Have you ever had one of those
Here we are on the third Monday of January. In November I had my new year planned with plenty of time for writing along with my usual volunteer activities. Throw in a doctor’s appointment or two and some expected minor surgery, and my winter plans were complete.
But NOTHING has gone the way I planned so far!
It all started with my summons for jury duty…and I was selected to serve on a jury for a criminal case that is expected to last four weeks or more. So every day I show up at the courthouse, listen to testimonies and cross-examinations, and then go home exhausted and heart-sore from the tough testimony I’ve heard. Then I try to keep the details straight until we do it all over again the next day.
I realized before the second day of the trial was over that I needed to be super focused on my writing during my available time – somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning. And I can only squeeze out about ten minutes during that half-hour.
What is an author to do???
Since I know this situation isn’t permanent (it isn’t, right?) I only needed to come up with a solution to last for those four weeks or so. I wanted to make some progress on my WIP, but mostly I didn’t want to lose the story.
What do I mean by losing the story? It’s when you take such a long break that you’ve lost the heartbeat of your story and have to spend time reading through all your notes and what you’ve written so far to bring it back again.
Photo courtesy ShutterStock
Enter Baby Bits. I got this concept from homemaking. One YouTuber I listen to calls it “Tiny Tidies.” That’s where instead of dedicating hours to cleaning your house, you take care of tiny messes whenever you see them.
How long does it take to put a magazine back in the magazine rack? Less than a minute. Stick a few dirty dishes in the dishwasher? Maybe two minutes. In fifteen minutes or less your living room and kitchen can look presentable.
Do you get the idea?
How long does it take to write two hundred words? Would you believe about ten minutes?
And two hundred words are enough to breathe life into my story each morning.
Of course, these two hundred words aren’t going to show up if I go into my story cold. It takes preparation.
When I decided to approach my story this way, I needed to read through it again, have an idea of what was going to happen in this scene, and since I was introducing a new POV character, I needed to understand who she was and how I wanted to portray her.
By Wednesday morning when I sat down for ten minutes between my first cup of tea and my shower, I knew what I was going to write. That afternoon during a break from the court room, I jotted down some notes that covered the rest of the scene. The next morning, I was able to make more progress.
Is this a permanent solution? No. If I was working full time outside my home, I would need to come up with a different kind of writing schedule.
But the “Baby Bits” of writing each morning will help keep my story alive until I can return to my regular routine - hopefully by the middle of February!
What secrets do have of coping with unexpected breaks in your routine?