This year I decided not to do NaNoWriMo despite my success at doing the challenge the last four years. Mostly because my time schedule just wouldn’t allow for it. I resigned myself to “hopefully” completing rewrites/edits for two chapters of my current novel in progress, and I figured that would be a stretch.
I got four chapters done.
Freaking awesome. I know. Sure it may not be much, but I doubled my best case scenario expectations. And it feels good. It feels real good. How did I do it? How was I able to go from my recent writing norm of completing maybe one chapter a month to four? And still not skimp on my other “paying” work that needed to be done. Well, I changed things up a bit.
I know my schedule isn’t the same as everyone elses. I have some flexibility when it comes to my day to day routine, because I work from home. Granted, I still have certain things I have to do and deadlines I have to meet, but for the most part I can move things around as needed. So that was a big help in factoring the change, but there was a reason I needed to make the change.
My problem came in the form of having too much creative work to do. In my home “job” I do graphic/web design and some editing (and slush reading now too). I love what I do, but it can often get in the way of actually getting any real work done.
How is that?
Well, I have a horrendous time moving from one project to another. It’s difficult to stop writing when I’m in the groove and it’s terribly trying to get back in the groove once I’ve been out even for just a day or two. And the same goes for my designing work, and to some degree the editing too. In doing creative things, it requires me to get into a certain depth to do any decent work. And sometimes I find myself wishing I did something less taxing mentally and creatively, but then I wouldn’t enjoy what I do!
Gah. It was an exasperating dilemma let me tell you. I didn’t feel like I got anything done because I had to constantly keep switching back and forth between writing, designing, and editing.
Recently an idea came to me. Why can’t I have more time to work on certain projects at a time, so that I don’t waste so much energy trying to switch from one gear of thought to another? Why can’t I work on writing projects one week and my design projects another week? The way my deadlines currently fall, I should be able to do exactly that and have the time necessary to work on everything, but at a more in-depth manner. But still it was a risk and my first thought was… what if I don’t get the paying work done?
But guess what?
It worked. Quite well. To the point that in the month of November I doubled my output in writing and managed to get more than expected done with the design projects I had lined up and I met the deadlines for all my editing projects with no problem. Who would of thought?
I can’t say I will keep this schedule forever. As my work changes, so will my schedule, but the fact is I finally found something that works for me.
And so can you.
It’s that old question that every writer runs into at some point or another… Do I really have time to write? And the answer is… If you love it, then yes. You will find time to write.
There is a schedule out there that works. It’s just a matter of finding it. Be willing to mix things up. Dare yourself to try a different way of doing things. I don’t know about you, but I get so wrapped up in the “routine” that changing that routine can get a little scary, but if I hadn’t taken the risk of changing my schedule I never would have found a way that works for me.
Writing is important, even if it’s just writing for yourself. So I dare you to find the time to write.