Carving Out Writing Time

It’s finally warmed up enough that I’m happy to go out and work in the shed again — I do still trudge through snow to get there, but that’s melting fast, and with the little space heater going, it’s comfortable to type in regular clothes.

I need to get back to carving out writing time, in a big way. I had a bunch of deadlines before the holidays, so I was writing then, but it was sort of a mad rush of other peoples’ projects, and it’s been months now that I’ve wanted to get back to my own short stories and novels, and somehow haven’t been able to do it.

And it’s not strictly about time — there were plenty of hours spent watching TV or making sweets when I could’ve prioritized writing instead, but it’s harder to get myself to write generally (a lot of performance anxiety about getting started these days, is the most succinct way I can put it), and especially the last month of pandemic, I was just failing to motivate to do anything that wasn’t absolutely essential.

It’s better now, and I was cranking at Kevin a little last night, being fussy for no good reason, and he asked me when I was going to be writing again, and that crystallized it that yes, that was the problem. Too long without writing, and I become very difficult to live with. Especially if I have big projects living in my head that I’m itching to work on, which has been the case for some months. After 28 or so years, he knows me well.

I’m actually planning on a little writing retreat soon. Jed has come out from California, and has been quarantining — next week Wednesday, I’m going to go join him at a local AirBnb for a week. Time with him + writing retreat. It’s not the same as flying off to Hawaii, but in pandemic-time, it’s not bad. We thought about trying to find a place out in the woods or some such, but this was just easier.

Since I’m just going to be a few blocks away, I’m planning to stop back at the house most days, see if Kev needs any help with the kids, maybe do an hour of chores to help keep the house under control. But thankfully, the kids are big and self-sufficient enough that it’s really not likely to be so hard for Kev, and he’s sending me off with his blessing. If I come back having finally finished the novel draft, for example, he will be thrilled.

After that week of retreat, Jed will come back to the house with me, and will stay with us for the rest of March, and that will likely be helpful too — a third adult in the house means more help with chores, and therefore more free time for writing. (Plus, board games in the evenings — somehow, I haven’t played board games in months, and I don’t even know why. Too much effort, it’s felt like. Weird.)

March is likely to be really busy generally, in the run-up to the election on April 6, plus I need to get the spring Patreon boxes out, but I’m trying to be reasonable about balancing my time — and there’s a week of spring break in there, I think (students, please don’t all fly to Florida, I know it’s insanely tempting, but be safe…).

The Patreon peeps will be fine with getting their spring boxes in April if need be, I think, so I’m going to try to mostly take a break from ‘production of things’ for a few weeks, and switch to writing fiction + recipe development. That’s a plan, right? So something like this:

– this week, try to spend a fair bit of today and tomorrow and Saturday (all of which are relatively unscheduled for a change) writing, get a jump start on the novel work and/or finish up some short stories

– next week, writing retreat with Jed — the new novel is at 50,000 words — can I get to a full draft in a week? Possibly.

– March generally — keeping cooking recipes for Vegan Serendib, try to finish them off; Jed is vegetarian, so this is a great time to be working on this cookbook, maybe I can get him to do a few more cooking videos with me too

– also March, candidate forums and meet-and-greets (must schedule today)

– April 6: election

– April: finish the semester / make spring Patreon items

– May – August: write like the wind? We’ll see.

Okay, I was feeling a little panicky about the lack of writing, but this is helping me feel better.

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