Monday, March 28, 2011

Wherein I complain a bit, then make a plan

I write every day. In fact, I've done more writing thus far this year than I did all of last year and many of the years before. My problem? I don't feel like I'm getting much done.

Early morning is probably my best time of day to write. I love how quiet the house is after my husband leaves for work and my kids are still asleep. (I'm blessed with two late sleepers. They normally don't get up until 10 or 10:30.) I use my mornings for journaling and 100-word pieces of fiction. I consider these writings my daily warm-up. I love them because they help me to empty my mind of everything that is not my current WIP while still giving attention to those pesky plot bunnies that crowd my mind and scream for attention. Later in the afternoon, during my daughter's nap, I write some short pieces for another site and try to work on my daily blog posts. However, my concern is that every day I feel as though I'm cheating my novel-length project, which I usually get to late at night, after the kids are in bed, the house is relatively quiet once again--and I'm exhausted.

I know that no writing is wasted, but there are days when I ask myself why I bother with the early morning pieces and the other little bits of writing I do. My novel is my big project, yet I don't give it the attention it needs. There are days when I find its word count daunting, and some nights when I sit down to work on it, I feel like it's an impossible task. However, I want to write it; I love the idea, and the story is important to me. Something has to give, somewhere amid all the things I have to do and want to do during the day.

I need a plan.

I think that getting up just a few minutes earlier--even just fifteen minutes--will give me more time to work on my big project in the morning while still taking care of the small ones. Doing so will mean getting to bed earlier than my usual 1 a.m., however, and that may be a bigger problem. But more importantly, I think I really need to start treating my novel not as a novel but as a series of short pieces. Writing short seems to be my forte; I think I'm less intimidated by the smaller writings; the larger ones often loom in my mind like huge obstacles that seem too difficult to overcome.

It's time for me to change my thinking and my way of seeing my work. Today.


  1. Maximizing time must be the theme this week. I just read another blog about it. I hammered her with time cliche's for some light encouragement. But I have a couple left =)

    "The time! The time! Who's got the time?" (favorite!) and "There just aren't enough hours in the day."

    Here's my quote: "Why does life have to get in the way?"

  2. I've been thinking about this, too. I'm currently writing my blog entries first thing in the morning and trying to reserve WIP writing for evenings. This means I'm writing the fluffy stuff when I have physical and mental energy, then leaving the heavy lifting for the part of the day where I can barely stay awake. Bad idea! Like you, I think I need to get up a few minutes earlier in the morning and make sure I'm giving what's really in my heart the greatest attention.

  3. You started by saying you've written more this year than last, and more than some prior years. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back woman, and bask in that :) Congratulations!

    I think the biggest part for us writers, is sometimes we feel like we're not getting anything accomplished. In truth, we just have a lot to do. We're busy people :) We're definite multi-taskers. It doesn't matter (for the most part) what we're doing, our characters are asking for attention, or a terrific plot idea presents itself.

    Best of luck to you with your plan of waking up a few minutes earlier every morning. Honestly, I've found (for me) my best work in a WIP is fresh from bed in the morning, with a coffee beside me, my laptop on me.

  4. Tara: love the quotes! And you're right: why does life have to get in the way? It's all about priorities: I get to decide what's most important. (I need to remember that.)

  5. Deb: Let me know how getting up earlier works for you. It's going to be a struggle for me, I know; even those few extra minutes of sleep are precious when one's night is only five hours long. I've got to stop staying up so late, but, because my husband works long hours, the kids go to bed kind of late (9:30 or 10 p.m.), and once they're in bed, I need time to relax before I try to sleep. Anyway, I'm crossing my fingers for both of us.

  6. Carolyn: Thanks so much for reminding me that I have accomplished a lot this year, even though it doesn't seem that way. :)

    I've never really thought about it before, but you're right: writers really do have a lot to do, so as you said, even when if feels like I'm not accomplishing much, I probably am. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Welcome to the blog!