Perhaps it appeared I was avoiding this question from Lynn, since I plain old skipped over it yesterday:
How do you fit regular writing into your days, on top of full time work at CBC? Is your writing time carefully scheduled? Do you stick to scheduled writing times? Do you set yourself mini deadlines along the way?
Well, Lynn, first may I say, great question, and I sure did not mean to skip by it. The short answer is that I don’t fit regular writing into my days. My writing time is not at all scheduled, carefully or otherwise. I do not stick to scheduled writing times and I do not set myself mini deadlines along the way.
First, self-imposed deadlines just don’t work for me. I don’t take them seriously at all. I am not a very stern task-master, as it turns out. I am more than happy to let myself read magazines for three hours or stare out the window, because in some way, that too is vital for writing. So, no, no mini-deadlines.
When I was writing Homing, I was quite diligent, mainly because I had an external, hard deadline from my publisher. And so I worked on Homing probably four mornings out of five, and then for a few hours on Sunday. But I really can’t sustain that kind of pace. I’m a fast writer, but I can’t do extended periods of writing. I just don’t have it in me.
I write when I can’t avoid it, basically. When the time comes to write, I don’t have much trouble with it. I think so much about my story and its people that by the time I am in front of a page, it’s mostly there for me and I don’t have to struggle very much. I hardly ever cross things out, even. I just go in a straight line till I can’t see what my people are doing or hear what they’re saying, and then I stop.
And in terms of when I get around to doing that…well…a little bit it’s when I see or hear something that reminds me of my story and makes me want to write it down. The method I’m about to try out, suggested by Sue Goyette (it’s truly remarkable that I get anything done without checking with her first. She is a genius, especially where I’m concerned), is booking off three days every few months and just blitzing through some stuff. The Common has a retreat coming up in May, and I am projecting big things for myself at that time. But probably hardly anything between now and then.
In other news, don’t forget to drop by the Company House tomorrow night at 7pm for the inaugural edition of Porkpie. Five bucks gets you in, for readings from four really great local writers, and me!