It's eight a.m. here, and everyone has gone to work or school. The pup has been walked and allowed to win the latest bout of tug-of-war, the cats have been scritched and cuddled, the laundry is started, and the dishes are half done. The tea is brewed, a whole wheat English muffin waits by the toaster. The television, stereo and phones are silent. In a few minutes phase two of the writing day will begin (phase one started at 5 a.m., when I woke up and wrote for an hour while everyone else slept.)
My work schedule for today looks like this:
Kyn #3: 1.5K
Genreality: draft BSL post/prep graphics
E-mail: answer 20 minimum
I used my early hour to rough out a plot timeline, so I'll have to produce about 5.5K in new words, or approximately 22 manuscript pages, in six hours with two breaks. But despite a solid 5K start yesterday, I'm already about two thousand words behind for the month. I want to make that up today, so I'll shoot for 7.5K, or try to finish about 30 ms. pages before 2:00 p.m. To do this, I need to stay off the internet, so I'm unplugging for the duration.
After 2:00 p.m. I'll check my business e-mail to see if anyone in NY needs something, and then my household chores schedule kicks in. I'll head into town, mail some packages, hit the market, pick up the kids and return home, supervise homework, finish the dishes, start dinner, and dust and vacuum the dining room. My second work session begins at 7:00 p.m., when I'll edit everything I write today, do my backups and tackle some e-mail. Toss in a shower, time with the pets, a second homework check, an hour with my guy and that will wrap up somewhere around midnight.
I'm forgetting something . . .(checking the calendar.) Here it is: my senior is the school play stage manager; he has practice from 5:30-7:30 p.m. He'll need to have dinner an hour earlier than the rest of us, and that's two more trips to the school. If my guy gets home on time from work, I'll see if he can make the second trip.
If I fall behind and have to sacrifice something, cleaning the dining room will probably be the first thing I drop off the to-do list. If I need more time, I'll push my Genreality post back a day; it's not due until Friday. Which reminds me, I'm probably coming up on the weekly rotation for an excerpt to post on Saturday (adding that to tomorrow's schedule.)
It's a busy day, as most Mondays are. I'm praying that the phone won't ring. I have no idea what I'm going to make for dinner; need to think about that. I also wanted to get in an hour of sewing today, but I just don't see room on the schedule for it. Maybe I won't have much editing to do tonight. The more focused I am, the better I write, which results in more time to play later.
Things I have to watch out for: lengthy phone calls (strains my voice, which I need to write), minor domestic disasters (if the pup feels ignored he will find a creative way to get my attention, like his new hobby of dragging all the pillows off the sofa) and homework crises (inevitably something like Mom, I need to make a poster tonight on Greek Architecture for World History or Mom, why do I have to read The Great Gatsby? It's boring or I don't understand this thing my Calculus teacher said, can you explain it?) I don't mind helping, but I have to be careful not to get sucked into doing the kids' homework for them.
All of this is why being organized and planning is so important to me. I doubt I'd get a quarter of this stuff done if I didn't plan my day, and the thing I least like in my work day is wasting time. Which I know I will do if I try to work without a plan. I think this is also why spontaneity in writing has very little appeal for me. I love the idea of being artistic like that, but I just don't have room for it on the schedule.
How do you guys cope with everything you want to-do? Have any tips on what has worked well for you? Let us know in comments.