Thanks to my appointments with myself, I seem to be getting back into the swing of things. I've written four days out of the last six, and since yesterday was my birthday, I think I can safely excuse myself...though truth be told, I was a little disappointed not to get any writing in.
There are a few things that maximize the success of these appointments with myself. Aside from the obvious ones like motivation and something to write about, it also helps tremendously if I have quiet and not only a bit of solitude, but the kind of solitude where I know everyone else in my house is happily engaged in something else. That decreases the guilt factor when my thirteen-year-old walks by and announces that "You've been holed up here all afternoon." Not true, and furthermore, I twice offered her my time and attention only to be told she was "fine."
But I digress, which actually brings me to one of the simplest, but most worthwhile tools that increases the efficiency of my scheduled time - a notepad. Not to be confused with the spiral-bound notebook in which I corral wayward ideas, the notepad is for jotting down the myriad things to do that only occur to me once I've sat down in front of the computer to work. Without the notepad, I'm likely to pop up and do the things that can be done quickly, or worse yet, forget about them altogether.
Any notepad will do, though my current favorite is a Frankly, Frannie notepad that was part of a loaded totebag I won during Educator Week at Borders. (a moment of silence, please, for Borders Books and Music). Notes are scrawled on it in no particular order, with to-dos for one day overlapping those for another and one small, square, orange Post-it with an item of particular significance stuck to the bottom of the page.
By jotting down the thing that occurs to me when it occurs to me, I save myself from, well, myself, and from the frustration of later trying to recall what it was that popped into my head when I was supposed to be writing.
Some time ago, I read an excellent book called Write it Down, Make it Happen. I don't know how many of the strategies I use I've incorporated from that book, and how many I do automatically, but I do know there's tremendous value in writing things down for a variety of reason, whether the thing I'm writing down is "call Mom" or the latest chapter in my work in progress.
So, my characters are moving forward, and so am I. Just wish I'd put the pieces of this "system" together earlier this summer.
Hey, if I finish the novel in the next week and half, it won't matter anyway.