I’m talking about your process here. How do you work best? What do you need to be able to work at least well enough?
It’s the season of colds and ‘flu’ and I’ve been less than well for a week or two. I find dull-headedness and a bunged-up nose unconducive to creativity; and all sorts of jobs around the house are left undone.
So, as the cold began to retreat, I made a list of jobs. It made me tired just looking at it! 😀 Things had been on the slide for some time. It was at this point I decided to do something different.
What did I do differently?
Some of the things on my list needed attention urgently; if not today then tomorrow! So I took the advice of Randy Ingermanson which I read in one of his Advanced Fiction Writing E-zines. It went along the lines of: if you have a heap of things to do then take a day off and use it to clear the backlog.
I thought this would work well for ‘one off’ things which, once done, would be gone and wouldn’t need to be done again (or not for quite a while). So that’s what did differently. I took a day off and started at the top of the list and worked through. Fine except there were so many things it expanded to the rest of the week 😀
I laugh, but it had an unexpected and unwelcome effect.
For the last year I’ve been training myself to sit down and write or revise or plan stories between 10.30-11.50am and 2.30-4.30pm. It’s been hard work to establish that routine but it works well enough for most of the time. Taking a week out broke this routine and it has been difficult to re-establish it.
What have I learned from this?
Don’t leave things to build up. If they need to be done some time, do at least some jobs sooner rather than later.
I need to write regularly. Taking time away from writing to do other things makes me feel resentful, antsy, fed-up, and my characters give me a hard time 🙂
More seriously, taking a week out breaks my hard-won writing routine. Although I want to write, after a week of not writing it’s more difficult to get back into the routine again. Admittedly it doesn’t help that I’m not fully well yet but I know this would happen even if I felt ok (going on holiday and the break of routine has the same effect).
Which gets me back to where I started. I’ve become aware of my process and how it works. I need to write regularly to carry on writing regularly. Even if that writing (or revision) isn’t very good, it’s better for me to do sub-standard work than to do no work at all. Sub-standard work (and it is sub-standard relative to what I usually do) can always be revised; it’s impossible to revise blank pages.
So I’m wondering if your process is very different to mine; and if so, what works for you?
Ed to update. Blog kept loading an older version of this post. I don’t understand why.