I’m a procrastinator, but I know it. I’m also driven, and I’ve come to terms with that, too. I have discipline…sometimes. So it’s always a challenge for me to find balance. I try to cram too many things into too small a time frame, and then I get frustrated. So I try to come up with ways to manage my time and life, to work everything in.
I do better in life, as well as writing, when I have structure. I’m not saying it always works, but it gives me something to aim for. And when I fail, I don’t beat myself up. Life happens. But now that two sets of kids have grown up and moved on, I have the luxury to write every day of the week. I start out with a half hour or hour on social media while I sip my coffee and let my brain turn on. Then I rewrite whatever I wrote the day before, and then I start writing the new stuff for each day. I’m not fast. I’m slow, so it might take me most of the day to hit ten pages I like. My friends write faster. Some of them write better. But I’m me, and I plug away.
Everything else in my life follows pretty much the same pattern. I clean the house and piddle around in the yard on Saturdays or the weekend. I love to cook, so I cook suppers almost every night. And I have a method for that, too.
A friend, who had moved away and moved back recently, reminded me that I’d taught her my method for meal planning. “I still use it,” she said. My menus came because my daughter had 37 allergies (some mild, some not), and I had to be careful of everything she ate. They also came because my husband is spoiled. (He spoils me back). But he doesn’t like to eat the same meal twice in the same month. So if I cook chicken piccata on the 3rd and I cook it again on the 27th, he says, “Didn’t we just have this?”
I love it, because I get bored cooking the same things, so I started saving recipes, buying cookbooks, and making menus–but I have a method that makes it easier for me. Most Saturdays, I cook beef. It can be ribeyes, skirt steak, hamburgers, meatloaf, or roasts. Doesn’t matter. It just has to be a different recipe every Saturday. On Sundays, it’s pork–chops, tenderloins, roasts, Italian sausages, or ham; Mondays are ethnic–Italian, Mexican, or Chinese, etc.; Tuesdays are chicken; Wednesdays–soup/salad/sandwiches/or one-dish meals; Thursdays are fish or seafood; and Fridays, I DON’T COOK. We go out. If company comes over, I can switch things, trade one night’s meal for another. I make a grocery list while I plan the menus, so I have all the ingredients I need. The thing is, I have a starting point to work from. And that makes it easier, and I end up with variety and new recipes to try. Just like when I make plot points for my writing.
Menus don’t work for my daughters. They like spontaneity, surprises. I’m not a big fan of suprises. I think they can go either way. And plot points don’t work for most of my writing friends. I might be a little too security minded, a little too cautious. Whatever. But to each, his own. And however or whatever you do, happy writing!