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Friday, August 04, 2006

Adjusting Writing Habits

For the past few days I've set my alarm to get up some time between 5 and 6 AM so I could do some writing. For the past few days I've gotten up, put on the coffee, logged onto the computer, and puttered around with all kinds of "close to writing" activites (things like browse market info on the internet, correspond with other writers, scan through my multiple quick jotted "to do" lists regarding items I'd wanted to research for fiction), but no actual writing.

Now I'm worried.

I remember a time (before 1999) when I worked in Hamilton and would either get up a few hours early before getting ready for work or stay up late or whatever, to squeeze in some writing time. I recall, fondly, when Francine was tutoring in Stoney Creek several evenings each week and I would drive her to work, stop in at a Tim Hortons and write by hand for a couple of hours before picking her up again.

When I started the commute into Toronto, it didn't take long before I turned the 1.5 hours each way into useful writing time. (Since I was already getting up at 5:15 AM to get in to Toronto for 7:30, if I'd wanted to do early morning writing at home, I'd likely need to get up at 3:30 AM) But I adjusted my writing habits and actually finished the first draft of my novel "Morning Son" within the first year of my commute. But what I think I failed to recognize was how important that 3 hours per day became to me and my writing. Sure, I didn't write every single day or consistently, but I likely squeezed a good 10 hours per week to focus on writing related activities. And when I was on a roll, having those nicely sloted times secured for writing was actually quite useful.

Part of the benefit was the seclusion -- I was stuck on the train and wanted to make the best of it, and there was no internet connection or other distractions easily at hand (except for reading or fun conversation with my GO train buddies, but I learned how to be selfish and introverted when necessary to get the writing done, and hopefully didn't offend people too often)

So I find myself having to re-educate myself on how to write, or how to properly secure writing time here at home. I know I only started yesterday morning and I should have some patience, ease back into it (because I'm sure it took me a while to originally find my groove) but I'm still a little bit nervous about it. I figure if I give myself perhaps 2 to 3 weeks of experimenting on what works best, I might just rediscover a schedule that works.

And I'm really hoping to get back into the swing of things, because I have a half-finished first draft of a novel that I've let slip for over 6 months now that I'd love to get back on track and finish for November (National Novel Writing Month) -- and, yes, I know that NaNoWriMo is intended for writers to start and finish a novel entirely within a month, but I'm going to use November, and perhaps the "essense" of so many writers focusing on their work as motivation to finish off the final 40,000 or so words necessary to complete this novel.

1 comment:

lime said...

this is such an important thing to you i have no doubt you will find a good rhythm sooner rather than later. and the B & A pics below are hilarious. love em!