Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Clean your Writing Time

Spring cleaning isn't just for windows. Why would anyone want to clean windows when the weather is just getting beautiful enough to take your notebook to the park? And while winter is turning into spring, it's also about the right time to give our writing-base New Year's resolutions a good scrubbing. Yes, it's a perfect time to spring clean not just our writing habits, but also re-discover time for writing that we might have used doing other things. Or maybe for you, it may be a time to organize your writing materials so you can get to them easier.

First of all, roll up your sleeves and take a good, hard look at your day, and then clean out those pockets…pockets of time I mean. A pocket could be a lunch hour at work, or possibly the twenty minutes it takes for the pizza to be delivered.But sometimes our time is so filled up with other stuff, it may take a little juggling (i.e.,
as PTA dinner dance volunteer, you’re signed up to hand write 400 place cards AND decorate the ballroom). If you’re like me, you’ve got a family, career, and pets that count on you, and even ten minutes alone is rare. Be creative! Try different ways to reclaim those pockets of time, such as carpooling, job sharing, volunteering for only one event, etc. And when you do discover your own pockets, you’ll find it’s just enough time to jot down an idea for a story, add a paragraph or two to your work in progress, and most importantly, keep you moving toward your dream. Dust off and organize those writing materials and find out what you absolutely need to be in your work area to be productive. For me, coffee. Printed outline. Research book for the scene I’m working on. Music CD. And of course, chocolate. I put the rest on the bookshelf in an easily accessible area. For the “this-is-nice-but-I-never-look-at stuff”, I piled it in one of those big green plastic tubs you can get at any home store. After all that, I took a deep, cleansing breath and felt rejuvenated—and most of all I felt ready to write! I cleaned away all my frustrations of not finding papers, re-writes, research materials, etc. The best part? I found a half hour pocket of time I would have normally used just to get ready to write.

Finally, see the results of your hard work shine by tracking your progress. Any wall or desk calendar will do. Just jot down your word count for the day in each square, and then total it up for the week. Voila! Who knew that cleaning out a few pockets and reorganizing your work space could bring you that much closer to your dream?


RoseAnn DeFranco said...

So true, Chris. Sometimes by the time I clear away the ruble, I'm too tired to write. That pockets of time thing is hard for me because I feel like I can't get into a groove but lately I've been scheduling writing time. For example...announcing to my husband "At 9pm tonight, I'm going into the office to write. I don't care who is still up. If the child is not with it." Of course, I've only done this twice but it's a great motivator to help get him involved more in the whole night time routine. I find that if I start writing any later than 9, I'm just too tired and it’s not productive. If I start at 9, I might get a good 2 hours in.

Christine Clemetson said...

Your plan sounds good RoseAnne...the routine does help. But if you're tired, that's tough too. What if you split your time and did an hour before work and an hour at night? If you leave off the night before in the middle of the scene, its easier to start right back up in the morning, then to have to start from scratch.

Thanks for posting!!! Please let know how its working out.

RoseAnn DeFranco said...

I like the idea of writing in the morning and at night and I've tried setting the alarm for 4:30am in the past to write but it hasn't worked out for me. I'm basically a night person so the morning is not really my most creative time. I might give it shot only a little later though...mornings in our house is tough. Sometimes I think I could try to sandblast the little one out of bed and she still wouldn't get up!

Christine Clemetson said...

Sandblasting!!! LOL. So nighttime it is!