Revisiting my writing schedule

Inspired by my friend Juliette Wade’s recent post on her new writing schedule, I’ve decided to revisit my writing schedule. For a while, I would do my writing between 5-7am and generally that seemed to work out well. I don’t really mind getting up early, I’ve always been a morning person. But raising a child can wear one out, especially when there’s no room in one’s schedule for exercise. I used to be a gym rat and worked out six days a week. I don’t think I’ve done any real physical exercise in months. Months! Its a self-perpetuating phenomenon. I’ve been more tired, less able to get up early, and too worn out to work out. But I’ve been tired because I haven’t been working out.

Some time back I switched my schedule so that I wrote in the evenings and could sleep in until 6:30 or so–or however late the Little Man would allow. Turns out that doesn’t work well for me at all for a number of reasons:

  1. Chances are pretty good that I’ll be too mentally tired to write by the time all the evening chores are done
  2. When I was writing, it didn’t feel as good as those morning sessions
  3. Because of 1 and 2 I tended to distract myself on the Internet, connecting with friends and chatting with other writers–anything but writing.

So beginning next week, I’m going to go back to a modified version of my old schedule and see how that works out. The 5-7am hours are reserved for fiction-writing or activities related to it, like research. Virtually no one I know is up at 5am Eastern Time, except for maybe Cassie Alexander who seems never to sleep. Certainly Kelly and the Little Man are still sound asleep. I can get in my two hours at the start of the day when I am fresh and those little successes will hopefully build and I’ll get back into a steady writing groove. Or so I hope.

And I’ll steal borrow John Scalzi’s rule: no Internet until the day’s fiction quota is met.

Which means no checking email, blog comments, Twitter, Facebook, etc. until after I’ve finished the morning writing.

That takes care of the writing part. But there is also the exercise part. I’m older than I was when I was at the gym every day. I need the cardio exercise and the last thing I need is an injury so I’m going to start slowly, with 3 3o-minute cardio workouts each week on our elliptical machine. Gradually I’ll get up to 6-days a week and 40-minutes, which is what I was doing for cardio at the peak of my physical fitness back in 2007.

That leaves three more things to sort out:

  1. Time to write my biweekly Wayward Time Traveler column
  2. Time to read 25 pages of Astounding each day (usually my lunch hour)
  3. Time to read and comment on a couple of stories a week for the Arlington Writers Group

These three things I tend to feel behind on week-to-week and it would be nice to find a regular schedule to fit these in so that I can keep up.

You might ask about when I have time to write these blog posts, but I’ve been doing these for so long and can write them so fast that I manage to fit them into the small scraps of time that float around throughout the day.

So there you have it. Hopefully this schedule will be a self-reinforcing one. The workouts will help raise the energy level. It will become easier to be up at 5am and I’ll make more efficient use of that writing time. And maybe I’ll start producing some pretty good stories the way I used to do. And I’ll count on you to keep my honest.

4 thoughts on “Revisiting my writing schedule

  1. Sounds good, Jamie! And think – your little guy is only 2. Mine are 5 and 8 before I’m getting this handled… of course, I’m the mom without the day job, which changes the equation considerably. Good luck with your writing and thanks for mentioning me!

  2. Let me know if you’re able to keep to the rule of no internet before writing is done. I’m not so successful there…

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