I haven’t done a post about writing in a while.
Don’t get excited. This isn’t going to be one either. More of a thinking-about-getting-ready-for-writing one. And if you think that sounds like procrastination, it’s juuuust possible you’re on to something there. Nevertheless …
With Baby Duck starting school in a month, I’ve been contemplating the vast amounts of time that are about to open up for me. Well, maybe not that vast, but life will certainly be different. It will be strange and wonderful to have several hours to myself every day. Just thinking about it makes me excited, like Christmas all over again – only without all the shopping. Much better.
I want to establish a routine of writing every day. There’ve been some interesting posts on routines and organisation lately, such as Jeff Abott’s series on the organised writer, starting with this one: The Creative Habit and the Organized Writer. Over at Murderati JT Ellison has written three posts on The Writer’s Life, starting with this one. Both of them enthuse over the Getting Things Done system created by time management guru David Allen, so I bought his book (and a couple of others on time management and decluttering, which for me go hand in hand).
Yes, I’m conscious of the irony in adding to the clutter of my house with more books on decluttering. Still, I figure there are worse things to spend your money on, and they make me keen to get started. Not that getting started on new projects is usually a problem for me. It’s more the finishing I find tricky.
The idea I like best from it all so far is to have one central place to keep all your mental notes to yourself, all the flotsam of daily life – be it work, social, school or writing-related. Getting it all out of your head gets rid of the nagging worry that you’ll forget to send the money to school on the right day, or pay the Visa bill or buy flowers for Great Aunt Desdemona or whatever. And if it’s all written in the same place, whether it’s electronic or paper, you know you’re on top of it all and you can free your mind from the stress of trying to remember all these bits and pieces, and focus on whatever your real tasks are.
I’ve certainly missed my share of deadlines, only to discover the relevant piece of paper at the bottom of a pile on the kitchen bench a week later, so I’m familiar with this vague feeling of unease that I’ve forgotten something. Some things I write on the calendar, but not all, so starting tomorrow my new diary will be getting a workout. Onward and upward and all that. I’ll let you know how it goes.
If anyone else has some good organisational tips, particularly writing-related ones, I’d love to hear them.
I have a dedicated place: our spare bedroom, aka my writing office–and a dedicated time: after dinner on weekdays, the afternoon on weekends. At the writing time, I go to the writing place. It’s still possible to procrastinate, but it helps to have that daily routine.
Your post inspired me to get out my copy of Getting Things Done. After a meandering search, I found it in only the third place I looked – right after Organizing Plain and Simple, and on top of The Now Habit.
I haven’t written much at all (my blog the exception) since I lost my writing space, as one of our ducklings returned Christmas of ’07, and the spare bedroom was no longer a spare.
((happy new year))
hope the writing goes well . . .
I have a couple of things that work well for me, so I’ll share them. I have a laptop rather than a pc, which lives on a counter-top in the kitchen. I use the windows calendar, and everything is in there, from task list to every appointment (including school runs etc). I do carry a small diary around with me, and just note new stuff in there, always with a proviso that I’ll confirm once I’ve checked against the ‘master record’. It works fantastically well, and you can set reminders up to 1 week in advance for birthdays etc (useful if you’re as rubbish as me at remembering to send cards).
I find setting targets helps me with my writing, as does (as the others mentioned) having my own dedicated space where ONLY my projects are allowed (sewing, writing or otherwise) and I have a fixed time for writing that no-one is allowed to intrude into (exceptions on the grounds of imminent death or similar are permitted).
Good luck, and hope you hit your writing goals for the year.
Sounds like everyone agrees having a dedicated space is necessary. Got one of those — it’s in the corner of the family room, but that will be quiet enough when the ducklings are all off at school. Making myself go there at the dedicated time will be the trick!
Ellsea, I’ve been toying with the idea of using Outlook’s calendar and task list to organise myself. The main advantage I can see over paper is the reminder system. It’s good to hear that something like that is working so well for you.