Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Lunch Hour

Scott D. Parker

There’s a reason why some of us stop writing a project when we encounter a barrier. But there’s also the reward when you just start forging ahead: The flow.

This past Monday, I started my latest book. It’s the sixth adventure of my Calvin Carter, Railroad Detective, series. I’m launching it in January and I wanted to have all six books completed before I start advertising, mainly because I wanted to be able to include all six covers in the campaign. Plus I want the ability to make and keep a promise to readers of a new book every other month.

For whatever reason, after I completed the fifth novel, the sixth one was difficult to crack. I had chapter 1 done and notes on how to proceed. But other writing projects kept getting in the way. It happens. Life happens. We all know it. And a large part of the life thing for me was my day job. I had a contractor job and lots of uncertainty. The commute was an hour each way. I’m a 4:30am writer so I tried valiantly to keep that schedule. I did, for the most part, but two hours in a car began to wear on me to where 4:30 slid into 4:45 and then edged to 5:00. With a hard stop at 5:20 to get me and my boy ready for the day, it didn’t leave a lot of time to write.

Now, since August, I’ve got a  new job! Salaried position writing for an oil and gas company. The co-workers are great, the work is stimulating, and the commute is down to about 25 minutes each way. I’m much happier going to the job. Even my boy noted I’m happier nowadays—which was weird because I’m usually really good at leaving work stuff at work. Guess I let a little of it seep through. Speaking of the boy, his school day starts later. I now don’t have to get him up until 5:50 am. You can do the math there. Even if I sleep in until 4:45, that’s a solid hour of writing before the day even begins.

Additionally, I have a lunch hour. The best thing about being a contractor was working through lunches Monday through Thursday and being able to leave at noon on Fridays. Well, that’s not an option now…but I love the alternative better. Now, armed with my boy’s half-working Chromebook—literally, only half the screen works and company wifi prevents me from accessing Google docs—I find a nice, quiet space in my building and dive into the words.

I’m almost instantly in the flow. You see, as of Monday, I was all in on this story. Whatever was blocking me had vanished. Not sure what it was, but glad it is gone. And while I have more overall time to write, I’m still locked into certain time frames. Mornings from 4:30-5:50 and lunch hours from 12:15-1:00. [I call and chat with the wife every lunch hour, too.] With hard stops on both writing sessions, time is at a premium.

Perhaps that fact serves as a catalyst for the writing flow. Perhaps knowing, subconsciously, I have limited time and I want to get as many words as possible down—my record so far is 1681 words at lunch—to move the story forward, all barriers are removed. Not sure. But it’s a gas.

Another benefit? With two separate writing sessions averaging approximately 800 words each, that’s about 1600 words a day. Sixteen hundred words over 31 days is just at 50,000 words. That’s a book.

Lunch hours. As if you needed any other motivation to use them for writing, here’s another one. Use the time you have, and it’ll pay for itself in the long run.

No comments: