Tag Archives: writing schedule

Motivation for writers and those working at home

How do you get motivated when the internet (Pinterest! DIY blogs! Twitter links! Ack!) and on-demand television seem so much more alluring than writing or whatever you’re supposed to be doing?

When my boyfriend was unemployed, I saw him waste entire days getting sucked into movies or TV series marathons, and (although I generally dislike most TV) I am well aware of how easy it can be for the hours to evaporate unnoticed. So I have pledged, and thus far in this month of joblessness held fast to, no television before evening and thus have at least accomplished a few things every day.

What I need to do now is to turn off the wireless and write (maybe with a timer?) without the constant distraction of email, Facebook notifications, the abyss that is Pinterest… Gah! I did set myself up a home office upstairs in the guest room/music room/craft room, with a real desk, but somehow I always end up on the couch. With the internet on. Bad girl.

“Flylady,” the “home executive” organization website, advocates putting on real shoes as the most important step in getting yourself going. Since I typically go Japanese-style at home and remove shoes at the door (way more hygenic, by the way), this particular suggestion doesn’t really work for me, but I find that the big step of putting my contact lenses in (my “eyes” as my mom would say) somehow signals to my brain that it’s not lazing-around time any more. Some days the glasses stay on longer than others; perhaps that’s another item I should add to my “schedule”!

The threat of having no income is sufficient for many, and will be way more frightening for me as soon as my severance runs out.  A friend who is a self-employed textile artist and seamster, who “homesteads” (as the self-sufficiency movement is being dubbed), gets herself motivated every day because otherwise she won’t have anything to eat. Literally. Today, or next month, or next winter, or pretty much ever, since she bakes, grows, and/or preserves most of her own food. That is a lot of pressure, and a pretty convincing argument. (You argue with yourself, too, right; it’s not just me?)

Another friend swears by the “done” list instead of a to-do list. I have tried this, particularly on major chore days, and it is definitely effective for me. The to-do list is always incredibly daunting; of course, I include just about everything that should be done, rather than making an achievable plan… maybe not smart. The “done” list works well especially if you break tasks down into small parts. I could write in and check off “clean bathroom” but how much more satisfying is “sweep bathroom floor (check)/ mop bathroom floor (check)/ bathroom surfaces (or even sink/toilet/scrub tub!) (check), etc.? This might be difficult to apply to writing, though; “printed query letter / signed query letter /mailed query letter” might be reaching a bit 😉

If you have any special tips and tricks to keep you going please comment!



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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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