how I (try to) work

Somebody asked (in a comment to yesterday’s post) how I structure my work day.

When I had a full time faculty position and a toddler, I had to fit writing in with a shoehorn. I got up at five in the morning and wrote for about an hour and a half. Sometimes I could get another hour in in the evening. On the weekend I tried to get three hours in a day.

When I left academia and started writing full time, I stayed on a pretty regimented schedule. Three or four hours in the morning, another two or three in the afternoon. Unless I had a looming deadline, I always stopped at dinner time. I spend the evenings working on whatever mixed media project I’ve got going, usually in front of the television with the Mathematician.

In the last couple years things have degenerated. I find that sometimes I work best at eleven o’clock at night. I used to work best in the mornings at a cafe — the ambient noise provided a nest, and I was productive in that nest. Now I can’t really do that anymore because I have arthritis in my lower spine and tailbone, and the chairs at the cafes are like instruments of torture.

So at this moment, I’m trying to impose structure on myself by sitting in the same place with my computer for the same hours, turning off email and the browser, and focusing on the screen. Where only the doc I’m working on is open. Having mixed results so far.

I’m thinking of going to a hypnotist. I’ve had good luck with that approach in the past.

9 Replies to “how I (try to) work”

  1. Sounds like an interesting novel. Might save it for the birthday list if it’s a trilogy though. Get them all at once thinks I!

  2. Hear ya on the back pain, I’ve the same problem. Nowhere else ya could go for ambient noise? A bakery, train, plane or ferry terminal? Probably not handy. Museums have worked for me in the past, as have zoos..no comment please, hehe. Maybe ya need a..woot those professional types call it, a Sabbatical? Some time to find yourself blah,blah,blah. Anywho good luck with it :D

  3. Thank you for answering my question Rosina. I’ve always been fascinated with how writers get their work done. I don’t know if I’d be able to work from home; I’d be afraid that I would sleep in and not get any work done.
    I’m also very curious about the hypnotist thing. Does it work? (I guess depends on what you’re going for). I’m a bit scared of hypnosis. Have you seen the movie Stir of Echoes? :)

  4. When I attempted to write it had to be the same time every night (please note the word attempted). I can’t imagine getting up at 5:00am to write, I don’t think I could do it, but then again, nobody is offering me a publishing contract just yet either.

    I have developed night owl syndrome, I accomplish so much more late at night. I almost resent that I cannot do everything in the middle of the night i.e. my laundry because of the little tyke whose bedroom is downstairs from my laundry room. I am for some reason much more creative at 1:00am then at 1:00pm. I don’t fight it, all my poetry was written in the middle of the night.

    I cannot wait for the day that I decide to just concentrate on my writing and become the extremely well paid author that I was meant to be :D .

  5. Hey, Stir of echoes was pretty freaky, one of my faves! Fave part was when he dug up the..oops, gettin off track, right hypnosis is kinda a hard sell for me, like other things that require faith I’d LIKE ta believe,but I’m to ornery, and cynical to to take it seriously.

  6. Wolfy, you’ve got it all wrong. Hypnosis has nothing to do with faith. Hypnosis is in fact a completely natural state. You ever daydream? That’s a hypnotic state.

    If you look at a scan of a brain in a hypnotic state and compare it to both sleep and activity, you’ll see that it’s in a class by itself.

    Hypnotherapy is just learning how to access that state at will.

    I have to giggle at the idea of hypnosis being a religious kind of experience.

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