I've been spending quite a bit of time this week reading about using your time productively as a writer (hmm.. too much reading = not productive). One of the problems is, that as a writer we need constant input from the world around us, whether it's for inspiration or advice. Knowing when to stop is the problem.
When I worked in an office, it wasn't non-stop hammering away (sorry, does that sound a bit...!) at the desk. I had coffee breaks, people wandering in for chats (some work related, some not). Then there were meetings, progress updates, reviews of work to go through..... And yet, sometimes now when I work at home I suddenly realise that I have sat for 4 hours typing away with not even a trip to the loo!
Apart from it not being good for my posture or eyesight, is it really the most productive way to work? Would my work be fresher, better, if I took a regular break away from it?
I think for me there are times when I need to just sit and churn out the ideas, even if half of them turn out to be rubbish. It's my answer to writers block, once I get started and just type anything then eventually some quality will emerge. Then there are other times when I just need to edit, to deliberate over every word. To go through the pain of thinking it's all total garbage... then the joy of uncovering a couple of sentences I can fall in love with.
I need deadlines too - whether self imposed by joining in on twitter with #1k1hr, or entering a competition, or knowing that there are only a couple of hours left before the school day finishes and chaos reigns.
Right now I'm polishing my first chapter for Mills & Boon New Voices 2011. I got the first draft out relatively quickly and then left it for a week when other work intervened. I've gone back to it with a fresh eye and revisions have been mightily slow. But now I've found out a mass of work is heading my way on Monday, and tomorrow I have other obligations.... so today is the day I have to finish. And you know what? It's worked. With a firm deadline my umming and ahhing has turned into something more positive. Nearly done now... 'though I'm sure massive doubts will set in before I finally press that button to submit it next week!