Our son’s back in school and I was a lazy sod through most of August, so today is officially fall in Dennis’s Imaginary Realm and I’m back to work.
Work being the awesome and dubious profession of novelist, which I can finally call myself after fifteen years of wishing. I got to visit the dentist this morning and put “writer” on the occupation line, and when the hygienist asked me what I wrote, I was able to say, with hooks and hands in my mouth, that “Mah fust nowel is comih ow in Marsh.” And she said I had teeth like someone who flosses regularly, even though I don’t. It was a morning of total victory.
But this novel business requires self-discipline, a fact I discovered after squandering most of my 20s. Given my penchant for lists and plans, I’ve devised a daily schedule that will allow me to stay productive while I’m home with our dog, tempted by naps/Web surfing/loafing. The daily schedule is similar to one I’ve attempted to follow in the past. It’s been refined based on previous failures and successes.
I’ve learned that I can’t sustain a daily visit to the gym. It just doesn’t happen. So I’m lifting weights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and doing 10-minute mini-workouts Tue/Thu with my kettlebell and heavy bag.
I’ve also learned that if I don’t start writing early, I start to feel guilty about putting it off, and the guilt makes the writing feel too momentous to begin, and I spend my days fraught with stupid worry. So I’m starting pre-dawn and getting the day’s writing done by noon.
I’m going to blog three days a week. I’m going to start writing some articles for a few other sites, too. This’ll be done in the afternoon before I pick up my son from school.
I’m setting aside my nights for reading, because I too often neglect it.
In order to accomplish all of this, I need to outlaw TV and movies Monday-Thursday.
I’m also going to unplug completely on Tuesdays and Thursdays. No blogs, email, Twitter, Facebook, general surfing, or news. I’m turning off the modem and ignoring my iPhone (except for the rare call).
The whole schedule is liable to fall apart by October, but I’m going to try. Here it is:
5-715 Feed dog, breakfast, write novel
715-830 Shower, dress, hang with son, drive son to school
9-12 Write novel
1230-130 Gym (MWF) or blog, short writing, email (T Th)
2-3 Blog, short writing, email
3-7 Hang with family
7 Ten-minute home workout (T Th)
715-10 Read, hang with wife
Weekends are free-for-alls. Fire, broken glass, bats with nails, etc.