Sunday, March 10, 2013

Balance While Under a Deadline

First of all, quick technology update - my home computer is still being held hostage by the Geek Squad.  According to my email, my hard drive has been fixed and is being shipped back to Hawaii as we speak, but I don't yet have it, so I'm continuing to use a temporary one.  Why is this important?  Because I don't have access to those wonderful and witty pictures you have all come to enjoy.

Anyhoo, on to the topic at hand...

I'm under a deadline.  There are a pair of major events that will occur in my life in April/May which will significantly restrict my writing ability for a period of time.  However, I also have a new book that I'm trying to finish, which means I have basically the next seven weeks to get the first draft complete.  Schism is a four act novel, and Acts One and Two are finished.  I'm trying desperately to complete an act each month, and the target for each piece is 35,000 words.  I've exceeded that with the first two, but not by so much that they're gargantuan(Act One is 42,000 words, and Act Two is 38,000 words).  I figure I'll cut 6,000 to 7,000 words out of each, so there'll be enough depth to convey the story.

In order to reach this goal and not go insane, I'm trying to write 2,000 words per day, which takes about an hour.  However, with the limited number of hours in a day, this can be difficult sometimes.

Were this a full time gig, reaching 2,000 words per day would be a snap.  In fact, I could probably double it and take a couple of days off completely, still reaching my goals with ease.  However, there are tons of other things to do, not least of which is my current career.  Beyond that, I have a family and like spending time with them(I took my wife and daughter to see Oz The Great and Powerful yesterday).

Since my career and family time are non-negotiable(I like to eat and my family will be there whether this writing thing works or not), I have to prioritize time with my other two activities.  The first is my time on the Internet.  I love browsing both Facebook and news/opinion sites, and those take time.  I get into a rhythm where I feel it's hard to get away from browsing, so I have to pay attention.  However, I also love to look around and engage others on several forums, so it's not something I want to give up completely.  The other thing I need to figure out in priority is this blog.

I love to write this blog, but I've found myself many times without any posts ready late on a Sunday night.  I think consistency is important, so I force myself to sit down and crank out something to engage those who drop by on a regular basis, but that cuts into my writing time.  Every minute I spend either blogging or on the Internet is a minute I spend not working on my novel.  I used to think that JA Konrath was a bit of a pussy for not blogging more often, saying he needed to write his book, but I now understand completely - writing a novel is time consuming, and that restricts what you can spend time on.  However, Konrath is also an already established professional with an audience who gladly comes back for more, so he can get away with more of an absence than I could.

Does all of this sound whiny?  Yes, and I understand that.  However, it's not meant to be.  Instead, it's meant as a bit of self-reflection.  I have to find ways to balance my time between my blog, my novel, and my Internet engagement.  In that mix, my Internet browsing will have to take more of a backseat, which is going to be hard.  Like a crack addict, I get edgy if I haven't been online for more than a day.  But I can't let this blog or my novel go if I want to begin my professional writing career where I would like.  That means exercising some self control, no matter how difficult.  On Sundays, it means blogging first.  During the week, it means pushing through 2,000 words before getting on Facebook or an online forum.

How do you achieve balance?  Are you able to put aside the distractions you find so tempting?

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