Keeping Your Head In The Story

I wound up writing for about 7 hours yesterday (with interruptions to cook stuff, serve dinner, and deal with a few catch up matters).  I wrote 2713 words, which may not sound like a lot to some people, but may possibly be as many as I managed in the entire month of December.  It was such a lovely day.  Sleep in.  Leisurely cup of tea.  Work out AFTER I’m actually conscious.  And then nothing but writing, all day.  After which I finished reading Melissa Francis’s Bite Me (which I’d been saving for when I needed a laugh–she definitely delivers!).  I can’t help but wish we’d be struck by a real blizzard (we got, grand total, 20 minutes of “ooooh  pretty!” snow, then rain, then nothing) so that I’d get another 3 or 4 days of this.  I could actually finish this novella under those conditions.  My soul feels nourished, my sanity restored.  To those of you fortunate enough not to require a day job or three, I envy you.

I think that’s one of the biggest frustrations (and, if I’m honest, resentments–I resent the hell out of every minute of those day jobs for taking me away from what I want to do) for me as a writer.  That I do have that day job or three, and it pulls my head out of the story much of the time.  I’m not good at multitasking my fiction.  I can’t just change lanes from business/research/academic writing and jump back into whatever my current story is.  That would be like the mental equivalent of shifting off a multi-lane, stacked up Dallas interchange onto a meandering dirt road at 90 mph.  It takes time, which is at a premium.  At least half of my writing time each day is spent trying to get my head back where it needs to be.

So that’s something I want to work on this year–finding a way to juggle the stuff I can’t throw away while keeping my head more firmly in the game, keeping myself closer to the story in order to cut down on the reset time and maximize the writing time.  Because I have dreams, by damn.  And the more productive I can be, the faster I’ll be able to drop some of the non-writing stuff off my plate.

Any suggestions?  How do you keep your brain on the story when you have to pay attention to other stuff?  How do you keep yourself prepped to write whenever you have a spare five minutes?

4 thoughts on “Keeping Your Head In The Story

  1. I don’t which is why I’ll never be published, LOL.

    I am one of those without the day job but I’ve got 4 kids to plan around…if planning and kids can even go in the same sentence! Sad thing is…Maria Zannini and I commented about this on her blog…I was more organized and got more things done when I worked outside the home.

    But I’m like you in that I can’t multitask my fiction…whether I’m reading it or writing it…which is likely why the story I wrote in August (whose characters I’m still madly in love with) is still waiting for revision, why my NaNo story is mostly gibberish, and the story that got me back into writing (because now that I’m home all day maybe I can play with that dream again) is a structureless mass.

    Good luck finding a happy medium!

  2. Yes, that is the problem, isn’t it?

    I’m self-employed, which has its blessing and its challenges. I can write, and sometimes I do write at work. As long as none of my eployees see me do it – I don’t want them thinking it’s all right for THEM to not work, because it isn’t. I’m paying them!

    The trouble is that whenever Lovely Customer or Joe Jackass wants to, they can come in, or call, and interrupt my train of thought, pull me out of the story, and piss me off. And I’m supposed to act like I’m happy to see them! I resent that I need them, because I want to write, dammit. It angers me that I have no time that is mine – not even a lunch break when I can be simply unavailable. If the phone rings, Yours Truly must answer.

    This year, I’ll be joining you on the quest to make room for writing in my life. I keep trying to talk myself into getting up early, and I’m so far not awfully good at that. Early morning is when my daughter and I do our very best world-class snuggling, and she’s growing up so fast. And it’s dark, and warm under the covers. You see?

    1. Snuggles are infinitely important. Mine are with my dogs, (and thus far Callie is very very mad at me for replacing a chunk of morning cuddles with mommy exercise). Plus, writing in the early morning won’t work for me because my brain doesn’t come online for several hours.

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