Tayari suggested in her initial post on WRITELIKECRAZY to make a plan as a writer and honor that process.
As mentioned earlier this month, mine was to write for at least an hour a day, every day. No ifs, ands, buts or conveniently timed naps or Internet searching. It was the most realistic for me in terms of timing that I could do it during my lunch break or on the subway ride(s) to/from work and not feel bad about not having wrote for the day if I at least hit my mark.
For the most part it worked! I admit there were about two days over the month of August that I didn't write at all and then there were another two where I wrote for less than 60 minutes because I was really tired or lethargic or just over writing that day. But 4 out of 31 days is not bad!
My goal included editing or new writing for:
- Residency statements
- Residency portfolio submissions
- Short story collection (part of residency portfolio submissions)
- YA Novel
- Flash/Short fiction (separate from both novel & collection)
- Blog Posts
- Planning/outlining for short story collection, YA novel, or new projects percolating in that crazy, never resting mind of mine
And yes I did work a bit or a lot on all of the above.
After all is said and done I thought, "Why have I not done this before?!"
Soon after I had graduated from my MFA program I gave myself a weekly schedule where I'd write for 9 hours a week and split the time over the course of a week. That schedule fell by the wayside after a few months. But an hour a day was a realistic goal that, like Tayari said, I could honor. There were many days I did go over the hour mark, but if I didn't I wouldn't feel bad about it because I did get something done. So if I felt tired when I got home at least I got in my time at work or in the morning. And on a weekend I may have had plans with friends and could easily sneak in an hour before going out, or on my way to see them, and not feel guilty about lounging on my couch to watch Netflix or read for the remainder of the evening. I even got a good amount of blogging drafts in on days I wasn't mentally able (re: ready, willing) to tackle the larger projects.
What WRITELIKECRAZY helped me with was finding what worked for me to be able to continually be writing and actually make progress. I did finish my residency statements and have written, rewritten, and rewritten a story I am submitted for residencies and got feedback leading to (you guessed it!) more rewrites. But again rather than holing up in my apartment for a Saturday and not allowing myself to do anything but writing, leaving cleaning and cooking and meeting/speaking to the outside world by the wayside and forcing me to get a lot done in a set amount of time on a given day, having gotten in about 6 or more hours of writing during the week made weekends less stressful so that all my writing wasn't confined to a day or two days that are my only time off from work.
I hope to extend WRITELIKECRAZY past August, to make an hour of writing a daily plan like exercise. Yeah, I'll slip on days but at least knowing that I'm keeping on track 95% of the time will help me actually get things done and not necessarily be a hermit for the remainder of the years to get things done. Inspiration hits when it hits and if anything I'm tackling it one day at a time.
Hope others who have also participated in WRITELIKECRAZY have done well and realized what helps you in your writing process. And perhaps extend it to make your process more solidified in your daily life as well!