For anyone who has read my blog for a while the revelation that I love organising, de-cluttering, setting up and following systems etc. etc.  is not news.  But the question is do they make me more productive?  The answer is possibly not.

The Boss is, on the surface, highly disorganised.  His diary other than his online work diary, is non-existent; to do lists are scrawled on the back of envelopes and filing is a foreign language.  On the other hand he is highly productive, while some jobs do slip through the net it is rarely the important ones.

I set annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals.  I set disciplines for myself and I have a fully up to date diary and keep all my to do lists and notes in notebooks that I keep and can and do refer back to.

Reader, I procrastinate.  I waddle my way through my to do lists.  Not exactly cherry picking but certainly not attacking those jobs which won’t give me pleasure.  Consequently I do a lot of decluttering and sorting and tidying and cleaning and I am always behind with the invoices.

Leaving work to write full-time means I can no longer work this way.  If Book Two is going to come to fruition I have to “go to work” .  Previously I have snatched writing time around my job(s).  Now writing will be my job so that must be the occupation around which everything else is wrapped.

I need a plan.  I always have to have a plan.  A timetable, maybe?  A set number of hours?  A set number of words?  When I didn’t have the luxury of time I wrote.  Now I have the time I am worried I will fritter it away.

How do you write?


19 responses to “fritters

  1. When I first set up working for myself from home, I set myself a working day, and said I would simply work during that day at writing exactly the way I would work if I were in an office. HARD hard hard… I am a person like the Boss, I am messy undisciplined and leave work right up to the line So without anyone looking over my shoulder I found myself doing all sorts of things that were NOT work, just to stop the fear that I was all out on my own now. Things would finally get done in a mad rush a couple of days before they needed to be done.

    12 years down the line, I am still working for myself, I still leave things to the last minute and still procrastinate like crazy. Yet the bills get paid, in general I get done what needs to be done. But I am aware that I could have done much more and probably earned more if I had been like you with a system.

    I have no easy advice for you, other than a suggestion that maybe you will feel happier still working your writing around other things, but without the guilt that you should be working when you are writing.

    Could you do that?

  2. Thanks Lynne. I’ve been self employed pretty much all my working life but the difference now is that there are no deadlines. If the book isn’t complete the only person to lose is me. There are no clients jumping up and down. I am, at least at the moment, the client. I managed book one so I am sure I will manage book two but I would like to be more productive and less procrastinating!

    There’s certainly no guilt that I should be working when I am writing. Writing is my work. The guilt is that I should be writing when I am in the garden or taking a yoga class, or clearing the study out!

  3. Plans are helpful for certain. Tammie & I follow a monthly pre-made plan that she draws up and then we go over together. Many of our blogs are recipes but the more creative ones I do when “the mood strikes” which may be at the oddest or most inconvenient times. It sounds like if frittering away time is a concern that perhaps a change of setting might be helpful. It is too tempting at home to start cleaning or eating or otherwise procrastinating. Perhaps a seat in the park or on a bench at a museum or at a public library!

  4. I love to fritter – that’s why I blog. Your discipline is amazing!!

  5. I like to write very early in the morning from about 5 a.m. until 8 a.m and then write again at night from around 5 p.m. until 8 or 9 p.m. I have found that this is the times that I have the least distractions and can get the most accomplished. I will do most of my social media stuff sometime mid-day.

    • I agree with the early morning. That was when I got most of my first book written. Evenings are a bit of a write off (no pun intended) with three teenage daughters peace is not an option at that time of day!

  6. I write only as a side business, and I am sometimes terrible with deadlines! But I do try to block out time on my calendar each week for writing. Some weeks that block gets hijacked by another project or other work opportunities, but ultimately if I don’t write I don’t get paid. And that can be a strong motivator!

  7. I have to have it written down when I will do my blog post. I write a first draft then keep the word file open. Then i do other work on the computer and go back to the first draft and edit it throughout the day. At the end of the day I have it proof and then post it.

  8. You are far more disciplined than me with blog posts. I tend to sit down and write them in one go and hope for the best!

  9. I have written a blog post every day since Sept last year. I write early in the morning or when I have a lot of ideas I will do a job lot. Today I have written three in advance because I’m moving. UBC is fabulous for focussing your mind and eradicating procrastination. Well for the time being anyway 😉

    • That’s great for blog posts but I need the equivalent for novels 🙂 Nanowrimo is good for forcing you to sit down and write but some prat (clearly a man) decided to hold that in November when there are rather a lot of other things on the horizon. Perhaps I should hold my own! That said I’ve managed almost 1000 words this afternoon. So then I need to do 1000 tomorrow and then tomorrow and just keep turning up at the page and put ideas of sorting the piles of stuff from the recently gutted study right out of my mind!

  10. Although it’s not specifically about writing, I’ve found the Zen Habits site run by Leo Babauta very helpful. There’s a lot in there about how to create good habits and how to tackle procrastination as well as how to simplify. I’ve got a long way to go, but have found a lot of useful food for thought and am slightly less bad at procrastinating…

  11. Thank you Katie. I’ll have a look at Leo’s site. Oddly enough since writing that post I have written over 1500 words. I love writing, I just struggle to make myself do it.

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