Having committed to getting a draft of my novel out by the end of November it feels as though there are fewer hours in the day than there were yesterday. Of course I realise this has nothing to do with either NaNoWriMo or with my writing and everything to do with the dreaded D word – discipline.
Let’s not confuse discipline with either organisation or determination folks – both of which I am quite capable of mastering.
In fact, most days, I am in a somewhat chaotic way quite organised. I know where I am meant to be, what I am meant to be doing and how I’m meant to be doing it. More or less. As long as I have a steady supply of caffeine and Springsteen, I am sure to meet a deadline with few hiccups.
Determination I have in bucket loads – and in fact it is the determination that usually gets me in trouble. Once I get my head down and start working on something, I usually want to follow it through to the end. Without stopping. Okay maybe it’s not determination I have, maybe it’s that obsession thing again.
The problem is of course that the rest of the world isn’t obsessed with what I am doing. Children and husbands need attention, meals need to be cooked, meetings attended, mortgages paid, FaceBook and Twitter need updating. Even allowing for the procrastinatory ( I think I just invented a word) nature of some of these (cooking for example), it is awfully hard to fit everything in. Let alone reach a target of 50,000 words in a month.
I’ve never been good at discipline – or at least not of the variety we’re talking about at the moment. I appear to be missing the gene that says “ok you need to focus entirely on this for one hour and then stop. Then you need to focus on that.” I also appear to be lacking the gene that says “that was the alarm, you now need to get up, go to they gym, come home, eat something that resembles soggy cardboard and write for two hours, before going to the office.”
I admire people who can and do function that way. I aspire to be one of them. I go to bed full of good intentions that last until the National Programme interrupts my REM cycle and I throw a pillow, a couple of cats and a handful of obscenities at the alarm clock.
Admittedly once up I then attack the day – but it doesn’t seem to be solving the problem, rather it seems to be exacerbating it.
So I’m left wondering – just when is the best time to write and how do I ensure I stick to a schedule?