More on Writing Schedules


So, as noted before, I shifted my writing to mornings rather than afternoons.

This is part of a ten-year process in prioritizing my writing. It started with 6 am wake-ups to write in my journal, and metastasized into ditching my girlfriend (now wife) on weekends so that I could go off to coffee shops and write my first novel. It led to me quitting my day job and burning through some savings before I came to my senses and went and got another job that was slightly less invasive (and a lot lower-paying), and it led to a gradual simplification in the way I live.

I used to live in Denver and watch people drive by in their snazzy BMW’s or their cool VW beetles and I used to envy it. Sometimes I still do. But it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t going down a path that would earn me those toys. No matter, I had something else that I was interested in, and I was willing to make that trade. Simplification continued to the point where I now subsist on a half-time job and live in a very small house with my most-forgiving wife and son, all because I won’t give up the time I spend on writing.

Given that, you’d think I’d be more prolific, wouldn’t you?

In reality, I find that numerous things conspire to invade my writing time. The kid, the wife (who are both lovely, but still, they sort of get in the way of getting any writing done), the garden, the car repairs, the house repairs, the job… so many things, and somehow, they all manage to be more important than the one thing that I’ve been working to prioritize over ten years. They all have gotten priority.

Which is why it’s so interesting that it took me this long to rearrange my schedule and put writing first in my day. The logistical benefits aside (dive straight into writing, not so exhausted when i write, etc) there seems to also be a symbolic benefit. By putting writing first, it seems that I’m doing a better job of putting writing first.

So obvious, yes? But it wasn’t to me.

Even though I kept saying writing was a priority, I was always demoting it. And even though I can quickly identify the trait in others: the quick excuse to describe why writing can’t be the priority, or they can’t start that book now, or they just can’t make the short story a priority at this moment, etc, etc. I was failing to identify the self-same trait in myself.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve had enough success now with my writing that I’m finally able to believe that my writing actually deserves to be put first, but it’s still a strange surpise to me to sit up and realize that for all this time, I’ve been placing my other varied committments front and center, and forcing the writing to squeeze in around the edges, even as I told myself that I was taking my writing seriously.