Tuesday, January 27, 2009
PROGRESS REPORT #50: KEEPING TO SCHEDULES
I spent over a week just preparing for my courses, getting handout materials sorted out and delived to be printed, organizing my class plans etc. I have quite a few new classes this term. The school board asked if I'd like to do two kids classes (ages 7 - 10 and 11-13) I jumped at the chance, it being a new experience and challenge. So that took some time and thought to prepare for. It kind of cuts into my Friday night socializing though as I have to get up so darn early on Saturday morning to get across town to the school. But it's proving to be fun, and the pay is not bad. I also have 3 Memoir groups a week, plus one travel writing class and I am doing a novel writer's workshop at home. Iin addition, I'll be doing a night-school-in-one-day class in Prompting the Muse next weekend. Then there's my own Scribbler's writer's critique group that I attend on Mondays. Where do I get all the time? Consider that some days I am riding buses for long trips, maybe a total of 4 hours a day on the buses. That really takes up time! So when I am at home, like this afternoon and evening, I have to try and stay focused. It ain't easy!
So, I try and work out a plan. This picture below is my "planning board". On it I put down the chapter headings for each part of my novel. In this case, you see I only have a few chapters to write before I reach THE END. Some of the chapters are already partly written as I tend to often write things spontaneously and then piece them together. It's kind of like doing a jig-saw puzzle. I've actually had the end of the story written right from the beginning.
What's slowing me down now, more than my lack of time, is trying to get the right 'lead' for the first chapter of Part VII. I've been making notes and playing with it, but it's still not right. I need some time and these days, that's hard to find. But I'm sure I'll get it and then I'll be on a roll again.
Besides my classes and the novel, I am writing 4 short pieces for PlanetEye.com each week. Although they don't take me long to write, I sometimes have to do a bit of research and make some notes. Usually I try to do these on the weekend and then post them over the first couple of days of the week. It's only 'informative' writing (journalism) so it's not like I'm sweating over character descriptions and setting details or plot. But it is another task that has to be done (because I get paid to do it, so that's good incentive!) Forget about my other travel writing for now, although I should be preparing some things to market. And oh yes, I also edit and publish my travel 'zine TRAVEL THRU HISTORY. And as the January stories are now up that took up several days preparing.
I wonder what other writers do to set their own work schedules? Do you make a plan or an outline so you can see where you are heading? And how much time to you allow yourself to procrastinate before getting down to business? That's another tricky subject. PROCRASTINATION. I'm good at it and can be quite an expert time-waster. But once I start working, I pretty well get right into it and sometimes forget to stop even for something to eat.
One thing I know, and that is I want to finish this novel before I leave for my summer holidays in Greece. I have other projects on the back-burner waiting for me and I just want to see THE END as soon as possible!