Mike and I had a talk over a bottle of wine this weekend. My hubby is the best, most supportive guy in the world. He didn't say to me, “Go get a job.” He never does. But he did say some other things, like “You're spinning your wheels.” How can he tell? Because, he says, when I'm working on something and I'm deep into it, I'm bouncing off the walls when he gets home (in a happy way). Apparently, I haven't been bouncing lately.
So then we discussed our routines. He has specific things he does at work, from the moment he gets his coffee to everything else that happens in his day. At the end of the day, he makes a list of things that he has to do tomorrow. Sometimes, all goes well. Other times, he gets thrown off by an early meeting or an urgent directive from higher up. He understands distractions, but thinks I have too many of them.
My routine consists of coffee, email and blogs. Then comes the writing (my brain won't leap right into the story; I need warmup time). But sometimes I get sidetracked by massive amounts of email I must answer (chapter business), and then I get caught following the loops, which in itself can be frustrating and time consuming. Sometimes I think I should take myself off digest on these things. Except Chaplink.
Anyway. Ahem. I don't shower at a set time. I like the part about being able to write in my jammies, but Mike says I should get “ready” for work. One writer I know gets up, showers, does her hair and makeup, puts on her jewelry, and goes to her home office (she puts comfy sweat clothes on though). I am NOT putting on makeup and jewelry for writing, though I could be persuaded to give the early shower a try. 🙂 I like being an unwashed unpublished (just kidding, Diana!) but I'll see if washing helps me think better. Ha!
We talked about how long the email/blogs takes. I think it averages around 3 hours a morning. Mike said, “That's almost half the work day gone.” Whoa, I never thought of it that way.
He's right, darn him. He says I should look at my day and set it up with 4 hours dedicated to the book, 4 hours to the thesis (which will be over soon enough anyway, especially if I get off my ass and finish it), and take breaks like I would at a job. I can save the house cleaning/laundry/reading/etc until evening. I should either limit the morning email/blog routine, or move it to evening. Yikes.
Now, I've explained that the creative brain doesn't necessarily work when you force it to. Sometimes, you have to stare off in space. He agrees. But, he says, he wants me to give it a try, see if I can work with a new routine. I think he's right, so I'm trying it. Can't hurt.
I'm also taking a hard look at the “other” things I do. I'm going to have to eliminate or cut down some of them. For instance, my Wed night writers' group (we spend a lot of time talking). Once a week is too much for me right now. I have too many irons in the fire (and an impending inlaw visit, part of which will be spent cruising the islands on the Pride of Aloha). I need to finish this book. I want the thesis done before the cruise. I also have personal tasks that need completing. My husband is understanding and supportive, but I know he'd like it if I could manage to spend time with him and take care of household things here and there. No one likes eating soup or grilled chicken 7 nights a week. 🙂
Interestingly, PBW was talking about prioritizing recently:
Make the work the first priority. I know I keep harping on this, but the writing has to come first. When you're not writing, someone else is. When you're not pitching, someone else is. When you're off getting drunk in the Tiki bar at Paradise Con, someone else is at home mailing out a submission to your editor, or querying your agent.
Oh dear, certainly makes you stop and think, huh? (I can't believe anyone writes this woman hatemail! I love reading her posts.) Writing comes first (or as soon after coffee and limited emailing/blogging as possible). All else is secondary.
Is there anything you've eliminated to get the writing done? Any routine you've hit on that works for you? Share away! I can always use ideas. 🙂