Fixed Schedule Writing In An Unscheduled Life

I’m spending a lot of time on the road lately. Not in a glamorous, jet-setting kind of way. Mainly on roads that start with M, in fact.

Normally I love travel. It’s a way to recharge, to be inspired, to discover something new. Hopefully there will be a little bit more of that before the year ends. For now though, it’s more business hotels than spa resorts and swimming pools under blue skies.

Even though I love the unpredictable adventure of travel, I need routine in my writing. Combining the two is not that easy.

Writing from my home desk isn’t so bad, but writing from hotel rooms is a bit uninspiring. I’m starting to find coffee shops a bit more freeing, although I generally need to have headphones in to avoid being nosy distracted by the conversation. They also force me to write longhand, which makes me focus more on my words.

The net effect of all this is a serious downturn in production. Which sounds a bit businesslike, but writing keeps me sane. Actually completing stories and getting them out of my head is the most rewarding thing I do. I’d like to think that if I ever have kids then they would be more rewarding but quite frankly, I wouldn’t put money on it.

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Solutions

So, in an attempt to not be loopy by Christmas, I’ve started exploring some strategies to help me get back on track.

Acknowledging Energy Levels: Currently I’m covering hundreds of miles each week, so if I have a four hour drive home one evening and crawl into the house at nine, then I should take it easy on myself if I get up an hour later the next morning. I can’t seem to shake the guilt though – not to mention the fact my body insists I wake up anyway – so I have started to allow this to be non writing time. Instead, by focussing on more routine tasks, like website maintenance and reading articles, I get those tasks off my list that I would usually do at the end of the day or weekends.

Taking Better Notes: Ideas come to me at odd times when I’m busy.  I’m trying to make sure that random flashes of inspiration and ideas get captured in a notebook so I can dig them back out when the right time comes. Bullet Journaling is a great way of helping with this.

I Don’t Feel Like Writing (But I’m Doing It Anyway): If I focus on only writing in the morning because that’s when it comes easiest to me then words just won’t get written. Instead, I’m trying to make myself do it later in the day. Creativity doesn’t come as naturally to me in the evenings, so I’ve been spending more time in places that do add a spark of inspiration. This was how I rediscovered the enjoyment of writing with a pen and glorious notebook in coffee shops (decaf, naturally).

It’s not working 100%, so I’m totally open to new ideas and suggestions if there is something working for you?

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