Scheduling Your Work

So, tell me truthfully, how has this pandemic been going for you?

Have you been able to keep your writing going? Have you spent more of your days sitting and staring out the window than actually tapping away at your keyboard? Has your writing been productive or have you have to write, delete, rewrite, or has it been really good? Maybe you’re able to concentrate like never before. Maybe you’ve more time to devote to your writing now that you don’t need to leave your home and commute to work.

Many people have been able to cope, but many really have not. We’re into the sixth month of these “fun” times. Have you figured this out yet?

While I was out walking my dog this morning I saw a man walking down the opposite sidewalk wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase on his shoulder. He looked like he was heading to his office. I have to admit, I stopped and stared. This used to be the most common thing in the world but now, after six months of pandemic, it’s an unusual sight. How strange is that?

What was common is now odd. What was ordinary is now strange. What we used to do, our everyday lives have been turned upside and inside out and we’ve had to redefine what we do and how we do it.

The biggest change for me, of course, has been having my husband working from home. I used to happily see him go off to his office every morning and then have our apartment all to myself. It was quiet. I could work. If I wanted some noise or the company of others, I would go to the café, sit at a table with a cup of green tea and work in the company of about 25 other people either doing the same or sitting with a friend talking quietly. It was easy.

Now my schedule is upset. I’ve got to work around my husband’s schedule and more often than not put on my noise-canceling headphones and blast instrumental music into my ears so I don’t hear his phone conversations as he wanders our apartment (he’s one of those who likes to walk as he talks which is great exercise for him but that coupled with his already loud/carrying voice just ensures that no matter where I am in our apartment I am constantly being disturbed). I can’t go out to the café because it’s now dangerous to sit in an enclosed space with strangers and it’s already beginning to get too cold to sit outside.

So, what am I doing to get my work done?

Well, for one, I am ensuring that I do have a set schedule of what work I’m going to do and when. I’m trying to keep it as close to the one I used to follow before the craziness happened. I used to do all of my non-writing work in the mornings: marketing, formatting, coaching, etc. Afternoons are when my creativity really sparks and I’m able to write my best so that is when I close my door, put on those headphones, and move my story forward. I do this—or try to do this—every single weekday. Weekends are for relaxing and refilling that creative well.

I have found that keeping to a schedule really helps in getting my work done—all of my work. My brain knows when it needs to turn on, when it can relax, and when I really need it to focus. Developing the habit of writing every day really helps. When writers come to me and tell me that they’re having trouble focusing and getting their writing done, this is the very first thing I ask them: do they have writing scheduled into their day, actually written into their calendar? Too often, the answer is no. We then work together to organize their day and set that schedule. Oddly enough, this works. Are you ready to try it?

This week’s episode on The Writers’ Block Party Podcast is on newsletters. Pru and I explore what works and what doesn’t and how often you might want to send out your newsletter. Send your questions in on the episode page at http://thewritersblockpartypodcast.com.

Next week’s episode is going to be on book covers. You can ask your questions in advance and we’ll answer them on the show. You can do that here.

In formatting news, I’m going to be teaching my How to Format with Jutoh course LIVE on October 12th and follow that with my Word for Writers course (also LIVE) which will cover how to format your book for print-on-demand the following week. Don’t miss this rare occasion to learn directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. You can ask any formatting questions and make sure you truly understand what you’re doing by attending these classes. Don’t miss it! Sign up here.

And finally, if you need help setting a schedule, getting past writer’s block, or for any other writing-related reason, I’m always available! Just contact me!

 

Merry
 

Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith’s heart belongs to her husband and two children. Meredith’s second favorite pastime is teaching others to write.

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