Sunday, October 3, 2010

How I did.

Last week I kept track of every minute I wrote or edited, or at least I tried.

Monday: I worked all day, got home, made dinner, and helped with homework. After the kids went to bed I edited for and hour and a half.

Tuesday: My day off. I’m expected to get a lot accomplished. What I find is I’m so anxious to write that I get my laundry, dishes, and vacuuming done a lot faster than usual. I managed to edit and write for 3 hours, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but I also went for a run and got groceries, plus Glee was on.

Wednesday: I worked for half a day, but also went to the dentist to get a crown. I managed to squeeze in 30 minutes before dinner and then another hour after the kids go to bed, but my mouth is sore and I was really tired.

Thursday: I knew that I wouldn't have a lot of time to write, so I wrote on my breaks and lunch hour. When I got home, I went straight to a soccer meeting (yeah, I still haven’t quit that). Got home at 9:30 and in total wrote for two hours.

Friday: My other day off. Again I expected to get a lot done, except I didn't. My son was home sick from school, actually he threw out his back and I spent most of the day getting him an ice pack and a hot water bottle. My other son forgot his binder and my daughter forgot her photo form, which meant a trip to each school.

Later that night I had a lot of time. Older son was at volleyball with dad, middle son was sprawled out on the couch, and daughter had a friend over. I could have written. I could have written a lot, but I didn’t. Instead I sat on the couch and watchd TV. My eyes were tired of looking at a computer screen. I was tired of editing. I tried to write a short story I’ve been thinking about, but it’s about an emotional issue and I didn’t feel emotional. I tried to write my soccer story, but the words wouldn’t come.

At 7pm I gave up and turned off the computer. In total I write for an hour.

The whole weekend I thought about this. Does this mean I’m not a serious writer? Serious writers would spend every extra minute they had writing, wouldn’t they? The questions and insecurities kept coming. Maybe this experiment wasn’t a good idea.

By Sunday night I came to this conclusion. This week wasn’t about how much you wrote, it was about making choices, and Friday I chose not to, but that doesn’t mean the next time I have that much free time I won’t spend it madly typing away. Does that mean I’m not serious about writing. No, I think it means I needed a break. On Saturday I worked on my query for an hour at one in the morning after a full day of volleyball, basketball, football, and a birthday party. That must mean I’m serious.

For those who kept track, how did you do?

PS: Sorry this was long. I’ll completely understand if you only skim it.

Here are others that participated:


Susan R. Mills said...

Posting about the same thing tomorrow. In fact, I already wrote it, but it won't go up until 8 central time tomorrow. How right you are; it's all about choices.

Melissa Gill said...


I definately wouldn't say that you're not serious about being a writer because you took a night off.

No matter what your profession, every mentally healthy person needs to take time off. The only profession in the world where you don't get to take time off is being a mom.

Anonymous said...

Patti, you sound like a pretty serious writer to me. You put in a lot of time!! I posted my writing-log with some thoughts as well. Thanks for doing this. It was really helpful for me.

Anne Gallagher said...

It sounds to me like you've gotten plenty of writing time in. And I'll bet while you were taking care of kids, doing laundry, running errands, doing whatever, you were THINKING about writing, or your plot, plan, query, short story, character arc etc.

There's a lot more to writing than just sitting at a computer screen. Don't sweat the small stuff. You are a writer.

Robyn Campbell said...

Patti, thanks for doing this. I learned some things about self that I didn't know. My post went up a little while ago. You're right. Choices is what it's all about. And guilt. For me at least. MUST DEFEAT GUILT DEMON. :)

Stina said...

Cool idea. I think we get so focused on work count, we forget the time we actually spend writing. This is especially important when we're editing. There are no word counts there, especially if you've deleted a lot. ;)

Melissa Hurst said...

Sometimes we all need a break from the WIP. I think you did a great job this week!

I also learned a lot about my writing habits this week. I can squeeze more writing time in during the day, but I often get sucked into the internet. Something I really need to change:) Thanks for hosting this blogfest!

Saumya said...

Gosh, I love this and I wish that I took the time to track my writing. I think it's great to look at it from this perspective to see how much time you put in. Taking breaks is so necessary!! Great blog! I'm excited to be a new follower :)

Laura Pauling said...

There are def. times when I need to stop because my brain needs a break! Or I read!

lotusgirl said...

Oh my gosh. Friday cracked me up. I'm sorry. That's the way it always seems to go when I have a lot of time to write. There's always something pulling your attention away. I hope your son is feeling better. You're a writer because you kept going back to it. I forgot I was supposed to be tracking my writing until Thurs. and then figured it was too late, but I've already done about 2 hours of editing this morning, so Yay me.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I was really happy with my results! It made me think about where the time goes and how much of it I actually spend writing.
Mon: 30 minutes
Tues: 2 hrs 8 min
Wed: 2 hrs 30 min
Thurs: 3 hours
Fri: took off because I completed what I wanted to finish. :)

Anonymous said...

It is about choices and I'd say you are definitely a serious writer. You're also a serious mom, serious woman who knows taking care of herself is important too. Way to go!!

Anonymous said...

Put up my post. It looks like you did pretty well. This was a good exercise. It shows me I’m not spending any writing time on my new novel because I’m still in the ‘stewing it in my brain’ stage.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Congrats on writing so much! I'm trying to squeeze in at least an hour or so after my kids go to bed. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. :) I think you did great!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Life will sometimes have to take priority -- especially when you have a family. If you keep finding those snippets of time to write -- even if it is just 30mins -- then yes you are serious.

And I thought it was a brilliant blogfest because I thought I was doing a whole lot less than I was actually doing. It reminded me to keep track.

Luna said...

I think you accomplished a lot last week considering all that you have going on in your life. Well done, Patti!

Thank you for coming up with this idea and fo the much needed inspiration.

I definitely think of you as a serious writer! Through it all you keep writing and you know when to take time to let your mind rest and your ideas simmer.

Have a great week!

BK Mattingly said...

Thanks so much for hosting the blogfest! I feel like I definitely have an idea of what I can accomplish in an average week. I like how you organized your progress by days and hours. I might have to try that instead of just keeping track of word count.

Carolyn V. said...

Okay Patti, you are super busy!!! You are for sure a serious writer, writing when you have the few moments in between life. I think a lot of us do that.

kah said...

Can't believe I missed this experiment thingy. I could really use a wake up call. I haven't been making enough time to write and I can feel it affecting my mood. Time to get serious again.

I say you did pretty darn good! (Way better than my week.)

Katie Ganshert said...

I definitely think it's about making choices, and you're right, sometimes we just need a break. :)

Heidi Willis said...

I loved reading your days and how much you wrote and why. It sounds so much like my life, and I get to the same place late at night sometimes. I have time at ten or eleven at night, but I'm so tired I'm seeing cross eyed or I'm just worn out and I need to relax. I know if I write I'll end up staring at the screen getting angry at myself and frustrated with the crap I'm writing.

Breaks are okay. Especially if you don't have a deadline breathing down your neck. Enjoy this time when writing can be something you do that you love and do because you love, and not because you HAVE to because someone is tapping their fingernails waiting on you.

I say this all like I live by that advice. I actually live by guilt. But hey, it doesn't mean it's not still good advice.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I didn't keep track. I'm in a writing funk right now and knew I would only depress myself. LOL. :-)

Jill Kemerer said...

Yep! This is my life too! I've given myself permission to listen to my needs. You crammed a lot of writing in, even with a busy week!

(I am so glad I found your blog again! It slipped through my bookmarks!)

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through Melissa's post about writing hours tally.

I am stunned at how busy you are and how much writing (and related tasks) you managed to complete.

A sincere congrats for balancing it all with style!

Christi Corbett
PS. I put up a link to this post through my blog I liked it so much :)

Catherine Denton said...

Thank you so much for orchestrating this. It was fantastic to get a view of how much I ACTUALLY write. And I enjoyed seeing each of your days and how you managed with your busy schedule.

href="">Make Life a Work of Art!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Patti! I'm proud of you for keepin' it real and writing it down. Hope you have time for more writing, soon!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

oh my! You are a major writer! So dedicated! I'm afraid I've been very truant lately. But this post has given me a nudge! Way to go.