My Winter 2020 Writing Schedule

For those interested, this post is a “behind-the-scenes” look at one of things I'm doing to crank out about 6k-7k words/week toward my novel (and none of this counts).

I’m trying out a new schedule, again, in my pursuit of maximizing time for writing, family, and work. My wife knows (unfortunately) that I’m not afraid to experiment with my schedule, or even my sleep. I’ve been a late night person, an early morning person (seeing 3am as both a night person and morning person), a power napping person (still a good idea, when possible), and even a multiphasic sleeping person (sleeping only 2 hours every day, broken up into 20 minute power naps). Thankfully, I’m not pursuing anything so extreme, this time. I’ve simply switched from writing at night, after bedtime, to writing in the morning, when the rest of the house is still asleep.

When I first got serious about carving out writing time, I adjusted my schedule so I could stay up later. I still woke up early enough to workout before my son was awake, but I did almost all of my writing after the rest of the house went to bed. I actually really liked writing in the evening. When I could do it, I had hours and hours stretched in front of me, and I could relax on the back porch (sometimes with an adult beverage) and write until I was ready to fall over.

Unfortunately, when work got busier or the kid was a little more exhausting than usual, I had nothing left when it was supposed to be time to write. Sometimes, I would just write pages of nothing useful. Most of the time, I gave up and watched something before bedtime.

Best case, I managed to get my energy up and get in the zone, and then I didn't have much time left for reading before I passed out. Unfortunately, for the stuff I'm working on right now, I need more time for reading and researching than the moments before I fall unconscious.

So, my new schedule means I get up about 90 minutes earlier so I have time to write before working out. Writing this way, I've been able to be very consistent (which is better than getting in the zone twice a week), and I have my evenings free to read for at least an hour or two after bedtime for the rest of the house. I love the consistency, and I'm burning through books, so that's awesome. I also found out, after almost a year of working after hours, that I can look forward to being “done” with the day as soon as I get to dinner time. It's all relaxing and reading after that.

The major downside for right now is the “hard out” in the morning when I have to stop writing to work out, get ready for work, and wake up the toddler. Even if I feel inspired, I have to stop, but I'm still more consistent. Of course, part of this current transition is preparation for Christmas break when I can keep on writing while my family leaves the house or does their own thing, so that will be awesome.

After winter? Once it's perfect weather outside in the evenings and my wife is completely fed up with me going to bed relatively early? I'm sure that I'll try to figure out a way to get back to writing in the evenings again, but now I'll look at ways that I can do it without giving up my reading time, becoming inconsistent, or losing the great feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. If I actually figure all that out, I'll probably talk about it here!