Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blogfest 2010

Patti Nielson challenged writers last week to keep track of how many hours they wrote. I signed up because... well, Patti is a friend, and I wanted to support a friend. But also, because I was interested in knowing how many hours I write. It seems like a lot sometimes. Surely I'd come out with streamers flying and confetti falling, right? And also, it wasn't a challenge to write X amount of hours. It was just to count the hours, and to make me aware of how I was choosing to spend my time. Simple.

So this is how things panned out:

Monday: 1 hour 10 minutes. This was broken up into three different chunks, because I didn't have an entire hour to spend all at once.

Tuesday: 3 hours 30 minutes. This sounds great. I was devestated. I stayed home with the intent of writing the entire day. I have five hours when the kids are all in school. I have time at night. What happened? Life.

Wednesday: 40 minutes. Give or take. There was the gym, shopping for a birthday party, Bible study and kids choirs, and the news that I'd gotten into grad school, which pretty much killed any productivity for the day.

Thursday: 1 hour 30 minutes. Most of that was at the swimming pool while my daughter had swim team practice. I have to say that when I know I don't have much time, I get much done. I normally would have gotten more done at night, too, but the looming birthday party has me tied up at night with discussions with the hubs over plans and gifts and such.

Friday: NADA. ZIP. ZERO. Nothing. I worked like a mad woman all day trying to get the house in shape for company, making and decorating a cake, and setting up a scavenger hunt through our woods for five  boys. thankfully, this only happens three times a year in our house. Unfortunately, this happened during the blogfest week.

So total time: 6 hours 50 minutes.

I have to say I was stunned and sad by that. At first, I thought I'd completely failed myself.

And yet, what I learned was this: I got a tremendous amount done in that time. Huge. And in writing it down each day, I was uber-conscious of how I was using my time, and I used it well. I chose writing when I could. I shut down the internet often. I was focused. Accountability, even if only with bloggers, is a great thing.

Now, I have to focus even more. I have my first two assignments for the MFA program due in November, and I want to finish this current book within the next month so I can shelve it without it nagging me. There are so many more polishing edits it needs, but for the time being, if I can just pull it all together with this last revision to make it cohesive, with a believable character arc, I'll be happy.

How's your writing?


  1. I've never done that before. I think it would be really hard for me to do. I sit for maybe 10-15 minutes and then my son needs something. I sit again and maybe get 1/2 hour before I have to go change laundry or start dinner or something else. I am constantly setting the laptop aside to do something.

    Which reminds me...it's lunch time!

  2. I'd say you accomplished a lot.

    Birthday parties take a lot of time, that's why I give them up when they turn 12.

    I found that as well that when I knew I had a small window of opportunity I didn't go on the internet or I limited my time on the internet.

    I think this might be something I do every couple of months

  3. I think almost seven hours is a lot! If you write at least that much every week, then you're writing about 364 hours a year! That's crazy--like 15 straight days of writing non-stop.

    I don't know what's up with me and numbers today :D but I think you should be proud of what you accomplished. And if you normally write more, then even better!

  4. I didn't keep track because I am procrastinating starting a new story. I need to get my butt in gear and just do it! :-)

  5. Great job! It would be hard to focus after the BIG NEWS but you did. And sounds like you have a handle on your up-coming writing. Ahh..the essay. I like the essay. And school gives you IDEAS for the topic, making them easier to write, I find.

    My writing? Well, I do like my last blog post. And working on revision when I leave here!

  6. After being on vaca for a while, I'm almost not ready to jump back into my book. On a high note there's all that time on an airplane when NO electronic devices are allowed and I wrote out like four pages of things that I need to make sure are clarified, points that I know I want to make and a few ideas of scenes that need to be added in. The backbone from beginning to end is there now, I think with my random bits of vacation time last week, I can probably "finish" fairly quickly. We'll see. I may just get sidetracked again...

  7. I did a time study on myself not too long ago and it is really shocking that out of my free 7+ hours each day, how much of my time was used actually writing.

    On the other hand, I hope this doesn't sound mean, but it was encouraging for me to see how many hours you (a published author!:o) was able to put in during a busy, mom-task-filled week. It give me hope. Some mad hope, actually! ;o)