Thursday: Planners, schedules, and lists (!)

I have two planners, both of which I’m very happy with.  One is a student planner from Walmart, with the numbers 10 and 11 blocked in a very post modern way across the front cover, and the other is the New Yorker weekly planner, cat edition.  I like the cartoons.

But, I have found that I need more than just a schedule to keep myself on track.  Working on a novel puts me into a kind of a void, which can get uncomfortable.  Here’s what I do to make me feel like the progress I am making is real:

-Do something first thing in the morning. This is something I just started doing.  My cats like to go outside, but the desert is filled with salivating coyotes.  So we compromised–I take them on supervised walks.  This is both embarrassing and time consuming, but I do understand their need.  I used to do this first thing in the morning, but now I take an hour to get at least one thing done, so I don’t feel like a deadbeat at 10 AM. They meow, but I tell them to pretend that I’m still asleep.

-Make very detailed lists. If I write down “write novel” on a to do list, I never feel like I can cross it off.  I mean, can I honestly say I wrote my novel today?  But, if I instead make a list that goes something like this:

  • print chapter 13
  • read chapter 13 once
  • read chapter 13 twice
  • make changes to chapter 13
  • print chapter 13 again

I can cross all of those things off and feel both honest and successful.

-Read/critique other people’s stuff. There’s nothing like telling someone what to do with their work to make you feel like you’ve done something.

-Read about famous writer’s and how they get stuff done. I’m not going to wake up at 2AM to start writing, but just thinking about Sylvia Plath writing her Ariel poems in a pre-dawn darkness makes me feel pretty productive.

-Do tangible things. I usually don’t want to go to work, but it’s probably good that I am not independently wealthy.  I teach yoga, which forces me to think in a much more procedural way than I do when I’m writing.  Even if I have a day where I do nothing but delete and rewrite the same sentence over and over again, when I take out the trash and lock up the studio, I feel like I’ve done something.

-Clean. I don’t know, I think it helps.

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~ by Clickity Clack on January 13, 2011.

2 Responses to “Thursday: Planners, schedules, and lists (!)”

  1. Haha! Chapter 13 is bankruptcy…

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