Gail Gauthier: Time Management Tuesday: May Days, The Results Show
Wondering how I did with The May Days Project I took part in last month? The one in which I was supposed to write two pages a day, every single day? Well, I made it through, though I had to do some finessing. At least once I had to do 3 pages the day after I did only 1, and the last few days I had to stockpile pages whenever I could to deal with heavy family days. But I did manage 64 pages over 31 days, which means I averaged 2 pages a day with, somehow, 2 pages extra. I worked on 14 different projects. I didn’t finish anything, and some of the work is so bad that, as I told my May Day colleagues, I’m worried something will happen to me and my survivors will find this stuff on my hard drive and be horrified.
So what did I gain from all this?
- I started some projects I’ve been thinking about for years.
- I began going through journals, pulling out workable project ideas and moving them to my computer journal where I’ll be able to find them again. I’ve never done that before.
- I started an article on craft that I’m going to turn into a workshop proposal and submit to a conference
Managing My Time:
- I’m going to start thinking in terms of month-long blocks of time and try to give a long-term project priority each month. For example, I’m giving a book-long revision I’ve been working on for quite a while priority this month.
- Working weekends is too difficult for me. However, I’ve been thinking about trying to do some professional reading on weekends for a long time now. After the ordeal of trying to write every weekend, doing a bit of reading doesn’t seem so bad. I began the reread on Saturday.
Scheduling “Set Aside Time” For Special Projects:
Shonna Slayton of Routines for Writers, who was not part of my May Days Project, also did a May project as part of Story a Day, a group of around 500 writers trying to write a story a day in May. Shonna used the month to work on plot outlines for future novels instead of actual stories. That was an excellent idea, I thought, and at the end of her post she suggests other ways to set aside time for that kind of work. (Or use those methods for setting aside time for any kind of writing work.)
What we might be talking about with this kind of set aside scheduling is binge writing, a term I hadn’t heard for years until someone on Facebook linked to some interviews on it just last week. Author Sally Bosco interviewed self-described binge writers Emily Asad and Leslie Davis Guccione. Note that both authors are not binge writers in the sense that they are moved by a muse to write like crazy. They prep for their intensive writing periods.
My Plans For Future Set Aside Or Binge Writing Periods:
- I’m going to try to formally do this again in the fall, though I won’t include weekends. In order to preserve as much time during the work week for writing as possible, I load weekends with family and home maintenance tasks. You cannot do two things in the same time period. I can’t, anyway. Trying to work weekends, is a set up for failure.
- I’m also hoping to plan the work ahead next time (I found out about May Days on the last day of April), having either a specific project or projects I’m going to focus on.
- Additionally, I may have the freezer stocked up a bit ahead of time, too, so I can try to do less thinking about something life-related. If you want to give more time to work, the time has to come from somewhere.