A writing recovery plan

I’ve said it before, but it’s a game of peaks and troughs this writing lark.

I had a real burst of motivation after my last little dip, reminding myself why getting up early was good for my soul as well as a handy window for escaping into the world of my novel.

But since then life, as it is wont to do, has thrown me a bit of a curve ball. I’ve taken on some new responsibilities for the Connecta Lives blog, I have an epic to do list to help get Shoalstone Pool ready for summer, the school where I am a governor is facing a new raft of challenges. And perhaps most importantly right now the #THISislearning campaign that I have set up with Maddy in protest against what the SATs are doing to our children is gathering steam and demanding a lot of our attention.

All of this is good, and important, and exciting. But none of it is doing anything to give me the headspace I need to write – not even with 6am starts and lemon water.

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The lighter mornings have thrown another challenge into the mix. They are great on one level: the creeping peachy light of the morning sun across the bay is undoubtedly much more conducive to getting up than inky blackness. Unfortunately this also applies to Arthur, and whilst he is remarkably good (for a three year old) at keeping himself entertained in his room until the gro clock says it’s morning it is getting increasingly hard to hold on to that little window of time as my own.

I still have to write, though – to meet my goals, and to release the pressure in my brain. It’s not that I have nothing to write about – I know the direction this story is going in, and my characters are clamouring for my attention. It’s just that it is hard to hear them over the noise of everything else. But I have to find a way.

So I’ve come up with a bit of an action plan. Nothing fancy, but enough hopefully to keep things ticking over and move that progress bar from orange to green.

YESTERDAY I measured up and ordered some blackout blinds for Arthur’s room. I’m not entirely sure how we’ve gone three years without them, but they are definitely needed now.

TODAY I am going to take stock (starting here) and clear as much as of my to do list as I can, hopefully clearing out some space in my brain in the process.

TONIGHT I am going to really make the effort to get an early night, and give myself the time to wind down from screens before then. I’m drifting back into night owl mode, and the lack of sleep is slowing me down.

TOMORROW morning, and every morning, I am going to make sure I write something – anything – to keep the progress on my novel going in the right direction. My daily targets have crept back over the 1500 word mark, and for me that is very rarely achievable. Any words are better than none though, so I’m not going to let the fear of not meeting those targets stop me from writing anything at all.

Next WEEKEND, and two weekends after that, I am going to maximise the time I have on the train for two whistlestop visits to London to catch up and get myself properly back on track. When I set my targets in the first place I didn’t include the weekends in my writing schedule, but now it is time to make the most of that little buffer.

It doesn’t really matter (not to anyone other than me) if I miss my self imposed deadline and the writing of this first draft spills over into June. But it’s hard to juggle writing with everything else that’s going on, and if I don’t set myself some boundaries (and do my very best to stick to them) I worry that I may not find the time to write at all.

And now I’ve set this plan out in black and white I’m hoping it will make it all the more likely that I’ll follow it. Not least because you lot can help keep me on track if I don’t…

 

Writing Bubble

 

9 thoughts on “A writing recovery plan

  1. Reneé Davis Author

    Sounds like you’ve done incredible well to get this far hon, and I have no doubt that your first draft will be complete before we know it. Would you believe that I can’t use Scrivener because it’s not compatible with Chromebook? Gutted, as I know how much you and others love it and think it would be a useful tool. I’m using Evernote, which is useful for first draft as it synchs up to all devices but doesn’t even have a word counter on it! Anyway, keep up the awesomealicious work lovely lady xxx

    Reply
  2. Tara Borin

    You’re right that it’s peaks and troughs. Sounds like you’re doing what you can to get through this low point while still staying committed to your goal! In starting a meditation practise, I read somewhere that even if you can only sit for 1 minute, you should do it, to maintain your intention. I think that applies here, too. Even if you just sit and make a few notes or journal for 10 minutes, you’re still holding that space for yourself. And try to be gentle with yourself…you’ve got a lot on the go!

    Reply
  3. Rebecca Ann Smith

    It does sound like a good plan. I agree that writing something is better than writing nothing – it keeps you connected to the story you’re working on and stops it slipping away from you. Sometimes I think even a few words is enough. It also sounds like you’ve got a lot on at the moment, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t do everything at the same time.

    Reply
  4. maddy@writingbubble

    So, how’s it going 2 days into the plan? Hope it’s working! I think you’re doing well managing any writing at all at the moment – I’m really struggling. And by struggling I mean I haven’t written anything creative in weeks! At the moment I’m kind of focussed on doing what I can, when I can, and then after May 3rd I’m going to have change things a bit. In fact, what I’d really like is to take a couple of weeks off social media and blogging and just write and draw! Can’t see it happening but I’m going to figure out how to make more time for creativity. Well done with all of it and I hope the blackout blinds work (we have ones literally velcroed to our window frames in this house!) Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

    Reply
  5. Virtually All Sorts (@AllSortsHere)

    I do think that it’s great to step back for a few minutes, take stock and get an action plan together. Like you, early mornings and lemon water are fab… as are blackout blinds! Wouldn’t be without them! They even allow me to squeeze in a few minutes of yoga sometimes 🙂 #whatimwriting

    Reply
  6. caramckee

    I’m loving your smart plan, and the concept of early morning writing. I can’t bring myself to write until the house is tidyish, which is my excuse for not having started yet today… But I will!

    Reply
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