Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Diary of a Deadline - 34 Days

I slept in a an extra hour this morning. Usually I'm up by 5 am, but today it was almost 6 when I opened my eyes because I didn't fall asleep until nearly midnight. Not because I was writing, but because I was reading, a pleasure that often gets kicked in the face when I'm on deadline.

My usual morning routine is:
  • Feed and give fresh water to cats; clean their box
  • Facebook chores - birthday greetings, post to a blog group, check fan club posts, etc.
  • Post something short and fun to both Facebook and Twitter, because ALL writers need to have a social media presence (more on this another time)
  • Check e-mail for any pressing matters
  • Pack lunch
  • Make coffee and breakfast, which is usually cereal with fruit
I have the above down to 30 minutes max, then I bring my coffee and breakfast to my computer and write until I have to get showered and dressed for work. Sometimes I also carve out 30 minutes for exercise.

Tip of the Day:
Make use of small snatches of time.
You'll be surprised how much you can get done in 60, 45, 30 and even 15 minutes.

Sometimes during my 1 hour lunchtime at the office I have to attend department meetings or continuing education seminars. Other times, when I'm on a project crunch, I have to work through lunch. But when I don't, I use that time for writing or writing chores such as:
  • Answering e-mail
  • Working on blogs - mine and upcoming guest blogs
  • Working on next newsletter or adding people to my newsletter list
  • Preparing for any presentations I might be giving in the near future
  • Research for new book
  • Editing work
  • Writing on other projects such as upcoming books, short stories or special projects.

Out 1/6/14
Think of it this way. If you can add at least a single page a day to another WIP (which stands for work in progress for you newbies) other than the one you are slaving over at home, then at the end of a month you may have added 20-50 pages to that project, which is certainly better than none. I like to work on my next book this way so that when it gets moved to the main event, it already has a good jump start.

Personally, I don't like using my lunchtime to work on the book under deadline, although I have done it from time to time. It breaks my focus on the story at hand. I keep my reserved writing block just for that to keep the continuity.

Last week my editor at Berkley sent me the final edits for GHOST IN THE GUACAMOLE, which will be released the first week in January. I am currently going over these pages during lunch and today was no exception. It's an easy thing. It's the final read before it goes to print, so there are no major edits, just tweaks. I'll be working on this over lunch for the next week or so.

Ask almost any author who holds down a day job and they will tell you they work on their writing or something related to it at lunchtime in their offices, their cars, or in restaurants and coffee shops.

And sometimes lunch is just lunch. I'll eat my food and play Words With Friends, read, go out with co-workers, or go for a walk.

Because I don't go into work until 10, I don't get home much before 7:30 in the evening. Tonight I didn't make it home until 8. I had dinner, watched a little TV, talked with a friend and headed to bed.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your WIP is go to bed and get a good night's sleep.


sue mcginty said...

Great advice Sue Ann. I was just about to blow off 20 minutes of free time, but you inspired me to write instead.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Good job, Sue. But we all need to goof off once in a while, just not as often as we think we need to. :)

Kait said...

You are my hero. Not only do we share a profession - well, two actually - but I was just trying to paste in all the hair I pull out trying to to figure out when to fit in the social media. YES - perfect answer!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Thanks for commenting, Kait!