discipline and dedication

I've been thinking a lot about my writing habits since my situation has changed so drastically. I now have 6 1/2 uninterupted hours in which to write. No one is here but me, the dog, and lately, a whole lot of loud Sum 41. I need to structure my day so I can get to maximum efficiency. I've done this before. When I decided to go pro with my art, I went half-time at my job (I was on the faculty at a university at the time working an itinerate job in the local school system. Very cool job). I came home, every day, ate lunch and read for 45 minutes, and then I went into the studio to work. I was utterly rigorous. Nothing touched that time. I think, besides volunteering at my kids' school, I will have to get rigorous with myself. No coffee breaks or lingering breakfasts with friends in the am. I lose too much time and find I never regain momentum in the afternoon. I'll produce more if I do social things and work out in the afternoon, after writing is done.

For years, I have beaten myself up over posting here and wandering around Bloggieville before doing regular writing. I've recently come to realize it's a warm-up for my brain. For instance, when I comment at Crapometer, it builds my confidence. By analyzing someone else's writing, I remind myself that I actually do have a bit of a clue as to what I'm doing. Like today, for instance, I'm warming myself up to get back to the screenplay. For some reason, it intimidates the hell out of me. I do need to do a character profile on a few of them; that would help. I think I'll get through drafting though, since I know the story and how it all goes down. Then I'll be able to flesh them out better.

I think my weekdays should go something like this: If I wake early, like 4 or 5 (yup, it happens) I can get up and go write or putter on the internet. I can shower 6ish and get kids up and at 'em by 7. That's also a great time to do some general house stuff like laundry. Sigh. So exciting, the life of a writer. School starts at 8, so I can conceivably be at my desk by 8:15. Likely, I'll putter a bit more, but I should be doing actual writing by 9. I'm not drafting currently, so I tend to work more project-based or scene-based (tighten this scene, finish this short story--that sort of thing). When I'm drafting I have to work in page count per day--generally 5 minimum, 20 max. I like to draft fast and full-out, writing up to 20 pages a day. It's very effective for me because it's so immersive. Then school ends at 2:30 and it's back to kid-time. Homework, soccer practice, that stuff. (It's so fun to spend time with them when I don't have that nagging urge to write write write!) Evenings can be spent on the magazine, puttering on the internet, or business stuff like submissions.

I think that schedule can work for me. Wonder if I should post it on my door, like office hours?

I'm also thinking very seriously about trying to teach at the community college level or continuing ed. My degree is in education and I really do miss teaching, I've realized. I've been thinking what I'd like to teach, and I think one of the most valuable things a writer can learn is to take and give effective critique. Many writers write without a group, but few write effectively without at least one beta reader. So I've been thinking of structuring a class around critiquing. I'm told I'm pretty good at it, and I've got such a wonderful critique group supporting me. My experience was that once I started to analyze other peoples' writing, I was able to much better analyze my own. I had my faults pointed out to me enough that they were literally beaten from my writing.

Sorry, most of this rambling was for my own benefit. Organizing my thoughts is like setting up a ramp so I can make a big jump.

Speaking of ramps and jumps, my husband is the proud new papa of a motorcycle. I'd give you the stats but thinking about that stuff drives me batshit. It's big, orange, and it's a motocross bike.

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