Sunday, January 15, 2012

ROW80 Update and Posting Schedule

As I mentioned earlier, I'm splitting my weeks, and doing art and layout Wednesday through Friday. Even though these are workdays at the day job, I'm thinking of them as my "weekend" when I take time off to do relaxing things at home.

And so far this is working really well for these artsy weekends. I'm very relaxed, and I'm getting some things done that I've wanted to get done. I'm going to add "blogging" as one of the tasks for Wed-Fri -- though at the moment I'm not doing it on the clock.

Blogging during this time will allow me to get the blog back on a schedule. I have three subjects I generally want to get to:

Mondays: Covers and Art. I'll talk about what I'm doing, and also about interesting covers and related topics.
Tuesdays: Writing Life and Business. I want to continue the series on writing habits, money issues, life and business stuff.
Fridays: Authors and Craft. As more and more backlists become available for Kindle, I really want to talk in depth about some of the books and authors who influenced my writing, and also about some craft issues that come up.

In the meantime, here is the Round Of Words In 80 Days Update:

Wednesday, Day 10 - 94 minutes. I watched TV on my computer and practiced drawing textures which would re-size from 100 pixels to 600 pixels. Then I did some layout for the paper version of The Man Who Did Too Much. I have completely forgotten all the little conversion hooks I did for Have Gun, Will Play -- so I reinvented the wheel for about a half hour, taking notes as I went. This time for sure!

Thursday, Day 11 - 55 minutes. Did some sketching and more work on layout. Should have done more, but didn't. (Actually, I did put some extra energy into editing yesterday's blog post.)

Tomorrow, possible snow day. (But most likely not.)

Friday, Day 12 - 85 minutes. Mainly layout. I'm definitely behind on getting the paper version of The Man Who Did Too Much done. Got it all in and formatted, but still have checking "widows and orphans" and such, and also have to decide what the "end matter" is going to be. I'll use the same author blurb as the ebook, but do I want an "other books" list? Pictures? Book covers? Excerpt?

Saturday, Day13 - 90 Minutes. Woke up with the worst sinus headache I've ever had in my life. I've mentioned my migraines, but I seldom get pain with those -- I just get stupid and blind. This was what I imagine other people with migraines must suffer. So the headache left me with an incredibly slow start for the day. The Tylenol eventually kicked in, but my first session was little more than some brainstorming (off the clock), and the evening session was a partial read-through. I am actually pleased with the results of both sessions.

More Thoughts on Writing Schedules

Call this an addendum to the Writing as a Second Job posts.

So now I begin a four day block of writing time. No, it won't all be writing time. It never is. It does, however, approximate what writing full time would be like: Saturday is shopping day. Sunday is socializing and going to the pictures day. Monday will usually be to myself. Tuesday will have appointments.

This is how it will ever be. Get three more days into that week, you'll undoubtedly find three more varieties of kerfuffle to commit to them. Which is okay. There still should be plenty of time to write. The problem is attention management.

For instance, Saturdays. Saturdays have not changed in this new schedule. They usually go thusly:

1.) Get up, wake up (usually in that order) get self and day sorted out (make shopping list, brush hair, comb teeth, remember my name, etc.). 1-2 hours.
2.) Head to Taco Bell with full writing kit. (This includes an ancient netbook, steno pads, pencils, my iPod Touch and my Kindle. Also 5 x 7 cards for sketching, just in case.) 2 hours.
3.) Shopping and errands. 2-3 hours.
4.) Cook. 2 hours. (I'm a serious cook.)

The remainder of the evening is spent this way (times highly variable):

5.) Screw around
6.) Set to work.... Ooooooo, shiny internet!
7.) No, really, set to work.... Urgent email about video with cute cats.
8.) Detailed political conversation, or major breaking news story.
9.) Actually setting to work.
10.) Oh, shoot, it's 2am and I've got to type in my blog update.

That's how every Saturday goes... but that doesn't mean it's not productive. That exact same scenario can be very productive or not at all productive. It depends largely on what happens in items 2 and 9. (And also 6 and 7.)

The thing about this new schedule is that so much will depend on that Saturday Taco Bell session. That's the moment when I transition into my full writing week -- and my mind won't be there after having been on a break. If I can set things up to hit the ground running, I can get momentum up for the week.

(And given this morning's headache, which completely derailed the first session, you can see how it can be completely derailed.)

Headaches aside, I can think of two strategies for hitting the ground running:

1.) Do a review of what I'm writing on Friday night. That's not always going to happen. There's a reason Friday is not a writing day. And maybe, as long as I'm doing this divided schedule thing, I should respect that and not mix tasks.

2.) Use the Taco Bell session to set my head into the week's writing. Set up for a proper night session and beyond.

Today, though I couldn't get much writing done, I went to Taco Bell anyway, before shopping and errands, and wrote down some ideas about certain clues. In other words, I had the session anyway, and I did make progress, even if I didn't get where I needed to be. The evening session turned into what I planned to do at Taco Bell. But I do feel I've made a transition into the writing week, and that helps.

Monday I'll talk a little about an experiment I'm working with on the art side, in trying to come up with scalable textures -- abstract textures which look good at 100 pixels as well as at 600 or more pixels. Not sure I have good images, but I might throw in some sketches as well for visual interest.

And Tuesday I'm starting a series about the transition to full-time writing.

See you in the funny papers.


Tracy McCusker said...

I am glad that you said last Sunday that it wasn't the writing that wore you out. Because now that I've finished Have Gun, Will Play, I am hungering for more of your work! The novel completely exceeded my expectations. It was fantastic. And now I'm going to dive into your other work. Scatterhale Gulch and The Man Who Did Too Much are competing for the next reading slot.

This new schedule is exciting. For one, you've hit my single favorite *things* to do. Textures! Photoshop! Layouts! Graphical doodads! Okay, layout can be a pain in the ass. But I'm hip-deep in it right now, so it's good to have another ROWer in the thick of it too.

Good luck for the coming week, Camille!

Suzanne Lilly said...

I thought for a moment when you wrote about the shiny Internet, and cute cat videos that you were writing MY daily schedule. Hahaha! It sounds as if you're having fun while working toward your goals. And if it isn't fun and rewarding, why do it, right? Have a great week!

The Daring Novelist said...

Tracy! Man Who is still in the "high price experiment".

Here's a coupon from Smashwords for my loyal blog readers:

When you buy, you put in Coupon Code: SH65J and you get it for about 4 bucks.

Suzanne -- yes we all suffer from the shiny internet and cats with roombas videos. Sigh.

Kim Switzer said...

I love the phrase "attention management." That is what I need to work on.

Your schedule sounds quite nice, though, with lots of good stuff getting accomplished even with the shiny internet.

Also, I meant to thank you for your comment on my blog the other day about continuing to check in even when I haven't met my goals as a way of building good writing habits. I sometimes get so hung up on the goals themselves that I forget that they are small bits of a greater whole, namely my writing life. Thank you for the reminder!

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kim. The importance of checking in is a part of tomorrow's (Tuesday's) post on writing full time.

Checking in is peg, a structure. It's where you hang your habits.