This may just be me but I’ve found lately that when I’m on a long shift – like a 9am-9pm – I will find time to write but if I have a day off or a short shift I might not. Perhaps this is because I have a longer break (I get a whole hour for a 12 hour day) and therefore more time, in a way. Well, more time off at work, if that makes sense. Or it might be because I know that that is the only time I have available to write, so I must write then. When I have a day off, or most of a day off, I can always do it later. I think that’s the problem, when you have a large chunk of time available, you don’t have that sense of ‘now or never’, that urgency. You put it off. (By you I do, of course, mean me. I put it off.)
Has anyone else noticed this?
I guess I work best when I’m limited on time. So perhaps instead of telling myself that I have to write for 2 hours today, I should say ‘you only have 2 hours to write in’ (or maybe less time at first) and then only allow myself to write for that amount of time. But what if I then want to keep going? Would I stop myself? Maybe leaving myself wanting more would make me more keen to write the following day. I’d always have this desire to write.
(I’m sure I’m not the only one that thinks ‘I should go write something but I really can’t be bothered’ on a regular basis. I used to worry about that – did it mean I wasn’t or shouldn’t really be a writer? I don’t any more. Writing’s hard and people tend to put off what they find hard. Course, it’s fun when it’s easy and that’s what makes it worth it. Basically, I’m not ashamed that I often don’t want to write. It doesn’t make me any less of a writer.)
Then again, I could use deadlines. I mean – if I had to edit a certain story by 12 noon on Wednesday, I’d have to get up and do it. Course the deadlines wouldn’t be real, in a sense: they’re just made-up, imaginary. I’m not going to have marks deducted if I don’t meet them. They don’t matter. But what if I could make them matter? Create some consequences for failing to meet them? The problem will always be that I have to set the deadlines and I control the consequences. Sure, I could decide that if I don’t do it, I can’t watch TV that night but who’s to stop me from watching TV? I could ground myself. Kinda like that idea actually but again, who’s gonna stop me sneaking out? I need some kind of external body, here. The Writing Police or something.
Anyone use deadlines? How do you make them work? Do you have one of those big old metre rulers to whack yourself with? George Lucas used to cut off some of his own hair when he found himself not writing when he should be. Who can top that bad boy?