Monday, August 23, 2010

A Little Bit of Structure

School starts tomorrow. (Let me take a second to luxuriate in that last statement.)

Ahhhh. OK.

Summer has its merits but it sucks for writing schedules. I don't work well without some structure to my process, and summer, if you're doing it right, is one meandering, destinationless float down a lazy river. I need a designated writing time every day in order to get anything done. One of my heroes, William Goldman, rented an office in Manhattan and furnished it with a desk, a typewriter and a coffee machine. He showed up five days a week and wrote from 8:30 to 5. I wear more hats than he did--mother, wife, teacher, chef, chauffeur, etc., but I LOVE that idea. Writing is your job, so treat it as such.

I'm fortunate enough to have my days pretty much free when the kids are in school. I write in the mornings after dropping them off, sometimes until lunch, sometimes even after. Yes, I've been known to stare at the monitor for three hours, or wander over to Twitter to torture myself with other writers' word count updates (2000 words today! I'll hit 80K tomorrow!), but the whole butt in seat concept actually works. Some words usually come, and yeah, they might get deleted the next day, but they are there, you know?

So how do you guys get the words out? Are you a morning person like me or do you work best late at night? Do you need to write every day? Are you a word count freak? I'm curious!


  1. "or wander over to Twitter to torture myself with other writers' word count updates (2000 words today! I'll hit 80K tomorrow!)"

    I know the feeling.

    Also, no children but definitely get that "back to school vibe" every September and looking forward to the motivation that it usually brings.

  2. Oh, I wish my kids were in school all day. I'm so jealous. As of right now I'm a nap time/late night writer. We usually end up writing every other day, but now that we're going to be juggling more than one project at the same time we're going to start writing every day and switching back manuscripts. This is going to get interesting.

  3. I wish I could schedule time to write right now. I have an ultra demanding job. Lots of travel, lots of dinners and entertaining. I tell my husband I crave the day I can kiss him goodbye, grab a cup of coffee and walk out to our casita and write all day, staring at the mountains behind our house. God, it is like a dream!!!!

  4. As a teacher, my schedule is the opposite - I have more time in the summer to get some writing done :)