Friday, August 22, 2008

Oh hey, it's Friday already

The week went by awfully fast. Kids are making the adjustment to school like little heroes, although they both voluntarily went to bed early one night. Actually, they went to bed earlier than the time I'd allowed them every night, because the choice was reading time from 10:15 until 11 or just go to bed. They both like to read, so I'm going on the assumption that they were honestly tired. At least they know how to admit it. They've both been getting up without too much hassle every morning, too. Joey even got up for his alarm instead of waiting for me to call him this morning. Homework has been of the lightweight, first week variety thus far. I anticipate that changing next week. (Although Joey and I do need to sit down and brainstorm some general science fair ideas over the weekend, since 7th grade is The Science Fair Year. And I suck at science, so a head start can't hurt.)

This week for me has mostly been about adjusting to the new daily routine and testing just how many hours of writing a day I can handle before I start just dragging through it. My goal had been 20 hours a week, but I may need to adjust that. Just by looking at the fact that I have 6.5 hours "free" every school day, you'd think 20 hours devoted to writing would be a snap. But I spend two hours a week on groceries and other assorted errands, and while I could do that in the evening, it's just so nice and traffic-free and line-free right after I drop the boys off at school. And then the husband comes home for lunch most days, so that's another half hour a day of distraction. And I have to eat. And walk the dog. And take a shower. Add to that the fact that I can only spend about an hour solid on writing before I need a mind break of some kind (which is where the walk and the shower and the eating come in), and the 6.5 hours drops pretty drastically. So this has been observation week--how do things naturally shake out, and how can I tweak them to make them work, and at what point do I acknowledge that I really can't shove any more time in there unless I want to risk burning myself out? So yeah. Four hours a day is do-able, but I like to take Monday and Friday as sort of mini-weekend days for myself, since the real weekend is usually even more heavy on doing stuff for other people than weekdays. (And weekends are really hard to count on for writing time--sometimes, but not dependably always.) I may wind up aiming more for a minimum of 15 hours a week--I know I'll do more if the story really grabs me, but I won't be pushing myself into burnout.

New toys: I've been trying out WriteWay Pro. It has a lot of the features I liked about Power Writer--primarily the outline format on the sidebar where I can name scenes and break them up into chapters and acts and hop around between them very easily. I can do my initial "outlining" (a generous term for my vague hodgepodge approach), I can go in and write whatever scene idea I have when I have it, and I can jump around at will without getting lost and confused in a regular word processing document or a vast array of individual files. It also has some features Power Writer did not, such as the ability to print out just the outline or even the notes I make in the separate notecards. Since I already have most of my notes in a Word document, I haven't made use of the notecards much yet, but I love love LOVE the ability to print out the outline separately and scribble all over it.

I also gave SuperNotecard a shot. It's a really nifty program, but if/when I'm at the using notecards stage, it seems I get more from the process by using real paper notecards and a pen and having stacks to shuffle and lay out and move around and play with. Evidently, I need the touchy-feely to generate the ideas. And when I move into the organization stage, I tend to work more in lists/outlines. Even with simple RP posts, I start with a short list of keywords on what I want in the story and just go from that as I write. And I can do that directly in WriteWay, so as neat as SuperNotecard is, I think I don't really need that one.

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