This has been a week for putting new habits into motion. I recently read 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Writer Smarter by Chris Fox, and the way he works really spoke to me. When I was in high school and college, I was writing all the time, but I was only writing in the 10-30 minute spurts that I had between classes, during lunch, or at the end of class when I had finished all my work. It was not structured, per say, but I knew that I had to grab those moments while I could because I would have to jump up and run to my next class shortly.
As an adult and a stay-at-home mother, I have gotten away from the schedule because I have “all day” to write. Okay, not really all day, but I don’t have a set schedule. I could be squeezing in words here and there, but because I have too many distractions and “all the time in the world,” I haven’t.
So, I spent this last week ironing out a daily work schedule. I finally came up with this:
9:00 – 9:30 = write to a 30 minute timer
9:30 – 10:00 = housework/laundry
10:00 – 10:30 = write to a 30 minute timer
10:30 – 11:00 = bundle up Ian and go for a long walk
11:00 – 11:30 = write to a 30 minute timer
11:30 – 12:00 = housework/laundry/lunch on days where husband is off work
12:00 – 12:30 = write to a 30 minute timer
12:30 – 1:00 = exercise
1:00 – 1:30 = write to a 30 minute timer
1:30 – 2:00 = close out day/meal prep for days where husband does work
I chose the 9:00 to 2:00 schedule because that gives me time to get the oldest three up, fed, and dressed for school, and out the door, and I still have about an hour and a half to feed Ian and myself, get laundry going, wash up breakfast dishes and general “get the day going.” And over the last year, I have learned that it did not matter if Sam had to work or not, I stopped writing around 2:00 because that was about ten minutes before Seth got home from school, and he requires my full attention once he is home.
But still, with a 9:00 to 2:00 schedule and a 30-minute work rotation, I can still get in 10,000 words a day if I write through every thirty-minute session (I average about 2,057 words in 30 minutes.) And even if I only write Monday through Friday (which I am finding tends to be the case because I can’t focus with all four of these evil minions running around all weekend), I can still get about 50,000 words in a week. That’s a full NaNoWriMo in one week.
Granted, last week was not a typical work week. Monday and Tuesday were spent killing hogs here on the farm, and though I did manage to squeeze in a novella outline, I did not get the chance to sit down and work through my schedule. On Wednesday, I got two of those sessions in, dropping about 3,900 words on The Disappearance of Ray Delgado. I was dead-tired, though, so I will admit to droning on the couch while I listened to audiobooks.
Thursday, I drafted out Part 3 for my Pangaea series since it had to be posted the following day, and I did a little editing on it, but I was still running on fumes, so I did not get the proper editing time in on that piece. I did outline Zombie Jamboree and The Mist Whale though, so the day was still productive.
Friday, I did a final read-through on Pangaea Part 3 to fix glaring errors, posted that, then I spent the rest of the day working on the publication prep for Moonlight and Love Songs 2017, which will be coming out on the 31st.
And, as I said above, I am learning that the weekends are not the time to try to be creative. I can’t focus on what I am doing at this stage in my life because my kids are just old enough to get on each others’ nerves just by breathing, so I am constantly getting up to separate them and redirect their attention onto new projects. So, I keeping my projects on my weekend schedule so that I can work on them if I happen to get that opportunity, but I will be using the weekends from now on to catch up on “business” stuff. Book covers, blog updates, scheduling, etc, etc, etc.
I’m not expecting to write the full 50,000 words this week, and once I get on my schedule, I am not expecting write 50,000 words every week, but I know that I can. So it’s all about getting my butt in the chair and writing.