i am this close to declaring to-do-list bankruptcy

Posted on Posted in journal, whistling in the dark, writers is nuts, writing life

Since the old routine was proving difficult to groove back into, post-Mongolia, I've been trying out a new routine. It's not quite working yet.

Previously I'd been landing early at the dayjob, and writing after I clocked off. This has the benefit of my morning tram not being a peak hour one, and the library, where I'm sure not to be interrupted, is open for my writing session. But the library is in the wrong direction, away from home, and errands tend to be scheduled in my writing time. All of which means it tends to vanish before I get to it.

So I've taken to writing before I clock on. It means I get to keep my non-peak-hour tram, I get to work more "normal" hours, and I get at least one hour's writing time that won't be eaten by errands. Sadly, libraries are not early-risers, so while my writing time isn't being eaten by errands, it's not sans interruptions. Decidedly not.

I've been thinking, this weekend, about what I can do to fix that.

There are a couple of external options — writing in a cafe, for example — but maybe what I really need to change is my mind-set.

Writing used to be easier and swifter than I find it now. Partly that's because I'm more conscious of the craft, and trying to exercise finer control over it; a slower pace is a natural consequence. But maybe it's also partly because I have a habit of pushing myself too hard.

Because pretty much all this year I've been caught in a vicious cycle. I'm tired, from working long hours, which means I don't hit even the modest wordcount I'm aiming for, so I push myself harder the next day and work all weekend to catch up, which means I'm tired from working long hours with no break, so I don't hit even the modest wordcount I'm aiming for…

From now on I'll be taking at minimum one day off a week — and that day is going to be a weekend, so it's a proper rest from all forms of work.

And in the meantime I'm going to practise being more in the now,1 so that when I am interrupted it doesn't take me 20 minutes to get back into my train of thought. Or so that when I'm writing, my mind is working — not on how many words I've written or revised (and oh no I only have 20 minutes left before I have to clock on) — but instead on how I'm going to fix this next sentence, this next paragraph, this next scene.

  1. Oh, and also, I am going to get to all those emails and phonecalls currently waiting on me to return them. Just, yanno, when I can. []

6 thoughts on “i am this close to declaring to-do-list bankruptcy

  1. Heh. I got interrupted this morning for a 20 minute spiel. Let's just say I failed at the first hurdle.

    Ah well. We get back up, and we try again tomorrow. (And apparently we talk about ourself in the third person tonight.)

  2. Perhaps the new mind set should also include an I-will-cut-you-up-if-you-bug-me kind of stare [ 😈 ] to keep the distractions away.

    😉

  3. LOL – you are not the first person to tell me I need a better Fuck Off stare. The problem with my current FO stare is that you have to know me really well to recognise it. This is a distinct flaw.

  4. Hehe! The problem with mine is the inverse of yours! If you know me really well it won’t work cuz then you’d know I’m a softie.

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