Calling up the writing muse isn’t my problem. My problem is that I have trouble settling in to actually, you know, WRITE until I deal with all the writing-related stuff that comes with being an author – jotting thank you notes, replying to kids, adding an accounting entry, creating a blog post, responding to author visit requests, taking action on something that came in the mail, sending and answering important e-mails, keeping current on the few blogs I follow, etc. Once the decks are cleared, I tell myself, I’ll be free to create. But as I’ve learned over the years, those other things are never finished. Never. I'm not complaining; I enjoy the business (and busyness) of being an author.
Often, though, I get so caught up in putting out every. little. fire. that, before I realize it's happening, I've allowed them to hijack my entire day!
Confession: I've been struggling with this lately. A lot.
Last weekend, though, I attended the SCBWI Midwinter Conference in New York, and hearing Jack Gantos talk about his strict writing routine gave me a needed jolt of fresh inspiration. (You can read about his talk here)
So now, taking a cue from my buddy (I wish) Jack, I’ve created a new schedule – and hung it near my computer – that compartmentalizes my day in a way I haven’t tried before. I’ll be putting out fires first thing in the morning and again late in the afternoon. But I have plenty of writing time in between. I need this to work, as I have three book deadlines marching ever nearer.
Discipline – my new middle name.
Wish me luck.