Saturday, January 4, 2014

Writing first

As a night owl, I used to do all my writing at night. Many of my short stories were drafted in marathon sessions starting around 8 PM on a Friday or Saturday night, and finishing at 11 PM, or 1 AM, or whenever.

If I didn't have a day job, I might still be writing that way. But on nine days out of every fourteen, I go to the job that pays the bills (writing contributes, but can't support me financially). And when I come home, I do write for at least an hour, often two or three.

However, I've gotten older and busier and more tired. And when writing isn't first on the list, it often gets pushed back and put off--especially first drafting, which takes so much mental and emotional energy. So what I've started doing on non-day-job days is to write first thing in the day. After I finish breakfast, I sit down in my writing office and do my day's goal (whether it be to write for two hours, or add 1000 words, or add 2000 words, or revise ten pages, or whatever). Then I go about my other chores, knowing that whatever else I do or don't get done, at least I have written.

It's made me happier, since I'm generally happier when I'm writing regularly. And I know I'm lucky to be able to do this. I can set my own schedule on these five days. I decided to try this after hearing from other writers that the only way they could reliably get writing done--without getting sucked into the vortex of social media, email checking, etc.--was to write first.

I used to think I couldn't write in the morning. But over the years, I'm finding I can write in more different times and places, using more methods, than I would have guessed. It's never too late to try a new system.

6 comments:

  1. Doing "first things first" -- seems so easy, yet something I still have trouble with! Good on you for being so sensible.

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    1. It wasn't sense so much as a willingness to try anything!

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  2. I think this is such a good way to go. Wish I could get there! There are days, yes, when I sit down to do the writing first and it works, and then there are others when the other to-dos keep clamoring UNTIL I get them done. Then, sometimes, I write. It always feels too random and scattered, but I have yet been able to create an actual system. Something keeps telling me that meditation would help here, maybe as a transition, but I haven't tried it yet.

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    1. It helps if the second thing on my to-do list (right after the writing) is something I don't much want to do. Then I have even more incentive to just keep writing. ;-)

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  3. This is a great way to start the day too, I believe. Happy New Year, Jenn! And yes, it's never too late to try something new.

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