30 May 2012

"so what's the plan?" : my writing schedule

During last night's #MNINB Twitter Chats, the focus was on finding and making the time to write. One of the questions asked if folks used a writing calendar or schedule to keep up with their writing and writing habits.

I am a fan of having a plan. I love to create charts and graphs. When I was in college I loved putting together a weekly schedule of my classes and work each semester; when I teach, I get equal pleasure out of making a semester schedule for teaching times, office hours, and other work-related events. But the one thing I have never really planned or charted is my writing. I guess because I'm not a very disciplined writer; I like to get in writing when I can, but it never occurs to me that there could be benefits to actually setting aside time to write instead of jotting down all my ideas on napkins and receipts and hoping I remember not to throw them away before I actually start writing! I suppose it's also because of my concept of art: while I understand that art is craft, and needs to be practiced in order to be "perfected" (or as close to perfected as one can get), I always tend to think of art as spontaneity ... And you can't put that on a calendar. Still, the number of ideas and poems I've lost because of poor planning and a lack of focus is enough, now, to make me think a new approach might be a good idea.

I started working on a writing schedule, and right now I'm very happy with how it looks. It might be because, if you ignore the "every day things" I included (like Zumba, taking a shower, meals ...), it's actually not too overwhelming. Or it could be the fact that I color-coded it by task. Amazingly, writing still takes up remarkably little time, though platform building takes up a lot and can still be considered writing (in my opinion). But this calendar is forcing me (or allowing me to force myself) to take things a bit more seriously, and make a commitment to the things I want to be doing this summer.

So, without further ado, I give you what is, as of right now, my (tentative) Summer Writing/Platforming Calendar:

Summer Writing/Platforming Calendar (image credit: Khara House)
 Right now I'm happy to see my evenings are less full than what they've been before putting this together. By planning to compose and schedule my upcoming blog posts on Sunday (I think I can safely move that time between Friday, Saturday, and Sunday if I want), I free up a lot of time I spend pretending to write but really dilly-dallying online. By scheduling my time on Twitter and Facebook, I (hopefully) will force myself to take that time more seriously. (I also love the HootSuite slot, which lets me "cheat" at the social thang by pre-scheduling posts, links, etc. so I don't get glued to the computer!) And by putting Zumba on the calendar, I will (again, hopefully) finally get my butt in gear and start digging into a regular workout routine again! I think my favorite thing on this calendar, though, is the Reading Hour ... I don't spend enough time reading anymore, so hopefully by "scheduling" it I can ease myself back into that habit, too!

Your Turn: Do you use a writing schedule/calendar to keep track of your writing habits? Are you a scheduler or a go-with-the-flow type? How do you make sure you're keeping up with the tasks you want and/or need to be doing to stay on track with your life?

As always, I invite you to share comments and engage in conversation with me! I'm always happy to hear from you!

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20 comments:

  1. I meant to be there. I can tell I am aging, when a one and a half hour flight takes me out! Next week.

    margo

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  2. PS The second paragraph... we are, clearly, clones. That's me. I'll continue in our method and you can let me know how we like corralling and charting the writing. :-)

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    1. Ha-ha, I will try my best. I can already tell you today started at after 10am ... so I have a little "catching up to do" on my own life ; -)

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  3. I really need to make myself a schedule too. Yours is so visually pleasing, how did you make it/what program did you use?

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    1. Thanks, Emily! I used Microsoft Word to make it, just using their Table tool.

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    2. Great question Emily - I'm so glad you asked!

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  4. Khara, your plan is fantastic, and I am so jealous that you got both sides of your brain. If you crack open my skull, there is nothin' but air on the left side. Seriously, nothing. So for this chronically chaotic creative soul, here's the plan:

    Wake up at 5am. Every day.
    Open laptop. Fall into the page until 7:30 when the kids get up.
    Close laptop.
    Open again later if at all possible. Fall in until something is on fire.

    Write. Rinse. Repeat.
    :)

    de jackson
    www.whimsygizmo.wordpress.com

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  5. PS: Sorry I missed the Twitter chat. In Nevada, the timing of the two chats is just about exactly school pickup time, and then dinner time. Makes it tough. Really enjoyed the ones I made it to, though!

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  6. De, sad we missed you last night! hopefully you can make it to another chat soon : -)

    As for the writing schedule ... yours sounds like a plan to me! I for one failed terribly at today's attempt to keep up with a schedule; missed my reading and writing hours, so I've pushed them back in the day (I'm determined to get both in)! As long as some kind of plan is in place, I think it's fair to call it a success :-)

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  7. How exciting, Khara... I'll have to come up with a schedule, too, but I'm such a spontaneous gal, I don't know... we'll see. aybe next week when school's over, my kids and I will create a master plan for summer!!

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    Replies
    1. Have at it! It was fun (probably more fun than it should have been) to create, and even though I sort of bombed my first day of trying it out, I still managed to get much more accomplished and keep some unnecessary things (i.e., hours wasted on Facebook!) undone!

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  8. I love this! I've been trying to set up a schedule ever since the MNINB Platform Challenge, and I have really wanted to SEE someone else's plan. I LOVE color coding - I already started a schedule in Excel, but I think I can add color to that. Thanks for sharing, and good luck as you strive to continue your schedule.

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  9. Thank you so much, Julia! I hope my schedule can help you as you develop yours : -)

    Color coding is just glorious, isn't it? Such a nice way to make getting organized at least seem a little more fun, and a lot more lovely!

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  10. Great schedule, Khara! I love it. Now I just need to make one for myself. It's been on my to-do list for ages! Ugh.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rebecca! Good luck with your schedule : -)

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  11. I love your schedule, Khara! Problem with me is that I'm such a night owl that I start my day rather late. I'm trying to rework my habits this summer by getting to bed early and waking up early by 9am each day so I can squeeze in yoga, etc. and have MORE structure than I have at the moment. I do the color coding to my own scheule too. :) Despite all of this, I'm glad I have a planner every year--always save my life!

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    1. That's been my problem, too, Kathy. I am such a night owl, and on some days I've found up pushing back my schedule by half the day! My goal at this point is to get through the things on it, rather than focusing entirely on when they get done; as long as it's on the schedule, I just know I have to do it!

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    2. Well said, Khara, well said! It's the same for me too! As long as I can complete everything on a to-do list (or whatever schedule I have concocted), I'm a happy clam. The "when" just doesn't happen nearly as often as I'd like to either! ;) Plus, I work crazy hours at the hospital so I know what you mean by pushing back schedules!

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