12.16.13

2400 today, a solid day’s work. I could have done more, but had a distracting phone call this morning that cost me an hour of work time. It’s so strange to me how easily distracted I am. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have answered the phone, but I’m one of those people who assume if you’re calling me during work hours, you need to talk to me. Call me crazy. It takes a solid 20-40 minutes to get back into the book when I’m pulled out like that. Texts don’t bother me, it’s phone calls that do. Clearly I’ve hit that time in the book when I need to turn off the phones whilst I’m working.

Which brings me to the whole concept of managing time. Creativity is difficult to quantify, that’s why I like daily word counts. Because I can’t tell you how many hours I worked, but I can give you the words. Hours wise – today I started writing at 10 and finished at 5, with an hour break for lunch and some reading, and at least an hour spent online. So let's say a solid 4 hours spent typing, deleting and revising, and another hour staring into space, or scratching the kittens, or looking at the every growing pile of Christmas present that need attending to, or moving the laundry from washer to dryer (it’s Monday, that’s always laundry day) or trying to come up with that next word…. You get the idea. Every day has mental space.

When you’re a writer, these mental breaks are absolutely necessary. Used to be, I’d smoke a cigarette, and that 7 minutes in nicotine heaven was the perfect interlude. Now, I absently go online and diddle around, glance at Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, my email with half an eye, then switch back into manuscript mode. Another break, I make tea and stare out the windows. Or I wander through the house, touching things. I stare at my bookshelves – a favorite past time, I must admit – and drink a glass of water. Then I lay down another 200 or 300 words.

And the words build like this, through the day, 200 here, 300 there, until I realize I’m sitting in the dark and it’s time to walk away. I don't work when Randy is home; evenings are his time. So it’s 5:30 now, and time to put the laptop up for the day. Fold some clothes, wrap some presents. Eat, read, play with kitties, bed, and do it all again tomorrow. So freaking glamorous, this writer’s life.

But 2400 – that’s okay. Not bad. Maybe I can do better tomorrow.

Sweet dreams!

 

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JT Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.