

and so on…..

The Cambridge dictionary defines Procrastination as: “The act of delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring.”

I am not bored, I am willing to work hard but sometimes my brain feels fried, my writing bucket is empty and I have to leave it alone for a minute and find something else to do. I resist, I have my work cut out for my, a schedule on the board and a self imposed deadline.

I have written my 1000 words of crap today and I am done.  I am not waiting for the muse, I am waiting for the kettle to boil.  I have also done my ‘pages’. My crap is written for the day.  I have tried editing my WIP, but there is a glitch in the story that I am not up to fixing today so I have set about finding things I can do to avoid writing today:

  1.  Clean the oven – this is an old favourite of mine.  I can highly recommend Selley’s oven cleaner it is cheap, very toxic and quick to get your bake-house shining.
  2. Walk the dog.
  3. Take pictures of the dog and post her photos on Instagram.
  4. Clean your desk, take care of those niggly little things that you promised to get to later: school notes, bill payments, hotel bookings, twitter.
  5. Clean out your drawers – all of them.  Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, office, kids rooms…
  6. Weed the garden.
  7. Plant a new garden, will involve a trip to the nursery so research plants and make a list.  May need ice-cream.
  8. Buy some books.  About anything, but maybe at least one about writing.
    • I see an opportunity here to re-arrange bookshelf to accommodate new books, maybe should wait until they are delivered?  or not?
  9. Sign up for an online course, about anything. Could be about writing though, it all helps?
  10. Plan an elaborate dinner even though no one will be home to enjoy it because it is a karate night and you will all  be eating subway for tea.
  11. Read something.
  12. Watch something.
  13. Listen to something, a podcast, an audible book?
  14. Take the dog for another walk if she comes out of hiding.
  15. Make dog an appointment to see the vet for a check up due to her hiding from walkies.
  16. Still have to check Facebook!  lets see what all our wonderful ‘friends‘ are achieving with their clever, ‘I am so good I am a writer skills!’
  17. Pluck your eyebrows while telling yourself that you are a good writer, you are just having a bad day.
  18. Put on something lovely but comfortable and take yourself out for lunch.  Pull out the note book you keep in your bag, that pen you got for your birthday, order your favourite meal, and breath while flicking through one of their old magazines,  it will give you something to focus on while you eavesdrop on the couple at the next table.
  19. Write up a new schedule for getting work done.  Laminate it.  Everything looks better when laminated.
  20. Take a nap.
  21. Read a blog?