Back when I was in high school, I used to read books on creative writing, join online communities about creative writing (once we got a home computer), took creative writing classes… I was studying the craft desperate for an answer to the age old question:
How the hell does one finish a novel?
The thing about advice is, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m not always apt to taking it. When you’re a writer, that’s not such a bad thing. You find advice that fits your style, your process. Sometimes you have to stretch and try something new, but you reject things that simply don’t work for you. Over the course of years, I finally culled the advice that worked from the advice that didn’t, and here I am writing 3-4 novels a year.
A writing “schedule” has never worked for me. I tried on many different occasions to allot certain time for certain writing projects. Like with all things related to schedule (working out, chore lists, etc) I suck at keeping to it. Deadlines? Love them. A day to day schedule of what to do each hour… never lasts in this house for more than a week.
I’ve done my best and most prolific writing the past year, and when do I do my writing? Whenever. Baby’s naps, during baby’s meals. At night, in the morning during Sesame Street. Whenever and wherever I can fit a few words in or string a few sentences together. There’s nothing set about my life (my child defies a schedule as much as I do), and yet I’m happier with my writing (both product and amount) than I’ve never been.
You can’t force yourself into doing something that doesn’t work for you, and when you let yourself follow the process best for you, you get the best results. Some people need that schedule, some people don’t. For me… it just doesn’t work.