He asked me what time of the day I felt I did my best writing. I said after lunch. So he said, OK, I want you to sit down at 1pm and stay there until you write 500 words, or until 4pm, whichever comes first. As soon as you write 500 words, you stop. If you haven’t written 500 words by 4pm, you stop. Before that time and after that time, you can do whatever you want. He said I should only do that Monday to Friday. I should take the weekends off.
It is amazing how much pressure this simple little plan has taken off me, AND how much more I am writing. In the beginning, I was pretty slack with my flexible (not 1-4pm) time. Doing a bit of baking, some furniture rearranging, some napping. But then I found I was starting to use my flexi time to clarify research questions that came up as I was writing. So, the writing was leading the research, not the other way around, which seems to be more time efficient. I also use the time for reading, arranging my notes and other admin type tasks, but I am not rigid with that time.
Some days, I get my 500 words done in the first hour and then it is hard stop writing. But I do, and I come back to it the next day with a few more ideas. I have also been resisting the urge to edit, until I at least have the stories to a complete draft stage. I will take a week out to edit, without writing, as they are such different processes, I think they need a bit of separation.
I should note that, at the moment, I am working on my creative chapters, not my theoretical ones, but I am confident that this system will work with them as well. I work in a similar way with both parts, making notes on ideas as they come to me, or as I research them and then using those notes to trigger the writing.
It seems like a good method so far, but I’ll let you know in a few months.
If there is anyone with any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.