Many people don’t believe that writing is hard work. How hard can sitting in front of a computer for hours be? Speaking from experience, I sometimes get up from a marathon of writing feeling like an arthritic 80 year old. I have been working diligently on editing my novel to submit again. Deleting, rewording and revising take time. Let me not forget to mention my articles and short stories, blog posts and musing. My neck and back ache, my legs scream from sitting so long. My wrists remind me they have worked hard, and my eyes blur from staring at the computer screen. Week after week of typing exacts a high toll.
My job as a receptionist requires the same sitting position and typing. Add answering the phone and remaining cheerful for clients for eight hours a day, and exhaustion is a given. I’m drained of creativity. My housework goes by the way side as I sit and channel surf. Housework and I are not best friends, but to quote Scotty from Star Trek. “Captain, she can’t take any more.” In times like these I need a new strategy.
A new strategy
I am a morning writer. That’s when I am most inspired. My mind is more alert, and my body rested. However, days of receptionist duties drain my creativity and my body screams for rest. My new strategy required working smarter, taking breaks and rearranging my to-do list. This is not an original idea. After reading the same theme in a few other blogs, I knew it was time to change my ways.
What did I do
I broke up my writing with breaks. I started Tuesday (I am off on Tuesday and Wednesday) by cleaning my downstairs and doing laundry. (The upstairs is for another day.) I played music and got the job done—even reorganized my pantry. I spent time reading my Bible (something that can get set aside.) All that before I spent a few hours editing. After lunch and a walk with my hubby, I went back to editing—did six chapters. Then I checked my e-mail (all 46 of them) and Facebook before preparing dinner. My day ended reading the last few chapters of a book on my Kindle.
What a difference
I accomplished more Tuesday than I imagined possible. So I organized Wednesday the same way. I slept in until 7 am. (I usually arise at 4:30). That was not by choice, my hubby didn’t set the alarm. Once up I called my son in Germany. Hubby and I had prayer time and went for a walk before it got too hot. I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and weeded the flower beds. (Actually I pulled out all the dead plants from the drought.) After a shower I checked my email (another 46. I joined a few new writers groups. *sigh*). Then I edited another 4 chapters. I checked my email again (another 23 *sigh*) before perusing Facebook and adding comments.
Then I drafted a blog post and an article before thinking about what to prepare for dinner. The nice thing is I didn’t feel exhausted. I had the energy to clean the kitchen and relax with my Kindle for the evening. After work the next two days, I set small goals to accomplish intermingled with a walk and time to put my feet up. Again I accomplished more than I expected.
Doing physical activity between writing times is more productive and less draining than marathon writing. I accomplished more writing than during non-stop writing times. The additional benefits are my house is cleaner and my mind clearer. I also discovered I can write productively after 2 pm. What a revelation.
What do you do to make your writing time more productive?