One Technique

Okay.  Here's the deal. 

And there really is a trick, a bit o' magic to the creative process!  The problem, of course, is that the "deal" is different for every writer.  But lately I've found something, and while it's not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it's been helpful for me.

Back to the topic:  The Trick, The Answer, The Technique

As a former teacher, I'm used to thinking in terms of classes during the day, that kind of structure.  So many classes of whatever length, lunch, more classes, planning period.  That was always a very comfortable structure for me for some reason.  Who knows why?

Now, a lot of writers, notably Susan Elizabeth Phillips, as well as some others, have found the timer structure to work well for them.  You know, set the timer and work at the computer/the ms/whatever until the timer frees you.  It's a great technique as it leaves a writer free, so to speak, once released from the timer.  You've done your work, in other words.

I just couldn't make it work for me.  My own weirdnesses, that's all, because it's a fabulous way of focusing in on the work.

But. . . what has been working for me is setting up my day, sort of, loosely, in a school day structure.  While the "class periods" aren't English, math, and so on, I have been using that idea of class periods to get a variety of things done:  some cleaning in the basement, some filing, a whole lot of paperwork, and, of course, the real work of writing.

It's sort of as if my brain can wrap itself around the idea of, "Okay, now it's Creative Writing Class."  Or, "All righty, then, it's shop class (aka, tearing into some of the basement messes)," and when "class" ends, I move to the next class.  Including P.E.–or, in my peculiar mindset, my time at the health club or taking my walk or hitting the exercise bike.

I have to say that this feels very stupid even trying to explain it because it seems so basic.  But what I'd suggest is that you might think about the time structures that are comfortable to your natural rhythms for whatever reason–boy, I'll bet they won't be as doofussy as mine!–and then adapt that structure to your writing.

Because the real truth is that the writing is always there, the stories always insinuating themselves into your head, but real life is there too, and has to be addressed.

For me, it's the compartmentalization that seems to settle my brain right down so that I don't have to feel guilty or have to be angsting over whatever it is that I'm NOT doing while I AM doing something else.

I'm curious as to what time management structures work for other folks?  For you?

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