Dealing with scheduling writing work

Illustration of office

Planning promotion; picture by author

The standard notion about scheduling your writing is that the earlier in the day that you write, the better it is.

That doesn’t really work for me anymore. Oh, it was a good idea when I was working full time because a.) the only time I had to write where I wasn’t dealing with brain fatigue was early in the morning. By the time I got home, I was usually wiped out, mentally fatigued, and at best only good for editing that day’s work and making notes for the next day’s writing progress.

Things change. I really struggled with that notion when my cataract was growing because I needed time in the morning to get my eyes working and focusing.

Now, it’s an issue of when is my brain most awake? What activities work best at what time of the day?

I started looking back at my schedule over the past year and came to certain realizations.

First, the optimal time of day for writing is much more flexible for me these days than it used to be. It seems to change with the seasons and with what I need to do. Right now, I find that writing is happening in the afternoons and early evenings, same for editing. I can’t do much writing early in the day anymore. My brain isn’t quite ready to go into creative work. But…

Second. I found that when I left promotion and social media work to afternoons and evenings, after writing, far too often I ended up closing those tabs and moving on. I just didn’t have the brain power to deal with a lot of the work involved with promotion. But–I found that if I did the work in the morning, it was easier to pull things together and do the work than when I left it in the afternoon. I find it harder to face that work in the afternoon.

Third. I need to remain flexible about scheduling, in part due to seasonal changes. One of the big changes that happens from winter to summer is when I see the horse/go riding/do outdoor stuff. In winter, that tends to happen more often midday. In summer, that needs to be morning or late afternoon (mid-afternoon is the heat of the day here). The horse stuff is always late afternoon because I prefer to ride when it’s cooling down rather than heating up. It works better for me. Also, outside chores timing is important.

Now, one thing is that this is based not on detailed observational tracking but just thinking about my working process as it has changed. So far, I have not needed to explicitly block out writing time because so far I’ve been keeping up with it.

This process will probably change over time, but what I’m learning…is that remaining flexible is the key.

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