Same old, same old? Not so much

I’ve tried all the various routines, from writing in every spare moment to writing a specific number of words per day (mostly in the first couple of NaNoWriMos I participated in) to binge writing. I’ve written things straight through from beginning to end and gone back months or years later to pick up something that I set aside. Lately, I’ve been getting partway through the day on Friday and realizing I should write a flash to post.

I’ve written longhand in notebooks and on random index cards that are lying around. I have written in Word, in a plain text editor, and in Scrivener. I’ve written first thing in the morning when I sit down to the computer, and I have written late into the night (and on into the next morning) because I didn’t want to walk away from what I was doing.

I have also gone weeks without writing a word of fiction, instead spending time with my family, with books, with my crafts.

. . . so I don’t have a routine.

That’s okay. Although there are impassioned people who insist that if you don’t write every day, or if you don’t write first thing in the morning, or if you don’t outline first, or if you do outline, you’re not a real writer, I’ve never believed that. The bottom line is do I create stories that people want to read? As long as the answer is yes, I’m doing my job.

Even if it’s not routinely.

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Writing routines”– April’s topic and theme in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonanno.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

Checking and tweaking the system

The problem with deciding on topics two months in advance without actually writing notes is that I forget what I was going to say. I didn’t even note what links I wanted to use for this post, so I’m winging it a bit more than usual. I hope you’ll bear with me.

So I’ve set up a system. It doesn’t have to be perfect — just having a system probably helps me get to more things than if I’m playing catch-as-catch-can. However, it could probably be better. How do I figure out what’s working and what isn’t as good as it could be? Continue reading

Rebuilding when the system breaks

Last week, I put together a system based on blocking off time for specific activities, from when everyone has left the house in the morning up until people arrive home. That’s roughly 7:30 to 5, although my son actually gets home about 3. Then I threw it out the window to devote all of my time to finishing up an overdue project (including time devoted to sleep, as you might have gathered from my post earlier this week). That’s actually pretty easy to deal with — get enough sleep, get up in the morning, and start following the prompts of iCal reminders to tell me what I’m supposed to work on in each time period.

Almost. Continue reading

Using your time series: building a system

In case this hasn’t been made patently clear in earlier posts of this series, I am not an expert on time management. It’s something I’m always investigating and learning about because I’m so abysmally bad at it (as anyone who knows what my latest week has looked like knows). So this series is an attempt to synthesize the latest information and put together a system that will work going forward, and to help others do the same.

One of the things I’ve learned recently is that we are, generally speaking, cognitive misers. We can only pay attention to so much at one time. And when we’re trying to keep track of everything and do everything — pay off debt, lose weight, earn more money, be better parents, read our TBR stacks, engage in our hobbies, follow the news, on and on and on — we keep dropping stuff. This gets back to what I mentioned last week about automating tasks. If we can make some of the things we’re trying to do automatic, it doesn’t matter that we don’t have to think about them. Continue reading