Sigh. So I missed at least two more of my friends’ books that were out this week. I plead squirrel brain.
David B. Coe’s novelization of the new Robin Hood [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] movie is first up. Coe posted at SF Novelists about the challenges of doing a work like this.
Also out is Janni Lee Simner‘s latest YA title Thief Eyes [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon]. Icelandic fantasy for those tired of traditional pseudo-European settings. Read an excerpt here.
So yesterday I took the day off of work. I’ve maxed out on my annual leave, meaning I’m at the point where I either use it or lose it. Here are the things I managed to accomplish:
- Got the boy off to school.
- Paving stones placed beneath gates to stop dog from digging out of the back yard.
- Lawn mowed.
- Front yard weeded and feeded.
- Weeds in driveway sprayed with liquid death.
- Oil changed and car washed.
- Dishes put away.
- Interview with Jig the goblin written and turned in.
What didn’t I do? Any writing at all on Snow Queen or for the anthology invitation that showed up Wednesday night. And this is why the idea of quitting the day job and going full time as a writer isn’t as simple as it looks.
I needed to get all of that stuff done, especially since I’ll be away this weekend at Penguicon. But it’s still frustrating that, in many ways, it’s easier for me to get writing done when I’m working than it is on a day off.
If I ever do go full time, I know I’ll have to make some changes. Basically, I’ll have to treat it just like I do my day job, with scheduled work hours. I’m thinking a two-hour block in the morning, and a 2-3 hour block in the afternoon. (Yes, I think about this a fair amount.) It wouldn’t be a full eight-hour work day, but it would be a lot more than I get now, and would leave time for blogging, e-mail, and other related activity.
But hey, at least my car is clean 🙂
April 29, 2010 @ 2:29 pm
The idea of a couple hours in the morning and a 2-3 in the afternoon if you do go full time is a good idea. Might be a good idea to pay attention to your “zone attention span” (or whatever it should be called). Basically, most everyone has a duration of time they naturally gravitate towards when working in a zone, often regardless of task.
I’m a web programmer by day (and aspiring writer by I-really-need-to-make-the-time), and I have found that whether I am programming, writing, cleaning my kids’ rooms, whatever it is, when I really lose myself in the task, I go almost exactly 2 hours before starting to feel that I need a break. I have heard most people are closer to 90 minutes (and I’m sure there’s plenty that tend to go longer), but when the day comes that you do go full time, it might be wise to try to learn your personal duration that you tend towards and plan around that.
If it is say, 90 minutes, then you would be far more productive spending 90 minutes working, then 30 minutes goofing off, than another 90 minutes working, than you would trying to push through 3 hours in one stretch.
Realizing what my natural zone duration is has helped improve my productivity and planning quite a bit.
April 29, 2010 @ 10:02 pm
A clean car is what counts. It’s the only thing in life that matters! I must say my ears perked up at the Jig interview and anthology mention. But you’ll pull it off, Jim. Just get the coffee ready to write the full book the night before! What? You say that’s not doable? Poppy cock! Or however you spell that… Now I really want to use that term for the next week…
Jim C. Hines
April 30, 2010 @ 7:59 am
For the moment, I only have that 12-1 lunch break for writing, so I force it regardless of my mood. But when and if I finally break away from the day job, I’ll definitely have to pay attention and figure out the best schedule for me and my brain, as well as how long I can go at a stretch before said brain burns out…
Jim C. Hines
April 30, 2010 @ 8:00 am
Heh. Once, long ago, I managed to do 10,000 words in a single day. But it was the only thing I accomplished that day, and it burned me out pretty good. Not something I could pull off with my lief these days, and since the current book needs another 40-50K words on it … yeah, probably not going to finish that tonight 🙂