Sunday, November 09, 2008

How Do You Plan Your Writing?

I made myself a schedule and a plan a few weeks back. Rick reminded me of it with his great post about writing and planning a business/career. I've been thinking of this a lot, lately. I've narrowed it down to all I want and hope to get done in a day. I've been pretty much aiming for the ideal schedule:

  1. Current WIP: (3 hours.) No need for explanation here. I often spend more. Sometimes I do less, LOL.
  2. Reading: (3 hours) I miss reading, lately. I want more time to read! I love to read! I'm hoping that by having the three hours penciled in every day, I'll actually get to the reading part of my day and not feel guilty for reading instead of writing. I usually spend less, but that isn't right.
  3. Future Income: (1 hour) Just time spent finding, exploring, and starting projects that will bring in income later. Otherwise, you end up finishing all your projects and realizing you have no income coming in.  Gotta plan ahead. I probably should be spending more time in this area.
  4. Blogging: (1 hour. And some.) This is blogging here, not under pseudonym, so it doesn't fall under the marketing category. Mostly this is the fun part of my day, but I like to tell myself that pulling my thoughts together and organizing them is a good writing exercise. Lots of writers used to write essays before blogs were around.
  5. Marketing: (1 hour) I'm failing miserably at this one. Every day, I tell myself I have to get back to it. I think I'm going to have to start smaller: do one small thing a day, and work my way up. Once you get started, it's not so bad.
  6. Experiment Writing: (30 min.) Just for fun writing, bad writing that hopefully explores new corners of my writing skills. You know, haikus, bad poetry, random beginnings...

ReaIistically, I often don't get to #5 and #6. #3 only happens on some days. I often don't read as much as I'd like to, and sometimes I write more. Or somedays, like lately, I've been following this formula: Editing = Reading + Writing.

I spend about an hour or two a day on studio planning, and about one complete day a month, plus the time spent teaching. On Sundays I only teach, usually, and on Mondays, I can only do about 6 hours.

Maybe, instead of working this way, I need to work with weekly amounts. Then I could spend a whole day reading! I don't know. There's still a lot I'd like to get done that I'm not getting to.

Ever feel like that? I'm still in search of the "done for the day" feeling. How do you get that feeling? How do you budget your writing time?

And how in the world do you get everything done???

I'll leave you with what Meg Cabot is saying about rejection here:

26 bonus scribbles:

Melanie Avila 11/09/2008 05:36:00 PM  

Well of course she's 70, how else would she have 50 books? (really, that many?) Sheesh.

A couple months ago I told myself I needed to put together a schedule to keep track of my different projects. I'd envisioned it kind of like a high school class schedule, just with fewer classes. I didn't do it for various reasons, but I think I'll need to do that once NaNo is over.

I think if you can swing it, a weekly schedule would work well, as long as you stick with your designated hours. If you're allowed 15 hours of reading per week and are feeling really uninspired one day, you can read ALL DAY, but then you can't anymore. It could work...

Robin 11/09/2008 05:52:00 PM  

I don't think you allowed time to go to the bathroom in there, Spy. Wow! (That's all I can say.) I think you're super organized. It inspires me.

I just sort of float along after work and do whatever I feel like doing if the mood hits me. That's not awfully productive. The mood often hits me to take a nap. NaNo was really tough for me.

I'm going to get on the stick and put at least 2 good hours aside for writing each night. That shouldn't be too hard. I putter away 2 hours worth of time without a blink.

You go, Girl!

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 06:07:00 PM  

ROFL, Melanie! SO true! And remember, she said that she's written as many that she hasn't sold, so that put her at least 80 or 100 or so!

I keep telling myself to make a schedule every day. I crave it, but I'm not good at keeping it.

Every day is a work in progress, I think...

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 06:19:00 PM  

Robin, totally not super organized. I have super intentions, though!

Although, I don't have much else of a life. I teach, I write, and that's what I do. Once a month or so I might do some volunteering for one org or another. I wish I had kids, but I don't. I wish I could do taekwondo, but my foot can't, yet.

I keep thinking I need to find a way for off-time, but I can't figure out a place to put it, LOL. And if I have off-time I feel guilty for not working.

Eric Mayer,  11/09/2008 07:06:00 PM  

Impressive. I could never plan on daily basis. I pretty much know when my deadlines are and try to finish a bit ahead of them. Generally I'll spend the whole day on one project and if I have time, or energy, do a little blogging or reading. I don't multi-task well.

Rick 11/09/2008 07:07:00 PM  

Can I steal your schedule? It's really great!

And "every day is a work in progress" is a wonderful phrase that is now taped on the wall over my laptop. Thanks for the marvelously inspiring thought.

lainey bancroft 11/09/2008 08:20:00 PM  

Hot damn! She looks good for 70, doesn't she?

"I'm still in search of the "done for the day" feeling. How do you get that feeling?"

If you find it, please do tell! I think that is the main reason I don't sleep, or I sleep with one eye open...because I am forever thinking of the things I didn't quite knock off the list and trying to devise a way to fit them in to tomorrows list.

You're way ahead of me. At least you're thinking up ways to combat
the insanity and fit everything in. I feel like the little silver thing in a pinball machine (yeah, I'm no spring chicken, I played pinball, not video games)I ping from writing-business-editing-marketing-queries-research-other get the idea.

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 08:25:00 PM  

Eric, this is what I SHOULD do every day, not what I do. It's what I aim for. So don't be impressed yet, LOL.

I'm thinking I should do as you do: chunk it more weekly. I have a one-track mind. I'll keep tweaking!

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 08:28:00 PM  

LOL, Rick, I'm sure I heard it somewhere else first. :-)

Steal away! I think I'm going to tweak it. Do you see why I have problems with schedules?

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 08:32:00 PM  

Lainey, I am dying for the done for the day feeling. I have to figure this out, because it's driving me crazy!

And I used to LOVE pinball. Is it just me, or have they made those pinball machines impossible nowadays? I used to be able to play for hours, but these ones give you no choice but to lose.

Edie 11/09/2008 08:59:00 PM  

Spy, I love your schedule! I'm going to make one up and put down a minimum of the time that I'll write my wip. I should run this like a business. It's what I want it to be.

Great video! Meg Cabot always makes me laugh.

Zoe Winters 11/10/2008 08:04:00 AM  

50 books? Holy crap! I probably won't write 50 books in my lifetime.

My days roll something like this (when everything is going right. ha!)

* Writing or editing whatever project I'm on. (I used to write a rough draft while editing something else, but now I have a backlog of rough drafts, so there won't be anymore rough draft fiction for awhile til I catch up.)

* Blogging and checking blogs. (And I've got 71 blog posts in my queue now. It's ridiculous. I need to go and weed out the really stupid ones.)

* Writing pages for my indie website.

* Random stuff: sometimes it's some kind of design something or other, sometimes it's just random business crap.

* Cooking and cleaning. you know, like a "proper" wife. :P

Zoe Winters 11/10/2008 08:05:00 AM  

Lainey, at the end of the day, I take my marked off list, and whatever I didn't get done, I shift it to the next days list and I write the list down for the next day. It's the only way I can sleep knowing I've got everything covered.

spyscribbler 11/10/2008 08:54:00 AM  

Edie, that's a great attitude! I've been trying to be more productive.

Meg Cabot is such a charismatic person. I loved her video!

spyscribbler 11/10/2008 08:57:00 AM  

Zoe, my dream is to write at least 100 novels. Who knows if I'll get there. :-)

I start with editing, too, but I kinda consider that part of my writing process. I sure hate the random stuff, and despise the cooking and cleaning. *sigh*

But you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Billy 11/10/2008 11:14:00 AM  

I can only compose in the first 4 or 5 hours of the morning. I leave the late afternoons and early evenings for proofing what I've done and planning the next day's chapter(s). But I can't seem to fit in poetry, marketing, and experimentation like I want. I need a 26 hour day and, as the Beatles said, 8 days a week. Like Wordsworth said, "the world is too much with us."

Zoe Winters 11/10/2008 05:25:00 PM  

hehe I don't mind cleaning. It's relaxing, and a good way for me to get out of my head.

Kath Calarco 11/10/2008 06:59:00 PM  

If I had a schedule I'd find a way to stray from it. Maybe if I didn't have "eye-interruptus" all the time I'd be more able to accomplish things according to a table. Not so much now... :(

Stewart Sternberg 11/10/2008 10:22:00 PM  

Hmmmm...first I take off my pants (I can't write in pants). I like to follow this up with an hour of videogaming, web surfing, reading, more videogaming, and then a little tv. If I have time left...I write. Doesn't sound too productive does it? Sometimes I surf for porn, but...lately that hasn't helped either.

Aimless Writer 11/11/2008 07:01:00 AM  

Schedule? What's that? I'm trying to figure it out, but life keeps getting in the way...

Melanie Avila 11/11/2008 10:22:00 AM  

Umm, hello? I need a new Spy post.


spyscribbler 11/11/2008 12:32:00 PM  

Billy, amen to that! And funny, I couldn't remember what I wanted to write about today, but now I do, LOL. It's so true about the mornings. I'm the same way, even though I'm not a morning person.

I get my best writing done before noon, definitely. At any other time, I need caffeine.

spyscribbler 11/11/2008 12:32:00 PM  

Kath, I'm the same way. I can't tell you how much I dream of a schedule!

spyscribbler 11/11/2008 12:33:00 PM  

HAH! Stewart, that cracks me up! I forgot to include the hour or two it takes me to "warm up:" playing games, surfing the net, etc.

spyscribbler 11/11/2008 12:33:00 PM  

Aimless, isn't that the truth? LOL!

spyscribbler 11/11/2008 12:34:00 PM  

ROFL, Melanie! Your wish is my command. I couldn't remember what I wanted to talk about, so it was a wimpy one, but of course now that I just pressed publish, I remembered what I wanted to talk about.