Thursday, April 7, 2011

Accepting my "Writing Time"

I've always struggled to have a set writing time. For whatever reason, the idea of sitting in front of my computer at the same time every single day feels like work. Writers who can bust out 2,000 words a day at the same time and the same place: I envy you. I congratulate you, because that doesn't seem to work for me.

Let me give you a little background here. I now work second shift (2pm-11pm) Monday through Friday. For six years, I worked a screwed up non-shift from 2am-11am Monday through Friday (I worked on a morning news show as a producer). To be honest, I didn't take writing as seriously as I should have; those are kind of "lost years" in a way. I didn't write any short stories. I really didn't develop my novels as much as I should have. I didn't attend a writing conference or submit much work. If I could talk to myself five years ago, I would have done things a lot differently.

But that's a topic for another blog post.

About a year and a half ago, I flipped my schedule completely at work. I thought this would work well; one of the hardest things about the overnight shift was the feeling of always being tired. It didn't matter if I got four hours of sleep or 12 hours of sleep; I always had the same, pale-faced, five-o'clock-shadow, circles-around-the-eyes look. I usually settled for four hours of sleep...giving me lots of time to...play Xbox. Watch TV. Catch up on the Netflix queue. Only occasionally did I plot out a book or write. I never set a real sleep schedule, so I never set a real writing schedule. I still managed to produce four and a half novels, all underdeveloped, all in need of serious revisions. But I never set aside the time to work on them.

"One day," my deluded self told my deluded self, "we'll get around to it."

My deluded self was half right; I did eventually "get around to it" a few years later. It didn't help that I didn't realize I really wanted "to be a writer" until about a year and a half ago.

So, now that the background info is out of the way in a very lovely info dump, let me get to my point. I finally have an established writing time, and it's not one I'm exactly thrilled about. My writing prime time now runs from midnight to 3 or 4am. I had delusions that I would get home around midnight, go to bed, and get up in the morning to write before work. It would be a normal schedule.

But that didn't work for me. Instead, I found my mind was the most fertile after work, so I pound away at the keyboard, blog, and tweet into to the wee small hours of the morning. It frustrates me a little bit...this means I sleep in until about ten or so almost every day. However, I've come to accept this. If my imagination tells me I'm at my most creative between the hours of midnight and 4am, then I'll write, revise, outline, and blog between midnight and 4am.

What about you? What's your "writing time?"

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