Monday, January 26, 2009

My muse versus time management

At the request of The Wife, I'm writing today about a piece I read on-line and how it's affected my productivity.

Corey Doctorow, a very good SF writer, posted a column on the Locus Magazine site called "Writing in the Age of Distraction" that I found very helpful. In the four or five months prior to reading it, I hadn't done much writing. As my son's primary care-giver, I never felt like I could devote the chunks of time I felt I needed to get some writing done. Before Oscar came along, writing for four or five hours at a stretch wasn't uncommon. After he was born and before The Wife returned to work, I was still getting regular two-hour writing sessions. Now-a-days, that's a rare luxury.

Doctorow's column is mostly about how to write when all around you are the distractions of the Internet, but it applies to someone with a very limited schedule, too.

The main piece of advice is to set a very regular, short schedule. He says that when he's working he only aims for a page or two a day, often only devoting twenty minutes to it. In that way he can write a novel a year, half-a-dozen columns a month and other various things.

I've taken that advice and I now use the 30-to 45 minutes I get to myself everyday while Melissa is nursing Oscar in the afternoon as writing time. Because I felt like it wasn't enough time to accomplish any writing, I used to just read or even try and catch a nap during that time. Now that I'm using it to write, even if I'm only getting a page a day, I feel amazingly productive. I'm going to be pitching some comics to a publisher soon. I used to wonder where I'd find the time to write any comics if any of those pitches got accepted, now I know where that time will come from.

Doctorow has other advice as well in that article which I am experiencing varying degrees of success following, and I recommend you read it to see for yourself everything he says.

1 comment:

ThomSouza said...

I had applied this technique after reading it here on your blog... and then the time of great despair befell me and my kin. I'll explain later. But seriously this technique works.