Monday, January 18, 2010
The Midnight Hour
by Clare Langley-Hawthorne
I admire those writers who get up in the wee hours of the morning to write - I cannot even function before about 6am and even then I need breakfast, The New York Times crossword and a big cup of tea before I can even contemplate writing. Granted every morning I have the boys to get to preschool so inevitably it's 10am before I even get started writing (and that's on a good day). When I was writing my first novel, Consequences of Sin, I had the 'luxury' of being pregnant so I could spend all day writing (and most of the night since I found it almost impossible to sleep), then the twins were born and I had to try and fit revisions into naps. Suddenly I realized I wasn't going to be able to write when the mood struck - I was going to have to write in whatever free minute I could find.
Five years later and I am still struggling to find a writing schedule to fit. Never one to be able to write late at night, I now find myself routinely writing until 11 pm (which becomes 2am when I'm trying to meet a deadline). When friends ask me how on earth I find time to write I answer that I just 'find' it wherever and whenever I can. I laugh when people tell me about how they prepare themselves with mood music and incense, getting themselves into 'writing mode'...I haven't the time to 'prepare myself' (for me any form of preparation has to be research) but it's true that there is always a lead time needed before the writing starts to flow. I still find the time factor difficult to manage. When I was lawyer I billed in 6 minute increments, now I find it hard to feel as if I have achieved anything of substance unless I have had a good 1-2 hour chunk of time. It takes me at least that long to find the rhythm of my writing - but (and here's the rub) it seems so hard to capture that length of time uninterrupted. I often find that I am just getting into the flow of things when my time (literally) is up.
So what kind of writing schedule do you maintain? How do fit your writing in? Are you someone who gets up early or stays up late? Any advice on how to become a more effective 'writing time' manager?