We’re all here to improve our writing, and most of us spend the majority of our hours each day doing something other than writing. We carve writing time out of corners and lost sleep.
We write stealthily at desks on our lunch breaks and sneaking time throughout the day.
We write frantically while watching the clock during naptime, trading folded laundry or a scrubbed toilet for a couple hundred more words.
We write with laptops on the couch at night, relinquishing the remote and falling into the world unfolding under our fingertips.
Schedule time to write. The advice seems simple in a way that makes sense, simple enough to make me take it seriously this winter as I felt overwhelmed with the different projects filling my planner.
Schedule time to write. During the holidays, I evaluated priorities and tidily mapped out a writing schedule, one that balanced my priorities in a workable manner.
Schedule time to write. One of the cornerstones of my writing schedule involves getting up before dawn to run, so that I can spend my evenings with my laptop, my plot notes, and my editorial schedule.
Armed with my lavender Flair written notes, I sat down to write this post. I was skipping through fields of daisies, hand-in-hand with my writing schedule. My to-do list was manageable; my highlighters were being used to colorfully cross off completed tasks.
Then January 9th happened.
My children tag-teamed for a night of almost constant wake-ups, culminating with my crying toddler clutching my arm as my alarm pinged at me mockingly, as though I’d been sleeping. I missed my morning workout.
A copy editing assignment came in, always welcome, but threatening to dominate my planned writing time that evening.
After midnight, temples pounding, my scheduled two hours of writing loomed, untouched, in front of me. I contemplated staying up later, producing tired, disjointed material, just to keep my schedule highlighted.
I couldn’t publish a glowing endorsement of my writing schedule when I was shifting things around nine days into my plan.
Despite the missed two hours of writing, my writing schedule is already shaping my writing path for the year. It’s a visual representation of where I need to focus my energies.
Previously, after missing a night of writing, I would find myself meandering around, visiting Twitter, going over notes, scribbling edits on unimportant projects.
Having a physical writing schedule meant on January 10th, I had a specific plan for the evening. I could see what I missed the night before and slide things around to make them fit, albeit raggedly, stealing time during the day to read and comment on blogs so I could write during the evening time I had allotted for catching up with blogs.
Doubt still nudges at my colored pens, protesting that a prescribed schedule could hinder creativity, stifling the freedom to just sit down and let words flow.
In a few weeks or months, I may lay down my highlighters in defeat, my schedule trampled by too many days like January 9th. Middle of the night scrambling and copious caffeine may again become my norm.
But tonight, I look to my schedule, glance at the clock, and cross another thing off my to-do list.
Do you have a writing schedule? What do you do when it falls off the tracks?