Here's a typical day in my life:
8:00 AM: "I am so excited to have four entire hours today to work on my novel. I plan on working on it from 11 to 3. Yippee!"
11:00 AM: "I just have to finish this article and then I'll work on my novel. I'll still get three hours in."
12:00 noon: "Ugh. This article is taking me longer than I thought and I am starving. I'll finish this, eat lunch, throw in a load of laundry and work on my novel from 1 to 3. I can still get a thousand words or so written in two hours."
1:00: "Oh, I really want to take care of these emails a minute. There are only five I need to respond to. It shouldn't take me long."
2:00: (Whining) "Now I only have one hour. Why even bother working on my novel at all? By the time I get started, it will be time to go pick up my kids from school. Might as well clean the bathroom instead. And go eat chocolate."
Sound familiar? Please say yes.
On my First Things First blog post, Dave Wagner left a comment that perfectly described me. That feeling of needing to dive in for big chunks of time to accomplish anything. Maybe it's that I don't want to invest the energy I know it will take for only a piddly amount of progress. Maybe it's that I feel like I have to focus on projects that might make me some immediate money (like articles and freelance work). Maybe it's simply that I don't have a clear direction of where my novel is going so I'm not all that excited to get to work on it. Or maybe it's that I know I need to do a ton of editing and I'm not in "editing mode", I'm in "creative mode."
Whatever the reason, I've come to a shocking realization: My novel WILL NOT get done if I don't work on it.
Told you it was shocking.
There's that big D word again - DISCIPLINE. Of which I seem to have none. Yes, I did finish one novel but it took me for-ever to do it. If I hope to land a contract, I can't continue at this turle-pace. It just aint gonna cut it.
So...I need to take on the mindset that I do not need big blocks of time to write. And that every 500 words I add to my story puts me that much closer to the end.
Here's a question for you. What do you do to make progress on your novel? Do you have a schedule? How do you balance your life or your "other" work with finishing your novel? Are you disciplined?
Here's your chance to kick me in the pants and offer your wise and enlightening advice on how you manage your blocks of time, whether large or small.
Speaking of blocks, I did manage to enter my poem, "Oh, the Blockage", an ode to writer's block, in Chip MacGregor's annual Bad Poetry Contest. Last year, I took the Worst Image Award for my entry, Snot Bubbles and Tears. This year, I doubt I'll take home anything but it was fun to enter anyway. And yet another thing to take me away from my novel (insert eye roll here).
Anyway, leave me your advice on scheduling and managing time to write. I desperately need it!