Thursday, January 31, 2013


by Allison Pang

My life is usually pretty chaotic - partially just the way things work out and partially because I'm pretty lazy. I don't keep track of things very well. I don't organize much. I don't schedule. I don't even plan on what we're having for dinner on a daily basis.

Just not in my makeup, I guess.

So when it comes to writing, I'm probably pretty lucky I ever managed to write ONE book, let alone three.

In the early stages of my writing career, I didn't have much of a writing schedule at all. I wrote when I felt like it - and my word count was sporadic at best. And of course, I always had an excuse as to why I couldn't write that day - too stressed, too tired, too whatever. So I'd read a lot of books on how to write, but as much as I was learning about the subject, I sure wasn't doing very much of it. I was my own worst enemy - sabotaging myself before I'd even really begun.

When I decided to finally implement a daily word count, I forced myself to stick with it. 1000 words a day, hell or high water...and before long, I had over 100k and the rough draft of what would become A Brush of Darkness.

Since that time, I've stuck with that minimum word count and it's worked fairly well. I have modified my approach somewhat, however. I do most of my writing at night now, but when I was first starting out, I would stress myself out every day about when I would have time to get it done. I was constantly trying to fit it in after work - around the kids and dinner and all the little things I have to do in the evening.

It made for an extremely cranky mommy and I definitely didn't like the way I  felt like I was choosing my work over my family.

So I made a bargain with myself to stop trying to write in the earlier evening - I would come home after work and do the family thing, giving my kids my undivided attention - until they went to bed. And then I would write and however long it took, I would get my 1000 words in. (Which usually meant staying up until about 1 AM  or so.) The offshoot of this was that I could get my snuggle time in guilt free, and that made a world of difference in my stress level, because I knew I had time set aside.

The bad news is that I wasn't writing until 10 or 11 PM - and after a full day of work and family stuff, that can make for some slow writing. (I tried reversing it and getting up super early to write, but that *really* made me a cranky ass for the rest of the day, so I couldn't keep it up.)

It's the best I've got at the moment (although it's slightly more complicated now, due to the pain killers I've been taking for my back. Yes, they help with the pain, but I also get somewhat stoned for a little while. Mellow is nice, but it makes it a bit hard to focus.)

However, I have started doing timed writing sessions the last few weeks with a friend (which I talked about earlier this week on my own blog) and it's really made a big difference. And the weird thing is that I've done the timed thing before but I never really stuck with it.  And now? I'm even increasing my word count to about 1200 to 1500 words for the hour, which is crazy - but there it is.

So maybe I need to be accountable to someone other than myself to make an actual routine stick. For now, I'll take it. :)

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