Sunday, July 5, 2009

Scheduling Writing by Christine Duncan

Christine Duncan is an Arvada Colorado mystery writer. She got her start in writing for the Christian market writing for Sunday School magazines. Her credits include Accent Books and Regular Baptist Press. Her Colorado based, Kaye Berreano mystery series debuted in 2002 with the book, Safe Beginnings, which dealt with arson in a battered women's shelter. Safe House, the second book in the series is out in paperback this month. Although the Kaye Berreano mystery series is set in a battered women's shelter, Christine's husband wants the world to know it's not because of anything he did! Read on and enjoy her discussion of Scheduling Writing.

Somehow people get the idea that writers spend all day writing/editing in some quiet room someplace. I often get questions on my schedule. The answer? I'm uh, working on it--the schedule I mean.

First off, I need that quiet room. It does not exist in my house. It's not at my husband's office either--where I spend a lot of my day. I have heard of a lady somewhere in the back part of the high country of Colorado who has a quiet room on the third Thursday of the month when her husband goes out of town and her children are off to boy scouts after school and her mother and friends are playing pinochle. I have offered to rent it out, but she tells me the rent is way beyond my poor writer's means.

Lacking the quiet room, I will take an orderly segment of the day. You know, an hour when you can just concentrate on one thing. I work for my husband so it should be possible to squeeze some writing in somewhere. He's even amenable to it as long as I get my work done. So I just need to find some order somewhere to focus. What I really want is a schedule.

My husband tells me that it is impossible, as I am the multi-tasker in the family. This is just my husband's nice way of putting this. Where I come from, they call that the go-for. You know, the customer wants this, go for.... I go pick up drawings or sometimes, I deliver them. Occasionally I go to pick up the check, go to the bank, pay some bills, so then I get to go to the post office. I go to the office supply place, go pick up lunch. I'm not exactly following any plan here--just doing whatever, whenever it's needed. It's not conducive to concentrating on anything, let alone writing. I'm not complaining--work is good. I like to eat, but it's not a way to get a schedule. So I have a day job. Most writers do.

So, like many, I write when I can find the time. Some people I know get up early to write. I already get up early to pray and to run. By the time breakfast comes around, I'm sweaty, and starving--but usually peaceful. I can't fit writing in there.

As a result, I try to fit writing into the other end of the day. I have a deal with myself that I can't go to bed until I've written at least one page, handwritten. This works for me.

I like to sleep--a lot. So I will sit on the loveseat after all my favorite shows have gone off the air for the night and write. Often once I get started, I will write more and go to bed feeling virtuous. Sometimes, occasionally, it will all look like drivel and the one page is a very hard slog. The amazing thing is that when I go to put the whole deal into the computer later, I can't always tell what I thought was drivel and what gave me that feeling of accomplishment.

You know, come to think of it, I guess this is a schedule in a way. Next time people start to ask me when I write, I guess I will say I write at night, just before I go to bed. It sounds organized, doesn't it? Hmm. I may have something here. So...when do you write?

Visit Christine at her website or at her blog.


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I write every chance I get but usual it's in the afternoon. I try to write from around 2 to 6. Sometimes it's more - sometimes less and sometimes I don't manage to fit in any time at all.

Chester Campbell said...

Know what you mean, Jane. It varies all over the lot with me. I'm about to head for the living room and get on my laptop. That's what I use for fiction writing.

Christine Duncan said...

Jane, you sound so organized, I'm jealous. I'm going to be that way--someday.