Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Monday, September 17, 2007

Deadlines, Backlogs and Schedules

I'm notorious for being disorganized. I know if you've been reading this, it may not seem that way, but I'm horrible. Especially since I stopped working for other people. I don't really have a schedule. I write what I want when I want, and if I don't feel like working, I don't. So far, the non-system has worked for me - or at least I felt like it had.

Over the weekend, I looked at my life. I have 1 book in submission, 3 books in various stages of editing, and I'm trying to write my fifth. I teach homeschool. I have a house to manage.

I work at my books sporadically, I'm behind in correcting papers, my house is a mess. And to top it all off at some point, I managed to gain seven pounds (which explains why my husband's pajama pants fit so well).

In short, I need a schedule before I become this psychotic, yet lazy, extra-huge lump of goo sitting at the end of the couch, drooling and surrounded by reams of unfinished book pages.

So, I made up my mind and I made up a schedule. First thing in the morning, read / write blogs and get correspondence out of the way. After hubby leaves for work, exercise and do my morning transformation into a human being. Next, run errands. At ten a.m. (or thereabouts), start school for my daughter and while she's doing her work, edit. (Answering school questions and helping all the while.) Take off at noon for lunch with the hubby. After lunch, get daughter started back to schoolwork and edit. Around four, let daughter loose from schoolwork, and take a break to chill before hubby gets home and I have to start dinner. So, from 4 to 6, chill. From 6 to 8 eat and digest. At 8, sit down to write new words. Since I can only seem to wrap my brain around new words for a couple hours at most, this would put me in bed around 10, which works for me.

The above schedule is flexible, mainly because life doesn't always work the way we need it to, but for the most part, it means a lot more getting accomplished and a lot less screwing around. It starts today, so we'll see how it goes from here. Which brings me around to deadlines...

My plan for the rest of the year (which means the following will be done by 12/31/07):

- Finish writing the first draft of book #5 (Redemption).
- Finish polishing book #1 (Spectacle) and start submitting.
- Finish polishing book #3 (Blink) and start submitting.
- Finish editing book #4 (AWJ) and get it out to betas and CPs.
- Exercise for no less than 15 minutes every day (and once I stop panting like a sick dog, up it to 30 minutes).
- Lose at least fifteen pounds (because those 7 pounds are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how much I feel I ought to weigh).
- Keep up with correcting homework so that at the end of each week, everything from that week has been graded and entered in the gradebook.

So, what are your goals for the rest of the year? Do you think I'll make mine, or am I being overambitious? Underambitious? Are your goals any more realistic than mine?


Travis Erwin said...

I'd really like to finish one of the two novels I'm working on so I can concentrate solely on one.

Kristen Painter said...

I think those are realistic goals. And I totally agree with you about a schedule - it's so tough sometimes!

Lately, I've been making my daily goals smaller. That way they're easier to achieve and easier to exceed. Does that make sense? Anyway, good luck with it!

Lane said...

Sounds like a good schedule and I'm glad to see you've put in some chill time.

Am impressed with your plan, which looks very organised. I've set myself a goal of 4 thousand words a week between now and the end of the year, in order to finish the first draft. Anything extra will be a bonus.

Shannon said...

I agree that having a routine makes life easier. Your writing goals are very very ambitious on top of homeschooling..yikes! But, you seem to have the energy for it so happy writing & editing! I'll be happy if I can get through the first draft of one novel by Jan. Trying not to be too ambitious. :-)

Erica Ridley said...

Wow, your schedule is great! I'm so excited and proud and amazed!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks everybody. This is quite a major step in approaching writing as my job rather than just something I do to keep the voices in my head happy. ;o)

Alex Andronov said...

Now of course it's probably just something I'm faced with but I find that in the evening when my girlfriend is home and we talk casually about this and that is a great time to be looking at and commenting on blogs, but in the morning when I have space to myself I can get the writing done. The concentrated burst times seem to be better for writing my own fiction.

Or am I mad?

Alex Andronov said...

ps. I don't want to discourage, merely propose a tweak.

Having a schedule, and a deadline is the most important thing in my book - and my life.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I don't think you're mad, Alex. I think each of us tackles this writing thing in our own ways. Morning works better for you; evening works better for me. Mid-day probably hits it for someone else. =oD