I come from a family of hyperorganized people. My mom makes lists of the lists she plans to make. My dad once had me file years' worth of my grandmother's utility bills by date -- on the .00001% chance that we might need to refer to one of them someday. After years of such an upbringing, I vowed never to be an iota more organized than I needed to be. The upshot has been that I am usually slightly (okay, often more than slightly) less so.
I write things on the calendar, but I neglect to look at the calendar. I often find myself scrambling for childcare because of a forgotten teacher work day; sometimes I confess that I avoid looking ahead because I just don't want to know what terrible scheduling conflict awaits.
There are the planned interruptions to one's writerly day: teaching, laundry, oil changes, dance class, piano lessons, date nights with my husband.There are the unplanned ones: parent in the hospital, dead battery, kid with the flu or a broken shoe or a forgotten lunch or a snow delay that happens to coincide with a class I am teaching that is not, of course, likewise delayed.
One of my greatest assets as a teacher, if I do say so myself, is my flexibility. It is also one of my greatest failings. I know what I need to accomplish in a given week: Get my kids to school and wherever they need to be -- fed, clothed, reasonably clean; make it to class with some semblance of preparedness; grade papers in a relatively timely fashion; and turn in my script so that I can receive a paycheck. There are many other things that I aspire to do; but sadly, I am fairly satisfied to accomplish the bare minimum.
Needless to say, I do not have a writing schedule; but I do have daily goals in order to be able to churn out a 6500-word script (or two) each week. If I have a week laden with commitments or a difficult show or an unexpected roadblock, I know what will fall by the wayside so that my writing work gets done:
#1 My own writing
#3 Housework/laundry/dishes (and my standards are very low already)
Perhaps my priorities need adjustment, but it is what it is. Apart from the neglect of items #1-4 (above), I think my system works fairly well for me right now. If I planned to be locked into a particular schedule, given the daily interruptions in my life, I suspect I might have a nervous breakdown. For example, I have had a productive writing week but have not yet gotten around to trying Carmela's awesome timer trick. But that's okay, right? There's always next week. -- Jeanne Marie