writing and work

I have a theory: working a job while trying to write is good for your book. Or, I think it is, in my case.

I’ve noticed that I don’t write as much when I’m not employed. Often times I’ll drop off writing entirely and try not to think about the novel. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps my entire system is thrown off without a rigid schedule. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD since I was six, and most of the literature dealing with the disorder prescribes order and firm boundaries. The only class in college I got a well-earned 4.0 was also my hardest and strictest: History 401: War and Society, taught by a brilliant doctor with a military sense of discipline.

I’ve dabbled with finishing chapter twelve for a while. Months, actually. The difficulty of the plot I’m weaving is completely intimidating.

I start work at Nintendo on Monday morning.

making up a schedule

I admit it, I’ve been gone lately far more than I have in the past. Things have been a little crazy.

I quit my job two weeks ago (and four days after that, they laid everyone off at the company), moved up to a more remote location. I was set then to write full-time, but the new house has needed a lot of work. Old, smelly carpets to tear out, popcorn ceilings to scrape off, walls to spackle, everything needs to be painted. I’ve also taken on an informal job designing a logo, business card, brochure, and website for one of my neighbors, in exchange for a huge, gorgeous wooden desk that’s soon to be the center of all writing-related activities (not to mention the crowning glory of my bedroom).

So, the short of it is, we’re not moved in yet, and we’ve got a metaphorical ton of work to do before carpets get in, much less furniture. It seems that I’m taking a longer break from my book after all. It has, however, emphasized something that I’ve been thinking about for writing full time. You need a schedule. You won’t make the time if you don’t think of this as a business.

Or, at least, I do.

So. Since November 1st is the day our short-term apartment lease runs out, as well as the first day of NaNoWriMo, I’ll be sticking to a schedule, most of which centers on writing.


  • Write ‘Blue Crystal’ (no side projects): 2,000 words a day. Estimated time… 4 hours?
  • House remodeling. I’m not stupid enough to think it’ll be over by then. 1 1/2 hours.
  • Spanish. Because I’m stubborn, and determined to learn it. 1/2 hour.
  • 3d, art, and design work (such as that commission I took on). 1 1/2 hour.
  • Exercise. I’m cranky if I don’t move at some point. 1/2 hour.

That’s eight hours. I figure that my house remodeling hour and a half will be replaced by my internet social networking time once work is done (it’s so much harder to keep up on now that I don’t have a boring desk job). So, with a bit of scheduling… my tentative schedule will look something like this:

09:00-09:30 – Exercise.
09:30-10:30 – Writing.
10:30-10:40 – Break.
10:40-11:30 – Writing.
11:30-12:00 – Spanish.
12:00-12:30 – Lunch.
12:30-02:00 – House remodeling/housework/blogging/networking.
02:00-02:10 – Break
02:10-04:00 – Writing.
04:00-05:30 – 3d, art, and design.

That’s a full eight hour day. If I don’t make my 2,000 words, then I get overtime. Too harsh? Too much to do? Anything I’m forgetting?


I gave my notice at work today. I’m a project lead, not a tester, so I gave three week’s notice instead of two. Starting October, I’ll be officially writing full time. I have savings enough to live comfortably (if frugally) for several years. I’m also going to be moving to a small town in another state, between a lake and a mountain. Farm country.

On the wall beside my desk at work I taped a piece of paper, on which I’ve written, “Please don’t annoy the writer. She may put you in a book and kill you.” On the bottom left corner of that sheet I’ve taped up a dove candy wrapper. It’s nothing special, just wrinkled aluminum with a fortune cookie type message printed on the inside. This one says, ‘Be fearless.’

I think I’ll take that one with me when I go.

As for the book’s progress (for the curious)… I’m starting the last scene of the last chapter of the second draft.