I think I must have just about tried it all when it comes to trying to organise my writing life. Charts, timers, targets, getting up extra early…
Getting up early is fine in theory. But I’m not a lark. If I get up earlier than usual, I’m flagging by the afternoon. And I suffer from “I’m up early so I don’t have to hurry” syndrome and find that I’m not just flagging, but also well behind by teatime.
I am usually awake around 3.30 am which is when the birds start. Not that I’m complaining I hasten to add. I’m usually awake at that time in winter as well which is downright miserable, dark and cold and my thoughts then are not pleasant company.
At this time of year though, I enjoy listening to the birds as they wake up. The other morning there was one particularly beautiful singer out there and I was tempted to get up and record the song.
But it would have meant disturbing Indy and Beloved so I kept the song to myself. I do of course go back to sleep before the alarm goes off. I wouldn’t be worth knowing if I didn’t!
And it’s funny, but the seagulls and crows are always noisier on bin days – even before anyone has put out their rubbish.
I got this rather busy picture when I was out taking shots for covers for my new kindle books. I’m not going to use it as a cover, but I do like it.
A few years ago I decided to try the oven timer method. I set myself four tasks a day above and beyond my usual writing work. 20 minutes to be spent on each of four projects. And it worked …. for about a week, then I got fed up with the beeping and the projects.
I tried lists. Diane Fordham also writes about plans and lists here.
It wasn’t just writing. I used to list everything I had to do. It was the only way to stay on top, but the lists started to get me down. I found I was at screaming point trying to keep up – and so I ripped my lists up and said never again. Well no, I didn’t say “never again”, but I’m not going to tell you what I did scream and rant, goodness me no.
So I decided to go with the flow and oh boy was that a mistake. I didn’t just go with the flow, I drifted off course completely and ended up having to give myself a good talking to!
Now I have a chart on my wall. Four writing tasks to complete every week and included on that chart is “Write new story”. And of course I can put more than one tick in each box if I am doing well. I don’t expect to tick all the boxes, but if I can look at it at the end of each week and know I’ve done something, I’m satisfied.
I don’t expect it to last. I daresay I’ll tire of the chart eventually and try something else.
I also have a wall calendar. I put a green sticker on it every time I submit something. I've been doing this for years and I like it. Simple, but an effective way of keeping an eye on your productivity.
I keep meaning to share this site with you. Live webcams from the Lost Gardens of Heligan – one inside the owl box and one in the wood mice box. Fascinating.
There are owlets in the owl box, but not as many as there should be. Owls lay their eggs over a period of days and the last born ends up at the back of the queue when it comes to food. Nature being what it is, when the weakest die, the strongest eat them. Fascinated as I am by the webcams, I am very glad not to have seen that happen.
Nature can be cruel, she can also be very beautiful. I love this time of year.