My Five-Year Planning Workshop is coming up at Pioneer Valley Writers' Workshop (PVWW) in Williamsburg, MA on February 29th and these are a few of the questions Joy Baglio, founder of PVWW, asked me at the beginning of 2020. I hope all readers and aspiring writers will find these answers helpful!
Happy writing and creating in 2020, whatever your schedule may look like!
At what time of day do you usually write?
With a family schedule to juggle, the bulk of my writing time is in the 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. timeframe, with 10-2 being the most popular time slot! I do most of my correspondence and office paperwork later in the day, after I’ve used the best of my creative brain for novel writing.
What medium do you use?
I’m a long-handed writer for ALL first drafts. For some reason, the creative juices flow more authentically and freely with pen and wide-ruled composition notebook than with a computer keyboard. My composition notebook pages are numbered and I keep an index with scene names and other identifiers so I can quickly find sections I’ve written. I’ve migrated to Scrivener for typed manuscripts. As a non-linear writer, this is a perfect tool for me to write scenes out of order and arrange the flow of the novel as I go.
Where do you usually write?
2019 was the year I secured a dedicated writing space in my home (yes, it took a full year to pull it together!), so that’s where I do a majority of my work now. I also have writing partners — useful for keeping one's butt in the chair — and we meet at coffee shops, libraries, and bookstores to work on our separate projects.
What duration of time?
I try to dedicate 2-4 hours a day on weekdays for writing with 20 minutes a day over the weekends to keep my creative energy flowing. But life happens and my weekday schedule does not happen as regularly as I’d like. An absolute daily minimum is 20-30 minutes. The longer I go without touching my manuscripts, the more intimidated I am. So daily writing keeps the intimidation at bay and the words flowing.
What accompanying snacks/beverages?
Earl grey tea/London Fog is a must to start my morning! A big, refillable bottle of water keeps me company during the day, as well as apples, pretzels and chocolate!
What's your first step in getting started?
With a mug of tea in hand, I begin my day with a quick peruse through my calendar/planner followed by a review of the last few pages of my composition notebook. The first words I write each day are usually thoughts about the story/character/plot and within 10-15 minutes I’m able to begin writing new material.
What's one tip you'd offer to anyone struggling to establish a writing routine?
Little and often makes much. Your routine doesn’t have to begin with large chunks of time. Twenty minutes a day is 10 hours a month. That’s a lot of words!
For more blogs, check out Francine's past blogs on goal setting and other writing topics at www.24carrotwriting.com.