Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hour on, hour off

On her Throwing Up Words blog, Carol Williams discusses how she balances her writing with the rest of her life. The Utah writer and WIFYR mastermind writes for an hour then takes an hour off to deal with other things, then writes for an hour.

During that hour on, it is strictly writing, no Facebook, emails, or phone calls, “just me and the computer and the story and the best words I can put down.” She’s worked this out with her kids and they know interruptions aren’t allowed (though her girls do take precedence over anything).

When the hour is up, she can deal with cleaning or family matters or preparing dinner. She sets a timer and sixty minutes later it’s back to writing.

Carol tries to stick to this schedule but knows there are times when it is not possible. She is strict with it, yet lenient. She says that this approach makes it easier to quit when the time is up. Somedays she goes two hours on, two off.

She is a more dedicated writer than I. She writes at least for hours daily. Carol also has more publishers in her life pushing deadlines, a problem I would like to have.

I’m writing for at least an hour a day. (Most days. I was busy over Christmas and didn’t write for three days.) I set a timer and sitting at the keyboard for sixty minutes is manageable. When the writing is working, the time flies and the timer means I can get up, stretch, and move around before returning for more time. On days when I’m fighting the story, an hour with butt in chair is not terribly long, yet results in a word count.

I’m swinging between two projects, the one I started for NaNoMriMo and the one I’m sharing with my critique group. The plan is to alternate between the two. Spend one hour on one, get away form writing for a while, then spend an hour on the other.

Whatever your strategy, you have to make it work for you.

(This article also posted at

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