First an admission: I am not the most disciplined person in the world. Too often, I’ve sat down to write and instead played a game of solitaire, you know to relax, or checked my email, twitter, blog stats or checked on some of the blogs I follow, posted a comment and the next thing I know, an hour is gone and I haven’t touched pen to paper or finger to keyboard.
If you read a recent post, you’ll know that D4 is having a problem with being alone for any length of time. This is a relatively new problem. Before Christmas, I could put on a movie, or get out the blocks, dolls or some other toy and she’d play for about an hour. During this hour, I’d work.
Working in hour long chunks throughout the day was sometimes frustrating but doable. Working in ten minute chunks? No. After the twentieth time saying, “Just a minute, mommy is working.” I get a little…edgy. So I decided to set a kitchen timer. I tried it first for 30 minutes. Too big of a chunk for her. So we went to 20. I put on a show, set the timer and told her she could come and get me when it went ‘ding’. It worked well. The first day she’d run and even if I was in the middle of a scene, I’d go and play with her. Then after awhile, I’d tell her I needed to go to work and set the timer again. It became a game.
The first week I learned several things, one of them being there is not 20 minutes during the day when there isn’t an interruption. It could be the door or the phone but there is something. D4 held me to my promise. Even if I was at the door talking to the bee carrier during my writing time, as soon as the timer dinged, it was her turn. Another thing I learned is to really value my writing time. And right along with that, I waste time getting ready to write.
When I knew I only had 20 minutes. I didn’t check anything, I turned the phone off, opened my file and got busy and that’s what started me thinking. I no longer wait to write when the muse strikes, although when it does strike, I write. I’m a writer, this is my job. A plumber doesn’t plumb only when he feels inspired. A janitor doesn’t clean only when he feels motivated. If I’m feeling uninspired, there is always research, excels, charts or maps requiring my attention. I recently worked on reviewing my agent list, checking websites and submission requirements; a mind numbing, but necessary task.
Sitting at home in front of my computer, there is no one to keep me on track, just me. Once I have an editor, this will change but until then, I’m the boss. I know some writers set word goals, some due dates. I do both. I’m currently editing a chapter a day of my new manuscript which averages about 2500 words a day and editing 30 pages of SO’s manuscript. These are my goals. And obviously, to accomplish those, takes all day…mostly in twenty minute intervals and I do work seven days a week.
So my questions for you: How do you organize your time? How do you handle distractions?
And that, my fellow bloggers is the sound of my bell dinging. : )