‘ve attempted all of the methods for deciding when and where and how to get my writing time in. All of them. Try me. I’ve filled my calendar with “writing day” every Thursday evening from now until the Mayan’s claim there will be no more Thursday evenings. I’ve looked at my week each Sunday night and scheduled myself to write on the most opportune dates. I’ve set my alarm to wake up early and write before work; I’ve cancelled excellent Saturday night plans to ground myself to the computer.

Each of these methods work once. For me, the freshness of the plan is equal to it’s efficacy. I can absolutely guarantee, however, that by the fourth Thursday night in a row I’m completely ignoring my calendar because I’m just too tired, and I had to skip it last week because of a meeting anyway, etc., etc., etc…

And then there are the plans that are terrible from the get go. Like, I’m going to a four-day conference, so I’ll have plenty of time to write on the plane, in my hotel room, and while generally avoiding the awkwardness of being at a conference. So now it’s the morning of Day Two at the conference. I spent all day yesterday in airports. Perfect for writing, right? Eight hours of pure typing and wordsmithing and being a literary genius.

Well, that would have been nice. But after my flight was cancelled at 5:30am and my alternative itinerary was scheduled for the completely wrong day and when I finally sorted everything out I had to sit in first class on my first flight (and who write when you’re too busy sucking down all the free wine and cookies you can in an hour?) and then I had to sit in a window seat on the second flights (and who can write when you’re too busy imagining how dead you’d be if you were two feet further to the right, and while diligently watching the wing for any sign of fireballs?). So by the time I got to the hotel, and long, hot bath was absolutely required and it turned out my brain had somehow shifted irrevocably into idle in the process and I was done for.

It’s no easy job trying to prioritize writing when your life keeps prioritizing other things. It seems no matter what is written in my iCal, there is always something in the actual, physical world to interfere, like me. So now I’m sitting in a coffee shop with one hour until the first full day of the conference begins. And I just wrote. I haven’t gotten any further on the long-term project I’m working on, but at least I’m writing something.

It seems that no matter how many plans and systems and strategies I create for making writing happen more regularly and more often, only one thing works: always being ready and willing when the opportunities arises. So please excuse me while I spend the next 40 minutes catching up on the eight hours of writing I missed out on yesterday.

*Originally posted via the site formally known as natalieburgblog.blogspot.com on May 3, 2010

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