Thursday, September 12, 2013

What do you sacrifice each day for your writing job? How do you reward yourself for staying accountable?

You would think I had an out-of-the-home, paying job, the way I need to manage my time in order to find time for my writing job. And sometimes, like right now, that makes me just plain grumpy.   

So far this week, I have made each day’s goal of writing for five hours. That’s not five hours of doing writing-related tasks, but to making honest progress on my WIP. It also means not frittering my working-on-the-WIP-time away with distractions. I’m sure you’re well acquainted with those.  

I’ve made my goals, and yet it discourages me to see how hard it’s been to do that—writing for a mere five hours each day. Me, the lady who no longer has to be away from home for 45 hours each week to fulfill on commitments to a salaried job.  

In order to be accountable to my writing job this week, up until today, I have had to sacrifice my “reward,” which is to spend an hour scrapbooking when the writing is done. And I have needed to scratch my head and ask myself, “Why should it take from 7:30 am until 5:30 pm—10 hours—in order to squeeze out five hours’ writing time?"
·         On Monday, I made my writing goal by 4:30 pm, but then instead of scrapbooking, I had to get groceries and run other errands that took until 7:00 pm. After that it was dinner time and so on. (I never sacrifice sleep for my writing. Health trumps just about everything.)

·         On Tuesday, I made my writing goal, but I had to forfeit scrapbooking AND jogging. With writing and jogging each day, my housework wasn’t getting done. So I decided to spend two hours on housework in lieu of jogging. Unfortunately, housework (vacuuming) is not strenuous enough to bring my blood sugar down in the same way that jogging does. I need to start jogging again tomorrow. I was also still in the mode to learn everything I can about being a person with Type 2 Diabetes. So I began reading one of two additional books that I had purchased when I went shopping on Monday. (I had read several short books on the subject the previous week; these are more substantial, with specific guidelines to reverse the progress of the disease.) Again, I forfeited my scrapbooking reward.      

·         On Wednesday, I made my goal, but I had to manage my time around picking a grandchild up after school at 2:20 pm and then helping him with his spelling and his multiplication tables until his dad came to get him at 8:30 pm, when the men came in from the field for dinner. While said grandson was doing his reading homework, I managed to get some more exercise; I wet-cleaned the wooden shades on six windows. It took an hour. I forfeited my jogging time, but got some housework done. I also forfeited my scrapbooking reward, but I finished one of the two new books on reversing diabetes. (All last weekend, I babysat three other grandkids while their mother manned a commercial booth for their business at the county fair ... but I still managed to write for a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday before she brought them to my house.)

·         Today, Thursday, I made my writing goal, but I had to manage my time around a planned, one-hour Yoga class and an unplanned, two-hour stint at helping to move farm machinery. I had hoped to finish my writing by 3:15 pm, and have time to reward myself, especially after having forfeited my scrapbooking rewards all week long. By the time I had made good on my commitments, it was 5:15 pm.

Then my brain said, “You need to write a blog post. You check in weekly to keep yourself honest and accountable.”

So that’s what I am doing. I have eaten dinner. It was 6:30 pm, and I was planning to go do some scrapbooking. BUT THEN ... I discovered that I could not get to the New Post screen using Firefox. I HATE FIREFOX WITH A PASSION, but have been using it for the past two months because I cannot get on Google Chrome, and I don't want to give up my computer for three days while I take it into the shop. (You see, I want to fulfill on my daily writing commitments.) So finally after running a RegClean, and after Uninstalling Google Chrome, and after completing a Windows Update . . . (really, would doing that make Firefox work for me?) . . . I discovered it did not work. So I had to resort to getting on Windows Explorer.

It's now 7:30 pm. Hubby's just driven in and will want his dinner. So here it is, another day of forfeited rewards, alas. (Time with hubby trumps  scrapbooking rewards.)

What do you sacrifice each day to fulfill on the goals of your writing job?
Do you reward yourself for staying accountable?
How often are you able to do that? Or do other important priorities suck up that reward time?


  1. While I have not fully transitioned into my writing life, I can relate to everything you have stated here.

    I like the idea of rewards... but somehow, I never allow myself to take advantage of them for there is always something else to do - as you so beautifully describe here.

    I admire your persistence and dedication to your craft... and also your honesty. I hope you find time for the jogging and the scrapbooking this weekend.

  2. Schedules are incredibly important for me. I make one at the beginning of each week, planning out when I'll do the housework, when I'll study, when I'll do my blog stuff, and when I write. If I didn't schedule it all, I'd just waffle around and nothing would get done.

  3. Day to day life makes it hard for all of us to keep on track.
    I took a break from blogging before school started again and I thought that would help with the blog fog, but I am having a tough time "getting back at it."
    I try not to so hard on myself when I don't post on the day "I am supposed to" but that hard too.

    Just keep on keeping on I guess.

    M :)

  4. You sound like a master at juggling all the various things that come up plus trying to keep to a 5-hour a day writing goal. Cheers to you for being so persistent! My schedule seems to change every week, so I do get frustrated at times. But for me a "weekly word goal" works to keep me on task. That way if one day gets blown away I can still try to make it up on another. Doesn't always work, but it's a prompt that has produced the most results for me. As for rewards, just keeping track on my chart and tallying the numbers at the end of each month is satisfying--or convicting, as the case may be. And at the end of a good month, an extra bit of chocolate always helps!

  5. Hi-
    Molly, it is now Saturday at 6:30 pm and hubby's still working, and so I AM scrapbooking!

    Kellie, I admire your blogging output. You blow me away.

    Melinda, I think your attitude is right. We do what we can do, and try not to beat ourselves up over it.

    Kenda, I like the idea of a word count. Once I have my revised outline worked out again (the story's gone thru three revisions, and I haven't written past page 60), I plan to write 5 pages/day or 25-30 each week. That way, I'll be done in two months.

    What kind of total monthly word count do you shoot for?

  6. Oh, sister--I can feel your pain! And I can SO RELATE! I find it incredibly difficult to make progress in my writing, mostly because I have a young 'un still at home who demands (and deserves) my attention during the day. Then, at night, I'm exhausted!

    I've been getting up at 6 every morning to go running, and I think that I may have to get up at 5, run for an hour (while it's still light-ish outside; in the winter, I'll use my elliptical), and then write until 7. It's only an hour's worth of writing time, but at least it gets my buns in the chair. I do find that I'm more energetic when I've exercised, so maybe I'll get more done from 6 - 7 a.m. than from 8 - 10 p.m., when I'm sleepy.

    I've heard of some writers rewarding themselves with online time (facebook and other social networking sites and stuff), once they reach their word count goal for the day, but I don't think I could reward myself for sitting at the computer with more sitting at the computer! I would need something more active or hands-on as my reward.

    You've inspired me to try some new scheduling ideas and to think up a way to reward myself when I reach my goals.

    I hope YOU reach your goals this week! Very best of luck!!!

  7. A tough week but you managed to punch through despite the distractions. That's great! I wish you didn't have to sacrifice those rewards though...hopefully this week will be better.


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