So is this a new schedule update or a new schedule update?
Just pretend it’s either. It is a new schedule, and this is a new update.
Here’s the thing: I really like the new schedule. Here’s the next thing: I haven’t been able to stick to it for an entire day once since I set it. Not all three blocks for all three 2 hour sessions. That was Sunday. This is Wednesday.
Today I’ve managed to miss hitting the 2 hour goal for the first block (by 14 minutes) and skip the second block of time (1:00–3:30) altogether. I’m still okay for the third block to start at 6:00 and run to 8:30, so that’s good, but I really need to make up that second block, so I’ve planned to give it a second attempt at 9:00 pm.
If all this is true, why do I like this schedule?
- Because I really feel the need for structured work hours right now, while everything else seems to unstructured around me (and it is).
- Because it’s helping me rein in the time I spend not writing during writing time.
- Because it’s nice to have time where I don’t expect myself to be writing.
I have a new writing schedule. I wasn’t sure I was going to try a schedule again so soon, but I realized I just wasn’t getting anything done without one right now. So I created this one. (I’ve been sick and I’ve found it’s really hard to work when you feel sick.)
9 to 11:30
1 to 3:30
6 to 8:30
Of course, I keep finding myself wanting to push all the writing time closer together, with very short breaks between, but I stop myself, because it feels pretty obvious to me that one reason this one is working for me (and it really is at the moment) is because of those generous breaks. They give me time to breathe and they help keep writing from feeling like all work and no play.
My goal for each 2.5 hour block is finishing a 2 hour timed session, during which I pause for breaks and come right back to the computer.
I didn’t finish all the time yesterday, and I haven’t (and won’t) finish it all today, but I have finished considerably more than I’ve been doing and I’m really happy with that.
In my post about how moderation doesn’t work for me, I laid out a plan for an experiment with abstinence and a strict adherence to my schedule.
It’s been a few days. And yeah. Some of it’s working out pretty well. Some of it isn’t.
Here are the details.
The no sweets experiment is going well, if you ignore the fact that I’m having a ridiculous number of cravings. Weight is down about four pounds and I’m eating anything I want except sweets and obvious junk like potato chips (which I don’t eat often anyway). I am definitely not going hungry.
The schedule experiment still hasn’t taken off, and today doesn’t seem poised to change that. Still, I’m going to get some writing done, because I want to and that’s going to be enough to get me to the computer at 2. (I’ve already missed the window for the 8-11 block, as it’s 12:57 PM right now.)
I haven’t relapsed with the coffee, despite several strong cravings.
I haven’t been back to Kboards or TPV.
I’ve stuck to the new food rules and avoided sweets entirely, with the exception of a teaspoon of honey each day (in some yogurt and orange spice tea). Weight is going down, if I can trust the scale after only two days.
The schedule is working well. Sort of. I worked all day yesterday during my work time and during some make up time for the day before. HOWEVER, almost none of that time was writing. What time I did spend writing was spent editing a few bits of the story that weren’t going right and all I did was lose words.
Today I need to prioritize writing over other work.
I did come to a decision on one of my series book cover redesigns. I’ve been unable to make a commitment to a style for the typography—every time I do, I second guess myself. This has taught me one thing: writing isn’t the only place where I let perfectionism hold me back. So yesterday, after an entire day of trying changes that just didn’t work, I decided to stick with what I have and move forward with it.
Because of that decision, I now have two covers complete, one almost complete, and a draft version of two more. I’m going to load the covers as soon as possible, to stop myself from more of this waffling.
Until the covers and files are done and loaded everywhere, I’m making this my focus for the “after writing” time I’m hoping to have soon.
Anyway, I started writing this post with a 15 minute timer running and I’m down to less than two minutes. Time to get writing some fiction. :)
So today I’ve already had to make an adjustment to the schedule (but only for today) because I rose late and I’m not getting started at 7 am.
The first thing I decided was that I’m going to have to have some rules for adjustments. :)
Rules for adjustments to the schedule
- Lost time should be made up in the same day.
- Lost time should be added to the end of the 1–3 time block.
- The 11 am to 1 pm break should stay the same no matter what time I get started.
- Assume there’s an “if possible” tacked on to the end of every rule above. :)
Benefits of the rules
- Sticking to the planned number of hours of work gives me plenty of time to meet my writing goals: 3,233 words a day, 98,333 words a month, 1,180,000 words a year. If it’s ever going to happen, I’ve got to guard the time I need for it.
- Even if I skip my entire morning, I’ll still only have to work until 7 pm to make it up! Meaning I don’t even have to take a break for supper because although I don’t like eating late, 7 pm isn’t too late. ;)
- A simple, recurring lunch schedule throughout the summer means my children can plan to have lunch with me if they want without having to wait to see what kind of work day I’m having. At their ages, they don’t always want, but sometimes they do.
- Having some leeway in the application of the rules always makes me feel better.
I’m feeling hopeful about this schedule. I’m also not feeling pressured the way I usually feel, even though I’ve already messed up with today’s late start, so I’m hoping that’s a sign of good things to come from this experiment!