I tried something new with my schedule last week. I’ve been doing block scheduling for a while, allotting specific chunks of time in my schedule to specific tasks, and only working on it until that block is up. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes it’s not enough time to really make a difference in what I’m doing. I thought using larger chunks–entire days–might help.
I broke my schedule into different categories and gave one day to each category. Monday was doll projects and video work, and I made great progress on Rhyllyn’s modifications and Rune’s new headback, as well as getting a decent chunk of filming done for YouTube documentation of those projects.
Tuesday was for book formatting, platform catch-up, and general admin work. I got a print proof for Serpent’s Mark ordered and I can’t wait to see how it looks. I replied to a bunch of email and commission queries, and finally caught up on comments places. At least, I think I did.
Wednesday and Thursday were set aside to be writing days, and that was when I learned this new method definitely wasn’t going to work for me.
See, part of trying new things is finding which things work well for you and which don’t. We keep the things that serve us and discard the things that don’t. I’ve learned over the course of a couple years that I work really well writing in short sprints, nothing longer than 15 minutes. I try to make use of that by doing a series of sprints in the morning to get my day’s words. Since it works well, I thought it would be worth applying it to an entire day. If doing 3 ten-minute sprints with short breaks helps me get 1,000 words in 40 minutes, then doing 5 sets of 3 sprints should help me get 5,000 words across 5 hours with plenty of rest between, right?
No, no, no.
My goal was 5k words on Wednesday and 5k on Thursday. I logged 4,300 on Wednesday, but was exhausted and it didn’t take five hours, it took sixteen, working on it on and off all day. It wasn’t 3 sprints of ten minutes each, it was… I don’t even know, but it was a lot, and my word counts were abysmal. I worked at it less Thursday, but logged 2,500 words and was exhausted. Lesson learned: For me, short bursts work best.
So I’ve rearranged again and instead of pushing for big word counts, I’ll stick to what I know I can do: 1,000 words a day, done across 3 or 4 sprints in the morning. That’s still enough words to give me four epic fantasies in a year, so it’s a good schedule for me. And if I get into better writing habits, I should be able to write that much and then block the rest of my day off for other projects that need bigger chunks of time.
Friday was a half-day for the little one, so it was a half day for me, and used just for tying up loose ends from the previous days. I’ll be blocking things differently this week, but at least I’m making solid strides forward on the third Westkings Heist book this time. It was sitting at 12,600-ish words Thursday night, so if I can stick to 1k a day, it should be done in the middle of March, leaving plenty of time for prep work ahead of its scheduled release in June.
I think this week’s new habit should be getting back to using Pacemaker to chart my progress on the book. I sure miss seeing that little graph tick up…