I’ve come to see from experience how difficult it is to get any writing done without a routine… My schedule has gotten a little chaotic with work and life and my work schedule isn’t exactly set at the moment and so it’s been tough to get anything done because it’s either too early in the morning and the coffee hasn’t kicked in or it’s too late in the day and my mind is fried.
I’m currently working an 8-hour day and the last time I worked an 8-hour day schedule, it was great because I woke up a few hours before I started and stayed up a few hours after work. This, however, is the first time I’ve been on an 8-hour schedule starting early in the morning since I was in college working at the law firm where I wrote Taking Chances. That job wasn’t very taxing and I got all my work done in a timely fashion, giving me a little free time at work to write (No, I didn’t steal time from my employer because I got everything done they asked of me, but rather than spend useless time at the water cooler, I kept myself busy). When I last work eights, I was on nights and woke up early to write, workout, then start my shift, reserving a little time after the shift to relax. The hours looked like 4-8-4. Doing 8-8, with 8 working from the start and 8 of free time after to get in my workout and writing, while it should be easy, I feel pretty drained after working despite not doing anything too demanding, that free time just ends up getting taken up with other things. I need to train myself to work well with only six hours of sleep so I have more time in the day to accomplish my daily tasks I have for myself.
For the past year and a half, I’ve been on 12 hour shifts. I like these shifts for the work/life balance because I end up with many more days off but on work days, I have just enough time to workout and go into work with not much time left to do much else. This wouldn’t be too terrible if I was disciplined about writing on my off days but I think therein lies the problem: my discipline. I’m pretty disciplined when it comes to my workouts, usually doing something every day for fitness. However, writing involves much more brain power so I tend to push it off because it’s not relaxing. Even writing basic daily blogs isn’t an easy breeze but creatively writing can be draining which is why when I am disciplined with it, I only do around 500 words a day, leaving off where I know what I’m going to write the next day, because it allows me to get something accomplished while leaving something in the tank.
That’s the key, leaving something in the tank. It was easier when I allowed myself to have coffee throughout the day but I’ve been trying to wean myself down on the caffeine intake because sometimes I become too reliant on it and it isn’t as effective. I’ve gotten down to one cup per day and have been like that for quite a while but I think that now allows me to have a bit more to get a few extra things done. I can only imagine what it’s like to be a parent and try to write on top of everything else because being tired all the time isn’t ideal. Fortunately, I’ve been sleeping pretty well even with seven hours of sleep per night so I’ll be able to get more done.
I’ve been writing more, just not posting as it’s been creative writing and I wanted to do some editing and for a few longer stories, have been considering sharing them via Amazon as short novellas. I think this will be the next step for quite a few of the stories as they’re not exactly short stories but they’re not novels either. I think that will be a good option to get my work out there, begin to have a presence in the marketplace, and possibly get a little side income/validation from my work. Amazon also has a episode/novella platform coming out specifically for that purpose so I plan to take advantage of that opportunity. I have high hopes of what is to come but struggle a bit with the daily strains of getting the work done. I also need an plot editor that doesn’t charge buttloads of money to edit work that I already know isn’t slotted to become a NYT best-seller.