I'm curious. I read somewhere one should write regularly, a thousand words a day I think it said. I've been trying and failing miserably to set a daily regular writing discipline. When I write it's several hours at a time, then a day or three thinking, maybe researching or editing, then another concentrated spurt. I'm wondering if that's a natural pattern I should just learn to live with.
Part of my problem is that when I get in the zone I hate leaving it. Sometimes I don't even start because I can't bear the thought of getting into the zone and having to quit before I'm done.
So, when do you write? Do you have a daily discipline? How do you balance the needs of work, family, play and writing?
No, if I did then I wouldn't have time to do karate, something of which keeps me sane.
quote:How do you balance the needs of work, family, play and writing?
I still live at home with my family and they know that if my bedroom door is shut they leave me alone. I also have some time between finishing work and karate to spend some time writing, though procrastination has been quite present for the last few months.
I do spend time with the family but I like my privacy so I usually try and avoid my family as well Though not every one is like me.
In my life, I have about an hour, hour and a half, each night to write my story ideas which amounts to about 65 single spaced pages a month. My story writing itself, has to be slipped in if I somehow have spare time, or sometimes on weekend.
Of course, I am single and don't have guests comming over so my place looks like a batchlor pad.
edited to fix page count
[This message has been edited by rstegman (edited September 02, 2007).]
Any spare moment I get. Early morning, evenings, late nights, any time.
Do I have a daily discipline?
Sometimes. When I want to write a novel or get a rewrite finished then yes, I do. If I'm editing, then I try to do as little as possible. I hate editing.
How do I balance the needs of work, family play and writing?
I'm at home looking after my autistic daughter when she's not at college so when she needs time, I give it to her, which is why I haven't gotten much written this school holiday! Writing is my play. I'd rather sit at home, write and listen to music than go out of an evening.
Under the writing technology I posted how I write - for me it is analagous to the archetypal man coming home plopping on the couch and turning on the TV to his show(s) of choice.
Rather unsocial of me. And I do hate breaking away (Dinner? Do I have to eat, honey?). It's the little (or large) OCD tendency, I suspect.
Anyway, the laptop (when I'm home) sits on it's perch at the side of the couch, ready to respond to my desire to type anytime I have a moment to resume couch position.
Actually, today I think I write the icecream story my daughter likes so much (in which the mother lets the daughter fix the ice cream dessert because she can't be bothered to get up from the computer).
Tomorrow. Tomorrow is always a better time to do most things . . . except for procrastination. I never procrastinate tomorrow when I can procrastinate today.
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Often as not, I do it at the end of the day---the end of my day, which usually comes to an end sometime in the early afternoon 'cause I gotta get up 'round eight PM and get ready for work (five days out of seven). Usually it's the last big thing I do...after which I turn off the computer, go through my usual weird going-to-bed rituals, and then actually go to bed.
Once in a while, I get to it first thing, especially if I know I've got a lot of stuff to do in the day ahead of me.
I wrote most of "Church of the Bitter Raygun" in my head last night, when Chuck and I went out to dinner. When we came back home, I whipped out the laptop and got it "pinned" so to speak, and posted it here. This morning I'll have another cup or two of coffee, and then see if I can conclude. I usually "daydream" my stories and then get them on paper, so I can do that anywhere. My laptop is very slow, so sometimes I'll be reading a book between pulling up pages or researching something.
I don't have a word count goal for myself, so much. If I get the idea in my head, it will drive me crazy until I get it out. And I have gotten pretty hooked on sharing with others and getting feedback. I had written an entire novel that no one else had read prior to my finishing it, so this immediate feedback thing is pretty addictive.
[This message has been edited by debhoag (edited September 02, 2007).]
I try to write every morning for a half hour or so before work. Then, most of the time I'll write again for an hour or so after work. Sometimes I'll do a little over lunch.
I don't have too strict a regimen. I like it enough that finding time is not too big a problem. I do sometimes have to push myself when I have something I need to get finished. 1000 words a day is about the best I can average over any sustained time, and that's pretty hard for me. I think the most I've ever done in a day is only about 3000, and that was the day I finished the first draft of my novel.
I allow myself to take one day off each weekend. I don't always do it, but it's there as an option when my mind gets weary.
edit: oh yeah, about the "zone". I don't even think about it. I just put in my time. If it happens, great, but I would never not write because of worrying about it.
[This message has been edited by dee_boncci (edited September 02, 2007).]
I used to think I was a nighttime writer, since I usually felt more awake in the evenings, with school and work behind me and time to relax.
But this summer I learned I'm actually a morning writer. I have to set my alarm for a decent hour (usually 8:30), make some caffeinated tea, and sit down in front of the laptop. Mornings are better for getting the requisite 1,000 daily words, while evenings are better for brainstorming multiple projects and doing editing.
I hate leaving The Zone, too, and I've found it's really easy to throw me out of it. The most well-meaning intrusion ("Want to go head out for dinner?") can act like a log tossed at the spokes of the ol' creative wheel.
But, I never let my dislike of getting pulled from The Zone stop me from getting into it. That sounds like a big block that needs to be broken through, TaleSpinner. I hope you find something that works for you. I'd make suggestions, but it's so different for everyone - you just have to fuss around and find the schedule that works for you. When I'm really stuck, and not getting any words out, I change locations - from the bedroom to the kitchen, to the sofa, to the back yard, to the library downtown. A hunt for good 'writing mojo,' I guess.
I've recently turned a corner where I feel this question is a little like "When do you eat" or "When do you sleep." I don't mean to make anyone feel bad about not having an innate need to write. And I have gone through periods of my life when I wasn't eating or sleeping as much as I perhaps should.
Like just today I woke up at 5:45 and couldn't get back to sleep. On a holiday Monday. Grrr.
When do I write? I'm in a schooltype setting, I write whenever I can find time even if it's only enough time to pound out two double spaced pages. Writing keeps me sane, and I annoy my family and friends with stories if I don't write. I'm sorry for my roommate because I haven't had access to a writing program on my new laptop for a few days, but I've got one and my story itch has been scratched. Even if you're not in the 'zone' I find a few songs that remind me of my story and I'll pound out more details in my plots. By that time I'm either in the zone, or i've accomplished enough that my consience can rest easy.
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"debhoag" mentioned writing in the head---I do that all the time...at work, in the car to-and-from, at home, in bed just before I'm going to sleep. The latter-mentioned tend towards the lurid and raunchy, though. Weird thing---in the last couple of years, four or five of those kind of stories have been crystallizing with characters and settings, and I've actually managed to pin three of them down to the printed word. Once I've done that, I'm only rarely haunted by them anymore...
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So you pin the going-to-bed stories down on paper and they get published, and then they have dozens, hundreds, even thousands of minds to disrupt...
Was going to continue on with some mental meanderings involving succubi and multiplication thereof, but that would be sure to get edited...
I've decided that is a reason that I like having my Xanga and being content with a simple word processing program (even notepad in a pinch). That means that I can electronically create anytime there is a functioning (preferably internet-wired) electronic doohickey nearby. And photocopiers are wonderful for obtaining blank paper in a pinch. Then all I need to carry with me is a pen.
Robert Nowall and debhoag were having that 'writing in one's head' conversation:
quote:writing in MY head, not THE head! Although bathtub time works for me
I went back to Robert's post and couldn't stop laughing for five minutes.
By the time I could do more than cry and squeek, my daughters were rather concerned. So I tried to explain. And my college-aged daughter looked at me sideways, telling me that she'd never heard the bathroom referred to as a 'head,' and that it must be something limited to my generation. I await with baited breath the result of her inevitable query to her assorted friends.
Well, when I write in the head, I find I get distracted easy. I do a lot of reading there, though.
(There's a news story this last week or so---you've probably seen it---where one of the angles is that a police department pays a guy to do nothing but sit on a toilet all day long. Where was this job when I was looking? I could really use it some days...)
Every free moment, I write. I'm taking Kevin J. Anderson's advice: Got a recording device for plotting ideas, and any thoughts I have during my morning exercise. I have a pad in my glovebox and my living room. I keep a laptop with me most times, and this computer (at work) is always on. Being my own boss has its advantages. Every free moment, when I'm waiting for the doctor, dinner, in bed, when it's slow at work, I'll utilize the time.
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At the moment, I don't have a good writing discipline for myself, but I want to start. My co-writer and I want to start to have a combined word count of 1,000 words a day, 4 times a week. I'm also trying to do 15 minutes of free writing in the morning everyday to warm up the old muscle in the head.
It's a little different, I think, writing with a co-writer though, as we need to coordinate when we write on our projects together; our current style is to work on the same part of the story at the same time, to make sure our 'voice' is unified, and so far that works out as far as the quality of the output. Our last book took us forever to finish, though, which is why we have decided to commit to a daily word minimum. We'll see how that works out.
I do think one should try to write regularly. I know it's helped me. Writing is like a muscle--you have to exercise and discipline it, and daily is probably best. When I'm working on a first draft I write like crazy--as soon as my husband leaves for work in the morning I'm at my computer typing away. I try not to let anything stop me. At minimum I try to do a couple hours a day, or set a word count goal (5,000 words). I don't wait until I _feel_ like writing.
I do like to write in my head, but I've trained myself to jot it down as soon as possible. I know from experience how bad my memory is, and that fleeting story idea that I swear I will remember... well, it's gone for forever. When I'm in the thick of a book I work on it all the time, mulling it over in my head, thinking about the characters.
Having said that, though, this whole rewriting thing has me confounded. I've yet to find a routine that works for it. But I still try to work on it every day. The temptation is always to write a new story, and experience that glowing rush.