I am not sure where the minutes and hours disappear to. My husband says that I am very bad at setting priorities and often let other things take over when I have pressing deadlines to accomplish. He might be right at that. But does one really decide? Everything seems to be important.
I know for sure that my time sense is warped. I will tell him that I will be in to watch TV with him in ten minutes. Several hours later, I am still typing away. I enter the bedroom and he'll joke "Who is this strange lady coming into my room?"
Currently, I am working on three new projects - a thriller book and it's adjacent script- “The Unborn Witness,” and “A Matter of Principle” --a true historical that I've been hired to write, but I also have two scripts – “Mother-in-Law” and ”Match Made In Heaven”-- that desperately need to be punched up, not to mention several other projects in the wings. I have two lectures – On The Difference In Writing A Script vs a Novel” and “Mystery Writing” - yet to prepare for a conference that I am speaking at shortly, as well.* I am not really sure how I balance them all, yet somehow I manage to get everything done on deadline.
I dutifully write out a schedule the night before. But do I stick to it? Hell no. I wish I could be more disciplined, but I'm not.
When I wake in the morning, after my darling husband brings me coffee and breakfast in bed (he's definitely a keeper), the first thing I reach for is my phone to see if there have been any earth shattering messages during the night. Usually there's nothing, but that doesn't stop me from then checking my emails. Some mornings I have over 500 to get through from the day before. Most of them are junk and I know it, but I dally here way too long. What I should do is set a timer and allow myself only a hour - okay maybe an hour and a half - to go through them, but there are days when I look up and it's noon!
I try to make whatever business calls I have during that morning time, as well, but that's not always possible.
I hope I don't have any doctor or other appointments because they have to fit in, as well. I also, having just rejoined the gym, need to make sure I schedule time for that as the exercise keeps the blood flowing. Sometimes my best writing thoughts come while I am walking the treadmill or doing leg curls. (I make sure I always have a notepad and pen in my bag.)
Sometimes it’s one in the afternoon before I actually get to my writing.
Then there's the social networking. I am not a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter addict, but my manager and publishing reps say that it's crucial to keep my news and face in front of people and add to my fan list. So I try doing that - at least every other day. I also have to worry about get books out for review, get interviews for my current books – The Ultimate Writers Workbook For Books And Scripts” and “Against Her Will” –a ya drama coming out in March, and write to libraries and schools to get my books listed.
Then, of course, there is family. I am constantly torn about spending time with them or spending time on my writing. My daughter has longed complained that I am at the computer 24/7. That’s not really true, but she seems to have some resentment against my writing, and is among those who feel that if I am not making tons of money from my writing, I am not successful. (I can’t tell how many times she’s told me that I should just go back to nursing because it makes a decent wage.) So I try to spend as much time with her as I can. (Though being a teen, she really doesn’t want to spend much time with her mother.) We have planned to set aside one afternoon a week when we go shopping, the movies, or out to lunch. Let’s see if that works.
So, yes, I have devised a plan. I allow myself an hour and half (sometimes two) on each project. I can do this because I am a determined outliner and meticulously plot out all my stories. I know then what chapters or scenes have to be written now and what issues my characters have to address. If I get stuck, I go back to my character biographies, but having detailed synopsis keeps me going full speed ahead.
Luckily, my wonderful man cooks dinner (or brings in take out) so that I can spend more time writing. He does like my presence with him, so, thank goodness for laptops, I write in bed, while he watches television.
It’s a full day. At times, I don’t go to bed until past midnight. Since my wonderful manager, Italia Gandolfo, is a late night person, as well, it’s often when I communicate with her.
Before going to sleep, I think about any scenes I had trouble with or questions for my characters to address the next day. Sometimes, if I am lucky, I dream the answer or it comes to my subconscious as I am in twilight. Of course, pen and paper rest on my nightstand.
Ah, yes, a writer’s life never ends and I’m still not sure where all the time goes.
*The Big Story, weekend of Feb. 20, 2015, in Van Nuys, Ca – for a discount go here – http://www.wcwriters.com/specials - and tell them you were referred by me.