My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Face Flop (Personal Update)

Image description: Writer Chris looking a little tired.
Really Rough Draft  

Raw unfettered shit-  24,262 (Last week 19,084)[Just this week- 5178]  

Slightly polished turd- 12,402 (Last week 10,248)  [Just this week- 2154] 

I knew last week was going to be a tire fire, but it turned out to be a little bit worse than I even expected. As you can see, I got a little bit of raw copy punched out (and four out of five days of blog posts) but everything just kind of fell further into the dumpster fire as the week went on. I blew a post off on Friday and tried to get it up Saturday, I was sitting at my computer, after about five PM and thinking, "What am I doing? Even if I get this post up by sheer force of will, no one is going to be online to see it. Stop trying to make Fetch happen Gretchen! It's never going to happen!"

A few of good things came out of this spectacular face flop of a week.

1-  The Hall of Rectitude is through their crime fighting anniversary party. Nothing quite so "unexpected tag in" should be happening in the foreseeable future.

2- I learned that I cannot accurately gauge how bad a bad week is going to be. However bad I think it's going to be, it will be far, far worse, and I should prepare three times as much writing ahead as I think I'm going to need.

3- I have reorganized my writing time completely. The only time I'm reliably able to write at the same time every day is before noon, so my new writing time is from 6am to noon. Every. Single. Day. It means I'm not going to be the world's nightiest of owls (which goes against some of my personal highest productivity time), but I don't seem to be able to reliably walk in the door after a full day's work and put in more writing hours like I need to be doing to have a night schedule. Instead I'll walk in and flomph into bed, and the next morning will be the writing time.

4- I'm going to sit down with a date book and start planning out the posts of the week again. I got out of the habit of that when I was hanging onto life by one claw like a cat in a screen door, but now that time is coming back, this seat-of-the-pants shit is just disorganized. That'll probably mean we'll get much better about our posts conforming to a schedule around here.

5- Wrecking Ball has returned. It's probably time to finish up that story.

My "lesson" this week should be pretty easy to see coming and even easier to parse. Sometimes you have to be willing to completely overhaul what isn't working. If you don't have the financial clout to make your schedule do what you want, you might have to do what your schedule wants.

If you've got too much shit at night, write in the morning (even if night is your best time).  If life is just too unpredictable during the day, you carve out some time at night and write then. Wake up early. Stay up late. Claim that four hour spot from the time you get home until you have to cook dinner. Do whatever you have to do to set aside some time that doesn't get nibbled on by chores or work or social time or anything, and say, "This is for me. This is writing time. Stay away!"

And yes, even paid writers making money and even the professional working writers I know often come out of life shake ups with a different enough schedule that they have to work around it. (Especially when kids pop onto the scene. They ruin everything in the nicest ways.) All artists hit that point where they say "This is fucked and it's not self-correcting."  And the question is whether they will keep trying to jam that square peg into a clichè hole while they lose more and more productivity, or will they do whatever it takes to find the time to deliberately, consciously unfuck their creative time.

P.S. Our October poll for Best Horror Novel/Novella should be up in the next hour or so. Stay tuned.

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