I have a major scene involving some research and new characters to add to a manuscript thanks to an editor’s suggestion. Ideas and approaches have been churning in the back of my mind, but it’s time to get this scene written and the revised manuscript off to the editor.
I’m a morning person, and think better and faster before dinner. So I like to work 9 to 5 ish, in big blocks of time. I don’t do as well with 15 minutes here or there, unlike some writer friends who can produce an entire scene in their SUVs while waiting to pick up their kids from soccer or ballet.
Others may find their minds work better in the evening, but social and family plans may keep pushing projects off.
Some prefer to work in total and uninterrupted silence (me), others find certain kinds of music help them focus. There are times I can get a lot done in a Starbucks. Other times, the music, chatter and even noise from the cappuccino machines and blenders are disruptive.
I need to get in and stay in the zone. Once I’m distracted by, say, a phone call, it’s harder to return to quality concentration.
How can you make the most of your most productive hours? First, you need to know when they are. Second, list things that keep you from doing your best work. I don’t like little projects–emails I need to return, auditions that are due soon–hanging over my head. So I clean my desk before tackling larger projects…though some experts advise the opposite. Exercising and eating a good, healthy meal vs. a heavy one help me feel on top of my game. Consider working with a friend to reinforce each other’s goals and help keep your noses to the grindstone.
Some days it’s easy. Others, like the beautiful fall days we’re having in Chicago or when a friend wants to go to breakfast or lunch, it’s more of a challenge to put in what I consider to be enough hours.