It’s reader question time, y’all! I love this time of year because it’s the one time I can be absolutely certain you’re wanting to hear what it is I’m wanting to write. So, we’re beginning with reader Edie who asked the following:
How do you arrange your hours/days/weeks to balance, in no particular order, deadline-looming writing, deadline-not-yet-looming writing, research, editing, shoe-buying, exercise, reading, and other necessary tasks and entertainments? And when something’s gotta give, what goes first?
First, let me start with a caveat–exercise is NEVER on the list. I’m the very last girl you’d find in a gym, so making time to work out is not on my list of priorities. If I feel like doing something physical, I’ll go for a walk or pop in a yoga or ballet DVD.
As for the rest of it, I work by intuition. I don’t write every day–heresy, I know! But I find that taking breaks from writing to fill the well keeps things fresh for me. During the down times I’m not working, I’m reading or watching films for inspiration and taking notes on things I want to incorporate into my work. When I’m on deadline, I know how much time I need to turn a project around. I do tend to write every day when I’m on deadline, although I do take the occasional hooky day. On working days, I write in the morning because it’s my most productive time. Afternoons are for researching, answering emails and interviews, blogging, etc. That’s also the time I run errands. As far as how I organize projects themselves, I triage based on deadline. If something needs to be turned around quickly, it gets bumped to the top of the pile. If I have longer, then I will put it a little further down the list. There are the occasional things that crop up at the last minute that need to be done immediately–just last week I got the copy edits for MIDSUMMER NIGHT, my next novella, along with a request to take a look at them as quickly as I could. Because my schedule was clear, I was able to bang them out within an hour.
In a larger sense, my priorities have always been work and family. If I’m not writing or hanging with my family, I’m doing precious little else. I say no to LOADS of other things that I don’t really want to do because I think it’s essential to be enthusiastic about what you commit to. Now, having said all this, it’s only fair that I point out that I have the HUGE luxuries of writing full-time–no other job–and having a college-age child. My daughter is moving to school in two days, and that means I’ve got scads of time to do exactly as I please. If I want to immerse myself in a marathon of films or do some binge reading for research, I can. I’m also writing more since I’ve been contracted to do a number of novellas, and I’m absolutely thrilled!