Timing, that is. This last week, I’ve been pushing really hard to finish up my science fiction project, and I’ve come to notice a lot about my writing habits. Specifically, what times of day work best for the creating of things and doing of stuff.
It bears mentioning that the schedule I’m about to describe is definitely for “at leisure” days, of which I have an overabundance right now. All of the following should not be taken as my normal “work for employers” behavior, since that’s more of an always on activity. But here’s what I’m up to right now.
Mornings for me are about revisions and theory crafting. I can get words out, but they’re slow in coming, and at best I’m getting a couple thousand good ones into the work. But over that same period, I can skim a 100K word manuscript for problems, and I often find places that I can shine up to brilliance that I’ll completely overlook during the rest of the day. Yesterday it was reorganizing chapters already written, and today it was a condensing of the action bits I’ve yet to write. 6 left to go out of 42, in case anyone’s interested, and it’s more or less all action right up till the end.
On days when I’m just not feeling it, I do household chores or yardwork during this time, or reading. Over the last two weeks, I’ve read a whole bunch of science fiction, to keep my brain in the right place.
After noon, I do a bit better, but moreso because I’m hungry than anything else. When I’m really moving on a piece, I tend to skip meals, and unfortunately my hydration suffers as well. This often leads to headaches like the one I’m sporting now, but also to some really emotional scenes, so it’s a good tradeoff. Mostly. Hold on, I need a glass of water and some happy pills.
Okay, so that just happened. I’m wearing contact lenses instead of my glasses today, and walking around the house just now I kept seeing something floating in front of my face. It wasn’t a pixie or bug, for which I’m very grateful. (Once you’ve got pixies, they’re really hard to get rid of.) But despite my best efforts at batting this little bit of blackness away from my face, it just wouldn’t go away. So I reasoned that it must have been something wrong with the soft lens, and as I was preparing to remove it for a stern talking-to, I noticed in the mirror that the offending object was in fact one of my eyelashes sticking out at an odd angle. Some smoothing occurred, and then me and my water are back here writing.
It bears mentioning that when I’m hungry, sometimes I get a bit distracted. Hold on, my food’s beeping at me.
Delicious. I’m eating at my desk, of course, because afternoons are about networking. Specifically, I write my best blogs between 1 and 4 PM, which lets me do some research and pull in all sorts of helpful links for your entertainment pleasure. On days with no blogging. I use this time for outlining, and whatever maintenance work I need to do on the website, as well as catching up on the internets.
I’d like to tell you that I avoid social media before this time of day, but I don’t want to chance a visit from these fellas when I’m so close to the end of this project.
Today, I’m heading out to take in a movie, as a reward for the progress I’ve been making. I’m there right now, in fact, since I used the time described above to set up all sorts of timey wimey stuff. Sometimes I’ll play a game or two after lunch, or watch some recorded shows. Possibly more reading, but I like to keep the brain in neutral to let it recharge if I can, because hands down the best time of all for me to write is in the evening.
I’ve tried it every which way, but I seem to really switch into high gear after 6 PM. This works out well when I’ve got a day job (any day now, any day), but if I’ve spent the morning and afternoon greasing the creative wheels, I can get as many as 10K words out by bed time. My biggest day ever saw 22K hit the page, and the biggest portion of them happened after dinner. Something about the night time means writing to me, and I’m kicking myself for all those years when I’d spend those hours out and about with a tasty beverage. 2012 and 2013 come to mind, but February did see some pretty good writing occur when drinking at home instead of with others.
So here’s hoping that by this time next week, this book will be wrapped up in a nice, big, publisher-friendly bow. I have a feeling about July that I can’t quite put my finger on, but the general impression is pretty good and has a lot of somebody else’s money heading into my pockets.
At least, that’s what the pixies tell me.