So, it turns out routines can be fun!
Having said that, I actually strayed from my original plan on the about the first day and have not actually been able to enact it in its purest form once. But that’s not important right? The important thing is that I have kept to ‘a’ routine, a very productive one. I will probably not make my original targets, but this is partly because my plans have changed a bit as to how I’m going to organise my time between now and the end of December; book hand in day. I have also managed to get more writing done this month than I have in the 3 previous combined. And for the most part I’ve been pretty happy with what I’ve written. Not all of it for sure. There is one section which I am particularly nervous about and might take out altogether, but I was deliberately trying not to be too precious with what I wrote down, just getting it down was the priority.
So my actual working routine has looked more like this:
7am Wake up (6am was just not going to work)
7.30am Leave house
9am Arrive at work. Start writing.
10am Stop writing. Start day job.
6pm Leave work.
7.30pm Arrive home. Live.
11-12pm Go to sleep
I couldn’t get up at 6am mostly because I was finding I wasn’t able to get to sleep till about midnight most nights. This is partly because I go swimming most evenings, and this leaves me pretty far from sleep – though a really hot bath seems to help. But I think it was also a general level of stimulation that really just needed me to be able to loaf around a bit in the evening and do nothing in order to let my brain rest a bit after my day.
Unfortunately this extra hour in bed meant an hour less of writing per day, so I generally only managed 1 hour. I think on my worst day this yielded about 300 words, and on my best just over 1000. In the longer term if I can keep this kind of routine going then I think about 500 words per day would be a realistic target. I have done my best to make up the rest on quieter days in the office and on weekends, and in this I have been moderately successful. I was also pleased to find that there was more that I wanted to keep in the book drawn from what I had originally written for my PhD, sometimes re-written, sometimes just a highlight attached to a chunk of text and a little ‘to do’ note beside it.
Now that I have my introduction, theory and method chapter written I am kind of between a first and second draft. The first half is all second draft the second half is all first draft.
This is why my plans have changed a bit, and even though I know it is the chapter that needs the most work, rather than write my conclusion now, I want to go through the remaining chapters first and see what else is going to need updating, before I get to the conclusion. Though this potentially leaves me with more writing to do torwards the death, I think it is important to be attacking this thing from start to finish, after all, it does help if the conclusion flows logically from the preceding chapters right?
So, sticking with my same routine, I am now looking not so much for ‘words written’ but ‘pages edited’. I have no idea how many pages per hour I will be able to get through, I guess that depends on how much work they need. But I would really like to be ready to re-draft the conclusion by the end of the month. This then leaves me about two weeks to write the conclusion and have a complete run through, then another two weeks to do the real i dotting t crossing work to prepare for submission. Minus about 3 days for christmas.
I know this is still a shit load to try and get done in the time. But I have a new found stream of confidence running through my sea of neurosis, thanks mostly to the #AcWriMo initiative, and particularly the online accountability spreadsheet on which you fill in your daily tally. The Foucauldian in me revels in this kind of self imposed discipline; with such constraints comes incalculable freedoms.
Oh and I managed the day job as well.