We all do it, and now we can count Virginia Woolf among the ranks of “Writers Who Obsessively Plan About When To Get Stuff Done!”
Take for example: “But my mind is full of The Hours [Mrs. Dalloway]. I am now saying that I will write at it for 4 months, June, July, August and September, and then it will be done, and I shall put it away for three months, during which I shall finish my essays; and then that will be–October, November, December–January; and I shall revise it January February March April, and in April my essays will come out, and in May my novel. Such is my programme.” (V.W. A Writer’s Diary)
There’s actually a bunch of stuff to digest about the above the excerpt (like Waiting Before Revision–note that the great V.W. plans on waiting at least three months before getting back to The Hours, which is really Mrs. Dalloway). But what I’d like to look at is her schedule.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m setting my writing goals, it looks very much like V.W.’s list. “I’ll work X over here, and then I’ll work on Y before I revise. Then Z will need some attention. And here’s the time-block that I’ll give to it.”
My method has become more advanced after getting to know myself. For example, I acknowledge that I sometimes don’t have the time that I think I do. So I have a desk calendar and all my goals are now kept in pencil.
Example: the block of time allotted for today includes: outlining my upcoming Top Secret Project (check), getting to 4,000 words on my current short story (check). So today is great. However, yesterday I missed my “blog entry” allotted time and so I’m writing today instead of yesterday (most of my blogs are done a little ahead of time). All I did was take my handy-dandy pencil, erase the goal from yesterday and put it at the top of queue for today. So I’m not too far behind. Blog entry? Check.
Come on, guys, ‘fess up. What’re your schedules like?
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.