How I Work, 2010 Edition

In my last post I mentioned I’ve been working harder than ever on writing fiction.

When I first picked up writing again last year, I really only dabbled a few hours occasionally on the weekend. Then late in 2009 I got more serious, and added one or two more weeknight sessions, maybe an hour or two after work.

This summer I stepped it up. I now get up at 5:30 every morning, which gives me almost 90 minutes to write, five days a week, before I have to get ready for work. Three or four times a week, after work and exercise, I might squeeze in another hour. On the weekend I write all day Sunday (8-12 hours), and often an hour or two on Saturday.

This may not be “full time” but it’s a huge improvement over what I was doing just six months ago, and it means much of my time not spent at work, or commuting, exercising or eating, is spent writing.

I’ve often seen established writers offer the straightforward advice, “write more,” and I really believe that’s the best prescription. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not only spending more hours per week, but also making the sessions more frequent and consistent, that makes the difference. When I was writing a couple times per week, every time I sat down I had to re-acquaint myself with where I left off. Now, the moment I sit down at the computer I know exactly what I want to work on, and where I stand with regard to that piece. For this reason, if I had the choice between two hour writing sessions six times a week, or a single twelve-hour marathon, I’d choose the near-daily consistency.

Because of this effect, I’m now writing many more hours per week, and each hour is more productive now than before. Effectively I feel I’m accomplishing ten times as much per week as I did a year ago. It’s exciting to finish new stories at an increased rate, and feel I’ve been able to give them all the care and attention they needed.

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