Lacking self-discipline

Into every writing blog a post about scheduling must fall (?).

Most professional writers (if books on writing are to be believed) sit down to a desk for a prescribed amount of time every day or on a set schedule; it is rare to “wait for inspiration.” This doesn’t seem to come naturally to us, or certainly to me; creative types are often somewhat scatterbrained (my own nickname is Disarray!) and dislike tedium (art is, after all, about emotion and excitement and beauty and not routine). So it is difficult to force myself to adhere to any kind of exact schedule even though I know it will make me a much more productive writer.

I decided late last night, as April encroached, that although I signed up for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) to begin today, I don’t feel that at this point I can commit to writing 50,000 words of fiction this month. 1,650 words a day isn’t so daunting, but I just don’t feel it would be a productive use of my writing hours to delve into a novel I’ve only vaguely conceptualized and barely planned, when my current focus is creative non-fiction.

Instead, I’ll commit myself to 10,000 words a week (this blog does not count) in essays or articles. Up until this point I have mostly been reading about writing and getting published, and it’s time to start fleshing out some of my ideas, and certainly querying…

I am a Virgo and I love lists, so I’ve made myself a schedule which includes writing, research, yoga and the sauna (because you still have to live a little!) and, sadly, housework. The balancing act comes in trying to adhere as closely as possible to that schedule when my natural inclination is to flit about, doing a little of this and a little of that.

If you are self-employed or working on becoming a professional writer, what works best for you to get motivated and accomplish what you set out to in a day, rather than becoming distracted by all of the other things you could be doing? I need all the help I can get 😉


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