Monday, 9 November 2009


This is me after a twelve-hour writing day on Saturday:

For some reason I've never been able to find a writing routine that I can stick to.

Some weekends I get up early (early meaning 10am on a Saturday) and work through the day, and occasionally into the evening like this weekend. Sometimes that won't work at all and I'll either end up staring at a blank page until lunchtime until I give up or I'll just start in the evening. Weekday evenings are the same - sometimes I'll start as early as 7.30pm, sometimes I'll decide I'm not going to do any writing, then get the urge at midnight and do a couple of hours until 2am (recently this has been happening a lot). Some weekdays I'll find writing after a day at work unbearable and I'll put everything off until the weekend. Some weekends I'll find the idea of spending all of my free time writing unbearable and put it off until the weekday evenings.

The difficulty I find is deciding on what kind of routine to go with on a particular day. On Saturday I kept meaning to stop, but never reached a point where I actually wanted to. On Sunday I realised I wasn't in any kind of mood for writing and spent the day watching action films instead, which I justified by calling it research (and to a point it was). Then I went to the pub.

Other things that happened this weekend - I watched these films (mostly on Sunday when I gave up writing): Lakeview Terrace (not bad, Patrick Wilson is awesome), Yes Man (doesn't really work as a film, and Jim Carrey romancing Zooey Deschanel is creepy, but interesting enough to keep me awake at 2 in the morning), The Wave (awesome, but I made the mistake of watching the alternate ending straight after I watched the film, thus confusing my perceptions), Best of the Best 2 (surprised me by not being awful, excellent genre cast and a tight script - enjoyed it much more than I thought I would), Rumble in Hong Kong (had to watch on fastforward due to bad dubbing and a terrible transfer), Supercop (pretends it's a film about Michelle Yeoh being a Supercop but actually she doesn't get to do all that much), and The Streetfighter (which was awesome and I can't believe I waited this long to watch it).

I also found out what it's like to be in your own Twilight Zone episode by visiting my local supermarket half an hour before closing (which through bad planning I ending up doing two nights in a row). So presumably because it was late, cold and miserable the local high street was looking pretty desolate at 9.30pm and I seemed to be the only person venturing out at that time. When I got to the shop it looked like half the lights were turned out and there was no one inside. I stood there for a moment wondering if it was closed, staring at the opening times, checking my watch, questioning my sanity and so on, then gingerly stepped close enough for the doors to open. Inside it was silent and empty. There were staff members around stacking shelves - I kept expecting them to tell me they were closed. But they just ignored me. It's a very odd feeling to be the only customer in a huge shop with half the lights turned out and the only other human beings acting like you're not there. It reminded me of the scariest Twilight Zone episode I ever saw where a woman goes into a department store seconds before closing and is terrorised by the mannequins, before turning into one herself:


Love Writing Again! said...

Ok, as a fellow writer I totally get this - yup, in my ideal world I'd come from work and do a few hours, or wake up early and knock out some words of genuis but really it doesn't work like that, and then I get annoyed with myself, and then I start putting it off until 'the weekend' (a catch all term to mean, er, in the future!) Writing isn't about writing at all really, its about discipline- that's what I think. Its about a blank page and getting on with it, not waiting for it to come to you... I struggle with this stuff too, that's why I started blogging to see if that would give me impetus to do this... thanks for sharing, I'll be back!

Oh, and I liked Lakeview Terrace too, but seriously, didn't think it warranted the amazing reviews it got (Arlington Road much better!)

Christopher said...

I don't have a set routine other than a word count that I adhere to like the law. I write at all times of the day but I never skip the word count.

Weekdays it is always at night. I write my blog and then I write my novel. The weekends I am all over the place because I like to have some time to myself.

Adaddinsane said...

Just dropping in to say - just the same.

When I'm working away from home I can usually manage an hour or two in the evening. But since July I've been living at home and commuting:

My writing schedule has been very poor. (Though being ancient I like my beauty sleep - I need as much as I can get.)

Jonathan Gill said...

You've just described my life too! Must have hit upon something here...

In the summer I got up to write before work which was a success and 'officially' gave me the evening to myself. Now it's winter, dark and freezing, the morning thing just ain't happening. So it's back to nights and all its temptations.

I'm slowly learning to balance my expectations with what is realistically achieveable.

Good luck, mate. Always enjoy reading your stuff.

Chris Regan said...

Glad to see it's not just me who writes like this!

LWA - I agree, in the crazy neighbour genre Arlington Road is definitely better than Lakeview Terrace.

C - I try to set myself a page count target with scripts, but I don't always stick to it. I agree it's good to have some kind of target like that as it helps to organise a schedule.

A - I generally only manage one or two hours if I am writing on a weekday evening - although I end up having so many breaks/distractions that it takes up the whole evening.

JG - I keep meaning to try writing in the mornings before work - I've heard a lot of famous screenwriters say that very early morning is the best time. I'm just really bad at getting up early!