Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Writing Schedule

College is coming to an end. Once exams are over, unless I find myself a full-time job, there'll be no more timetable controlling my life. Weird, right? No more lectures, no more designated lunch times, no more designated breaks in the year that I grew so accustomed to, that became part of my annual cycle.

Today, I was looking through different publications and writing competitions, and a thought occurred to me: a whole year could be planned out to respond to every single call for submissions, every opportunity to enter a competition, every poetry night and book signing and reading, weekly meet-ups with other writers...

The list could go on.

Realistically speaking, if I'm not employed the moment I leave college (and that's not speaking realistically), I could set up my own writing schedule, to follow the written word through the week.

An evening a week could go to talking to other writers online (Google has made that very easy to do; we don't even have to leave the comfort of our own homes). This evening, maybe two or three hours, could be used to talk about stories and books and poems in the works. It would, in essence, be a Feedback Forum, like in college, and the easiest thing in the world to do.

Saturday night seems to be poetry night. At least, so far it has been. Let's say I find something every week. That's another evening gone to writing, to performance poetry. That's an evening well spent, in my mind.

Book signings and readings are less frequent, but it's possible to keep track of them. Twitter helps with that, and Google, and simply looking up bookshops online. Many list the upcoming events for the month ahead. Or visit author websites and see if/when they're on tour, and if it's possible to make an event. The Dublin Writers Festival is coming again soon. That's just one season of events that hits during the summer months.

Realistically, we're looking at three evenings/afternoons taken up with these events, per week. What about the mornings?

Once a week, I could search websites and Twitter for calls for submissions, for competitions. Make up a list, cross out anything that's not suitable or that doesn't interest me. See what's left. A couple of hours per day, respond to these items. Simple, right? In theory.

Say I have four more hours to write, without really pushing myself. Two hours for Fiction, two for Non-Fiction. I always have something to write.

Still a couple of hours left. More if I don't have an event that evening. Write a blog post. Record a video. Track sales figures. Contact authors. There's always some small job that needs doing, right? Graphs to make, tweets to send.

But that's a good point: what do I do about social media while doing all of these things? Silence? Auto-tweeting is an option. It's not ideal. It can be very annoying, especially if it's the same things being posted all the time, with no interjections from the tweeter. Worse still if it's just links. That always annoys me. But I could tweet interesting quotations. And short poems. Imagine spending an hour a day writing short poems and haiku for tweeting throughout the rest of the day. Maybe even writing enough for the week. It doesn't have to be automated, either, if I'm home and on the laptop.

I have become convinced, in writing this, that it's entirely possible. Is it a good idea?

I would say yes. Not only would it mean writing a lot every day, it would mean having some structure in my day. I wouldn't just be sitting at home doing nothing, especially not if I gave myself tasks to do every day. It means that when I enter full-time employment, it won't be a culture shock to have to do work between the hours of 9 and 5, and likely beyond.

I've even gotten the ball rolling on the publications. I have a list in a group on Facebook that I'm updating at the moment, making it longer and helpful to more people than just the poets.

So... I think I'm setting myself up for a life of writing. Once the Dreaded Exams are out of the way, I won't have much left to fear. I'll actually be in a position to decide what I want to do with my time, whether or not I find employment (aside from the bookshop). Suddenly, life doesn't look so terrifying.

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