Monday again? Already?

For some reason, Mondays always seem to catch me off guard. They come every week, but I just never seem to be ready for them.

Take this week. I had a great weekend—I had a date night with Pookie on Friday, hung out with Kaye and Sparky on Saturday, rehearsal on Sunday, followed by a visit with my brother (who is in the Army and doesn’t get home too often).

Somehow, I even managed to get grocery shopping and cleaning done along with a few other shopping trips. I even cooked dinner last night. All in all, I went to bed last night knowing I had a productive yet relaxing weekend—a great balance of fun and function.

Except I didn’t do any writing. I didn’t do anything to help me to jump into writing this morning. I spent two, almost three days where I pretty much forgot I was a writer. Heck, I didn’t even visit Twitter for more than five minutes.

I had lofty ambitions for the weekend. I was going to brainstorm ideas for both blogs (here and at my own website). I was going to write today’s post as well as tomorrow’s and have a topic in mind for every day for the next month. I was also going to have a bunch of other topics that would fit anywhere. I was going to do this so that I could write the rest of this week’s posts today, as well as some of those random posts that could just fill in when needed—if I am sick or get distracted and don’t get to my post. That way, I would always have a back-up plan.

Guess how many ideas I had when I woke up this morning? None. How many posts were written? Again, none.

Why?

I have weekend issues. Major weekend issues. I still have the mindset of a 9-5 Monday-Friday worker. Somehow, no matter how many goals I have, at 4:30 on Friday, my brain shuts off.

Now, part of it is my work area. As I have said before, my “office” is in the middle of the dining room, which is squished between the open-concept living room and kitchen. In other words, I am always in the middle of whatever is going on.

Part of it is also Pookie. He works a lot of hours during the week, but takes most weekend completely off. Call me crazy, but I love to spend time with my husband. When he has that time off, I want to spend it with him, even if he is washing the car in forty degree temperatures with a wind-chill of negative two.

Still, I know myself. I know I do this every weekend. Yet every weekend, I find myself with a list of goals a mile long. Goals that need to be reached for me to achieve my Monday goals. (Have I mentioned I am great at setting goals?) And every Monday, I find myself with none of these goals done.

I know I shouldn’t complain—I am lucky enough to be able to write during the week, when I have no distractions (other than Twitter, Facebook, and other blogs, of course). But here is my issue—I read over and over that, in order to be an effective writer, you need to write EVERY DAY. No matter what.

So, while I could absolutely arrange my schedule that I write Monday-Friday and take the weekends off, I never do, because that advice echoes in my head all day on Friday, almost taunting me. Eventually, I give in, swearing that this weekend I really will get some writing done.

As I wrap up my week, I always set day-by day goals for the following week. And I always end up including in the weekend. It is like I feel that I will somehow be a failure if I plan to take those two days off. (I’m not even going to get into how much of a failure I feel like on Monday morning when Outlook has all those tasks highlighted in red, just in case I didn’t realize I hadn’t gotten them done.)

Even on the few weekends I have managed to get some writing done, it has been terrible. I ended up re-writing it Monday morning. That certainly wasn’t any help.

Is it ok to give in and make a writing schedule that works for me, even if it means taking days off? Or, is it better to keep pushing myself to try to write every day, with the logic that it will eventually fit into my schedule, become a part of my routine? Are there any consistently quoted writing rules that you don’t stick to? Which one(s)? Do you feel as guilty as I do? How do you get past that?

 

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About Susi Borath

Susi Borath finds time to write between freelance marketing jobs, minor league baseball games, creating new cookie recipes, and juggling more laundry than any two people should be able to produce. You can find more about her at http://susiborath.com or follow @susiborath on Twitter.
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14 Responses to Monday again? Already?

  1. A.M. Kuska says:

    Oh dear, I think you’ve been led astray by the word, “Rule.”

    The truth is, there are no writing rules. Great example would be the best selling book title, “All the Pretty Horses.” If you ever read it, you will notice that there is almost no grammar at all in it. No dialog tags, no quotation marks, nothing but periods and the occasional comma. It worked for that guy. It doesn’t work for everyone else.

    Rules are there to give new writers a place to start. Once you know the rules, and you know what the function of the rule is, you know if you can or want to break that rule or not.

    The reason why writing every day is a rule, is to make sure you don’t give up. 90% of writers who start a book, never even finish it.

    My suggestion would be, instead of setting yourself the general goal, “Write every day” set yourself something a bit more specific. “This week I want to finish this chapter/article/blog post.”

    Finish it by friday, take the weekend off. ^^

    • Savana Quinn says:

      Actually, I agree that there are no writing rules. Everyone needs to do what works best for them. That is why I set daily and weekly goals based on word count or time. Still, a few months back I made the mistake of posting on Twitter that I was looking forward “to a weekend off from #amwriting.” (I think it was durring NaNoWroMo, when I was about 5,000 words ahead).
      I was bombarded by replies–from people who I don’t follow and who don’t follow me, thanks to the wonderful hashtag–who were appalled by my choice to take the weekend off. Since then, I have really struggled with it because so many people (over 20) criticized that decision.
      The funniest part is, when I do take the weekend “off” without planning to do anything, I end up coming up with these great ideas that I manage to scribble down on a random piece of paper, and it makes my Monday-Friday writing better.

  2. Hilary Clark says:

    I’ve also read over and over to write every day. I’m certainly no expert, but it seems to me that setting a writing schedule that WORKS FOR YOU is going to lead to greater success.

    I have a day job, so I’ve set a goal of 500 WPD (either new writing or editing), every day. I’ve gotta fit it in somewhere, and I find that word count goal works for me (it’s not so much to be over-whelming, it’s just enough to promote progress — some days I go beyond my goal). You, on the other hand, write for your day job, so why shouldn’t you get a day or two off? What if you wrote 9-5, M-F, and for an hour or two on Saturday morning (early?), then took the rest of the weekend off to play with Pookie?

    Giving yourself permission to set a schedule that works for you may just lead to better writing, less guilt, and certainly less stress. We’re allowed to have a life outside of writing. We’re not robots. 🙂

    • Savana Quinn says:

      Since writing is my only job, my daily word goal is between two and three thousand. I don’t always hit it, but I try. But, when I am producing that much, I really do need to take a break every now and then. My brain needs to step away and relax.
      I was leaning toward taking weekends off, but I wanted to see of anyone could give a really great reason on why not to. You hear it so often, there has to be logic behind it (I hope). Thanks for the support! 🙂
      (BTW, I love how you worded that–play with Pookie! lol. He will certainly get a kick out of that! :-D)

  3. Kaye Peters says:

    You mean we’re supposed to write by a set of rules? Crap, I’ve been doing it wrong! 😉

    For me personally, I’ve realized that if I structure myself too much I just freak out trying to make my chart look pretty with things checked off that the quality of work I do isn’t great, if I even get to do the work.

    Kids helped me with that. I usually make lofty goals and set my success by them. I can’t do that with kids. I may have the intentions to write everyday but when you have a cranky child with a runny nose and a cough that sounds like a seal in a circus, I have to put away the computer.

    I agree with A.M. Kuska, be more general with your goals, especially since we’re just starting. Yes, we need to establish a routine, but being a little lenient with ourselves isn’t going to hurt us.

    I think coming up with a schedule that works for you is what matters most. Some can write everyday, some write only on the weekends, some may only write in the summers. I do a majority of my writing on weekends because Sparky’s home with the kids. I’m not any less of a writer, I just know my life, my limits and my expectations.

    I just want to write, whether its 1,000 words or 50. Sometimes its hard, sometimes its easy, but the important thing is that I do it.

    • Savana Quinn says:

      I’d say that I would come hang out with the kids to give you time to write during the week, but I know us well enough to know you wouldn’t get much done! 🙂

      I had pretty charts, too. And then they turned ugly. My goal had been one (2-3,000 word) chapter a day, every day. Unfortunately, sometimes it just isn’t that neat. Some days I can write 2 chapters, other days I struggle to even get 100 words. It balances out, but the charts still don’t look so pretty! 🙂

  4. Sonia M. says:

    I tend to find that more than one day off in a row can often lead to taking off another day and another and another. If I at least get in 10 min a day, I can keep up my creative flow. Still, it’s good to take some time off now and then. Permission to take a day off definitely helps me recharge…as long as it’s not 2 or more days. 😀

    • Savana Quinn says:

      Since I have the ability to write full-time, taking 2 days off doesn’t really affect me as long as it is on the weekend. If i take 2 days off during the week for some reason, it is a mess. Then I really struggle to get back into my routine.

  5. 2blu2btru says:

    I find that writing everyday hasn’t worked for me. I’m still in the dating phase, and I end up spending my weekends finding things to do with my bf, Mr. Perfect. We don’t see much of each other through the week, so my weekend is usually full between doing things with him, my second job, and church. What works for me is getting up early on Saturdays as if I’m going to work and writing while no one else in my world is awake to pester me, the digital recorder I bought to verbally jot down anything I may want to write down later (it’s been a major idea saver), and keeping a Lil’ Fat Notebook in my purse to write down stray ideas.

    What writing rules do I break? The biggie would be “write what you know.” I’m currently working on a short story series about addictions. Not something I know first hand (although I’ve seen some of the effects of this in other’s lives). I’m writing a chick lit novel about lying to the class secretary and facing being outed at the class reunion, and I haven’t told a lie that big, nor have I had a class reunion. In fact, I started working on this idea when I was in high school! I don’t feel guilty about it, because it’s my excuse to do “research” like watching intervention, countless documentaries, and eavesdrop on message boards and mall conversations. I suppose it should make me feel guilty, ashamed even…but I just feel…”well-informed” ;-).

    • Savana Quinn says:

      For me, I feel that if you research a subject thoroughly enough, you are writing what you know. They is a difference between writing what you know and what you have experienced first hand. If we only write about things we have personally experienced, then there would be a whole lot of semi-autobiographical novels out there, and it would be hard for a writer to come up with more than one story.
      Plus, research can be fun! 🙂

  6. Lisa says:

    I’ve always had a problem with the “write every day rule”. Why? Because there are other important elements to being a good writer. You have to have something to write about, and the only way to gain that is to actually live. Great writers learn from other writers, which suggests they spend time reading. Great writers are able to describe vivid experiences, which implies implies experiencing them. Maybe the problem lies in how you define, writing every day. It could mean, write complete posts and outlines and chapters every day. Or, it could be as simple as this, writing in your Facebook profile, “Today was a great day.” See, that’s writing too. Now, enjoy your weekends and be kind to yourself.

    • Savana Quinn says:

      That’s a great point, Lisa! I actually tend to read more on the weekends. Pookie and I will curl up on the sofa together and I will read while he watches some sport or another (right now it is basketball). I love sports, but I don’t need to give them my full attention. Great background noise while I am reading!
      I didn’t think about the writing I do for FB and Twitter, either. I (usually) keep up with them on the weekends. Actually, I didn’t used to consider my blog writing either, but then realized that some days I may be able to write 4 blog posts when I just can’t get anywhere on my story. Having them done in advance gives me more time for writing the next day, so it really should count.
      So, I guess I am not taking the weekends completely off! 🙂 Thanks!

  7. Pingback: » Finally Friday Savana Quinn

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