Please welcome Jennings Wright with a wonderful Guest post to the blog . I am excited to have her again.
Guest post with the great Jennings Wright:
Schedules and How to Get it Done
I have never been a “schedule” person. I have routinely run from, well, routine. When I make a weekly menu for my family’s meals, it is more common than not that I decide I don’t want to eat whatever I pre-planned for that day. In short, my personality lends itself to spontaneity and whimsy, and I’ve always found regular jobs, school, and those kinds of things a challenge.
You would think that 13 years of homeschooling would have changed that somewhat, but it really didn’t. Homeschooling, by nature, is fluid and flexible, and since I had to do something different with all of my kids due to different learning styles and temperaments, I had a lot of variety. One of the funniest comments I get when I tell people I homeschool is, “Oh, you must be so organized!” Short answer? NO.
So fast forward to 2013. I got a whole lot of stuff done in 2012, including publishing three books between July and October. I wrote another novel, plus a screenplay, in 2012, as well. Getting the work done wasn’t a problem, but getting it done so that I had a life… That was a problem. I wrote or edited almost every day, and usually well into the night. I made room for fun things, of course, but I was always feeling like I was behind.
As December drew to a close and I looked at my publishing to-do list for 2013, I realized something had to give. I either had to scale way back on what I wanted to get done, or I had to figure out a way to do it that didn’t involve working all day, every day. That’s when the dreaded word “schedule” began to drift into my head.
Some of you thrive on schedules, and are probably trying to figure out what my problem is. My daughter is one such person, a list-making queen. Intellectually, I understand the need and benefit of a schedule. It’s when intellect hits reality that I have a problem. But, before the end of the year, I decided that I really didn’t want to cut back on my ambitious plan for this year, so I bit the bullet and made a schedule.
I would call my schedule somewhat flexible, and that’s probably what has made it work for over two months now (a definite record!). I’ve divided the day up into two large chunks, and have a bit of leeway as to how I use the time in each. For instance, I try to get to the gym five or six days a week (once it’s warm, that will change to a long walk). Because I suffer from chronic migraines, and those tend to start ramping up in the afternoon, after which working out is out of the question, I can do my work out either at 9am, or at the beginning of my lunch.
The rest of the morning is spent editing. With all my works in progress, I am always writing a new book and editing an upcoming one at the same time. As my best time for creativity is in the afternoon, that leaves morning for the more detailed job of editing.
I take a fairly long lunch, especially if I go to the gym at noon. I run short errands or just watch a recorded episode of Castle or The Mentalist while I eat. Basically, I need a total break in order to take off my editing hat and put on my writing gloves. They are two very different tasks, and I don’t edit at all while I write, so I have to build in that break. After this, I spend the afternoon writing. My daily goal is usually 3,000 words a day, so once I reach that, I’m free to stop. At any rate, I stop around 5:30, finished or not. That’s the end of my “work day,” and I stick with it.
Believe it or not (and I’m still somewhat in shock), this schedule has worked really well. My family all is busy during this time, and I have a sign on my office door that can be set to “Do Not Disturb” or “Come On In” depending on how things are going. I’ve gotten a lot more done that before, and now have time to cook dinner (which I enjoy) and do family stuff afterwards. My weekends have been free for fun stuff or reading.
It’s still somewhat counter to my nature, but seeing how much more time sticking to “regular job” hours has given me, I don’t think I’ll go back. If things in my life change (like in June, when my daughter is getting married), I’ll modify the schedule accordingly. But I won’t abandon it. I’ve finally found something that is more important to me than my spontaneous side, and that’s getting books out to my readers.
The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose: to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader.
The aliens aren’t the only problem on Ixeos — the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved.
The worst part? There’s no way home.
I am an eclectic writer… Or maybe ADD. I can’t stick to just one genre! I’ve written action/adventure, Christian historical romance, dystopian, and my next project is a YA dystopian low fantasy. I like interesting locations and engaging characters, and whatever genre is best to tell their story… That’s what I write.
I am a lifelong traveler, and am always looking for my next trip, whether near or far. I’ve traveled to Uganda six times in the last few year for my non-profit there, and hope that my love of Africa is reflected in the Quinn’s adventures in Solomon’s Throne. I also love history, and all my books have historical elements, even those set in the future.
There are many more adventures in my future — I’ll try to share them with you in my books!
Where to find Jennings Wright: