Revamped Writing Habits and Schedule and Poirot's Retirement Plans

Wwriting habits!

Writing schedules!

I've posted about these a few times before:

"1. Writing location.
I don't have one. This either results in no words written or, on days when my willpower is actually raring to go, very early mornings at the coffee shop. Obviously, that sort of schedule doesn't stay in place long. I've got to think of a new writing location; a stable, no-distractions time and place. This'll be my new year's resolution.
2. I promise to get writing done at work and never do it. I've decided to stop beating myself over the head with this. Spanish classes, lunch with my mom, errands and knitting are more than enough for lunch breaks. Better to find a location (see #1) that's only about the writing.
3. I must remember that even a little writing is better than none. So what if it's just a paragraph? The idea is to start; it usually leads to more. No more putting off my own writing to read someone else's, which is so easy to do in the evenings after work (especially when you're rereading The Lord of the Rings).
4. As Jen says, "I need to remember that moaning about my busy schedule is NOT going to fix things or make this book spring magically from my forehead—fully formed and ready for publication." Which means I have to get cracking on finding more agents and sending out more queries."

Numbers 2 and 4 are still valid. Number 1 might work if I go back to working at the office (it worked very well last Christmas (or was it the Christmas before?), when I took the afternoon off work every day for a week, and holed up in the Delegates Lounge at the Palais des Nations to write and edit.

A writing schedule from 2012 (the post also highlights author Carole Anne Carr!):
"I have a new schedule!
I know we all say this now and then, but this time I'm really feeling excited about it - mainly because I've scheduled in more reading time, and some free time.
Not counting errands, querying, visiting with family and friends and the occasional 5 a 7, and besides the 9-5 job (I read on the commute and knit at lunch), I've come up with this:
Mondays - edit (currently working on edits for Ayten's story, Rome, Rhymes and Risk)
Tuesdays - blog/Forum
Wednesdays - edit
Thursdays - scrapbook
Fridays - read (yay!) and housekeep (sigh)
Saturdays - blog (which is great, because now when we visit with family and friends I don't have to feel guilty being away from the internet, as I did when I thought I should be editing on Saturdays)
Sundays - free day! (on the condition that I don't go online, since if I do that, I could well be editing)
This should see Rome, Rhymes and Risk edited by the first week of June, then I can spend June entering the changes, July editing on paper once more and filling in scenes, August typing all that up, and... Sending the story to betas by the end of August.
I know what you're going to say - The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men / gang aft agley. But you never know! This might just be the schedule that gets me motivated. Writing is easy; editing is hard."

There was nothing wrong with this schedule. I remember it worked fine for quite sometime. Possibly it also led to my current streak of being able to complete NaNoWriMo every year!

Then in 2013, I tried a revamped version of the writing schedule (the post also highlights author J Campbell!):
I have come to the point where I'm changing the much ballyhooed schedule. Here's what the New Save-My-Sanity-and-Reduce-the-TBR-pile Schedule looks like (neverminding the 9-5 job, and knitting at lunch times, and seeing friends and family):
MON Read
TUE Read
WED Read
FRI Blog (both Sunday and Wednesday posts, and comments, and the Forum, and all other internet stuff!)
SAT Edit (must get up early!), knit at night
SUN Edit (again getting up early)
The sooner I finish editing Druid's Moon, write the query letter and synopsis, and go out on queries, the sooner I can start drafting something new! Writing comes easily, and every day, while editing takes discipline..."

This schedule may or may not have worked. Of the two novels mentioned above, Rome, Rhymes, and Risk (also known as Verse, Venice, and Viziers) still has huge gaps, and I've been toying with turning it into a screenplay, just for fun.
Druid's Moon needs one last overhaul, based on beta reads. It really needs the synopsis and query letter written, because then I could be querying it.

Before I get into what my new schedule should be, here is a retirement plan courtesy of one of Hercule Poirot's acquaintances: 

Reading all the time? Sign me up!
The trouble is, it's sort of what I've been doing for the last few weeks (besides work and family and baking; I tend not to knit in the summer as it's too hot).

But school starts again soon and we may be returning to working at the office.

I need a new schedule.

Here's what life currently looks like (bearing in mind that I am not the primary caregiver until dinnertime, but am in the same room as everyone else):

7-9 a.m. kids wake up, breakfast, I check work emails
9-11 a.m. work, clear emails
11 a.m. work meeting online
12 p.m. kids eat lunch, I work
1 p.m. toddler's naptime (I help him go to sleep), a bit of reading
c. 1.30-3 p.m. toddler naps, going-into-second-grader plays or reads, I work
c. 2-4 p.m. kids run around or go to the park, I work
4 p.m. kids' cartoon time, my reading time
5-8 p.m. dinner, bath, bed
8-10 p.m. should be writing or editing time but generally becomes read, check, check my gmail and yahoo, or shop online time.

The 4 p.m. gap (which often gets eaten by work) could be editing time instead of reading time. There's also 6 a.m., which is when I tend to wake up (and most days the toddler sleeps till 7).

Knowing that nothing is going to work and that I will procrastinate no matter what, I'm going to pick up an idea that Monica Byrne and author others use: Morning Pages.

This means that the minute I wake up, I write. No matter what. I may delete some apps on my phone to help me stick to this. In fact, I'm going to do this right now. Desperate times and drastic measures, and all that.

Have you tried Morning Pages before?
What else works for you to squeeze in writing time?


Hi Deniz - I have no schedule ... but sadly don't have kids to help! Or for that matter have your ability to do so much, and to keep all the balls in the air. Good luck and congratulations on all your achievements in Geneva ... take care - Hilary
Deniz Bevan said…
Thank you, Hilary!
The thing I have to watch out for now that school is over, is reading all the time! Instead of writing my own stories...
I haven't tried Morning Pages before because I've often had to teach early morning classes, like the ones that start at 8 A.M. But I'd like to try it because if I wait until the evening I often feel too tired and put it off until the next day. I miss writing in coffee shops; I used to do it all the time before lockdown. They've started easing restrictions in my state, and some restaurants do allow people to eat inside, but I feel like I can't linger at my table anymore since there are only a limited number of people allowed inside at any given time. I usually only stayed for an hour, but now I feel like I have to just eat and go or get take out if I go to a restaurant or coffee shop.
Deniz Bevan said…
You're right, I miss writing in cafes too! It works all right now, since the weather's still warm and we can all be outside. But there's only about a month left of that...