“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” — Nora Ephron
Have you read for pleasure today?
Have you created today?
Have you walked or exercised today?
What’s been frustrating me for years is that I often don’t answer “yes” to these questions and yet they focus on three of the most important things to me: reading, creating, and staying in good health.
But all that changed yesterday.
Yesterday, February 1, 2016, was my first day as a full-time writer. I now have the flexibility and the motivation to create a daily schedule that reflects my values and my passions. Here’s how it went.
8:30 AM: Wake up, brush teeth, eat breakfast, read the newspaper, meditate, and shower
10:30 AM: Answer emails and tweet
11:45 AM: Go for walk (twice a week, go to Qigong class)
12:45 PM: Lunch and read
2:00 PM: Write, plan, revise, edit (depends on the project)
3:30 PM: Stretch and take a break
4:00 PM: More writing, etc.
5:30 PM: Cook
6:30 PM: Dinner with The Hubs
7:30 PM: Administrative tasks for Prelaw Guru or writing business, and any last emails
8:30 PM: Relaxation and Free Time
10:30-11 PM: In bed
So, how did it feel to be on this new schedule?
It was heavenly because it fits who I am, what I like to do, and when I like to do it.
Unlike so many people who say you should always do the most important thing first (as in, write!), I don’t work on my writing until I’ve read for pleasure, eaten two meals, and exercised. Why? A couple of reasons.
First, I’m not a morning person and it takes me a good while to get going. Second, I’m a very strong J in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). In case you don’t know much about MBTI, let me tell you that J-people love closure; they love to check things off their to-do lists. It gives me great pleasure and makes me feel really good when I do this. So, I’d much rather finish certain things from my list (emails, tweets, exercise, read) and then have an uninterrupted period of time when I can delve into my creative endeavors without thinking about all the other things I need to do.
The older I get, and the more experience I have, the more I realize that in order for me to be successful in anything, let alone as a writer, I need to know myself and follow what’s right for me.
Not every day will conform to this ideal schedule. Some days (like today, only my second day!) won’t go smoothly due to appointments that can’t be rescheduled or sudden emergencies or Mercury being in retrograde (I have no idea what that means but it seems like whenever I’m having hard days, I’ll hear that Mercury’s in retrograde). But that’s okay. As long as I know what I want to do every day, I have something good to reach for. Over time, if I stick to a schedule that works for me, I’ll be able to produce my best work. And that’s good enough for me.