Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chunks or Morsels?

Well, while you are stuck at home, I am tearing up the mall with my mom. We are currently on our 3-day Christmas power-shopping trip.

Jealous? I don't blame you.

This is one of the highlights of my year, but three days away means lots of time spent getting ahead with my blog posts. Since I had 7 entries to PRE-post, to save time I decided to RE-post today's entry. As I browsed through my archives, I came across this one. I decided it was perfect because even though I originally posted it about eighteen months ago, I definitely still struggle with this issue today.

Maybe you can relate.

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.

I have this need 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 turtle-pace. It just aint gonna cut it.

So...I need to take on the mindset that morsels are sometimes just as effective as chunks. And that every measly 500 words I add to my story puts me that much closer to the end.

Here's a couple of questions 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.

Leave me your advice on scheduling and managing time to write. I desperately need it!


Joanne Sher said...

I am ABSOLUTELY a morsel girl. As I wait in the carpool line, a few minutes before I check my email, in waiting rooms. I LOVE having chunks of time, but it is SO rare. Just plug away. Slow and steady wins the race.

Caroline said...

In face, knowing I only have a chunk of tie, gives me more inspiration to get it done. :)


Debbie Dillon said...

Oh, I SO know this story! Seems like the morsels come in the morning during the "reconstruction" process (shower, face and hair, etc). Luckily, I do get a few morsels throughout the day, but it still takes discipline. Cute article :)