I Love Set-Aside Times
I use the term set-aside time for blocks of time set aside for a special project. You see them a lot in writing. National Novel Writing Month is a famous one. Last November I wrote flash for a month. Last summer I wrote it for six weeks while taking a flash writing workshop. I've been doing May Days for years, and my May group gets together in October to do it again.
Set-Aside Times have a couple of benefits.
- Concentrating on one thing helps you to slow down. You're not frantically juggling multiple tasks and can thus be more productive with one of them. Working harder on just one thing is a relief.
- Working on one thing for a relatively short time helps us to manage chaos. At least that's what I speculated last year, and last month it actually worked for me.
My Plan For May Days
As so often happens for me, I started May Days unable to work for the first four or five days of the month to tend to family. I can't even remember how long I had to put off starting, but it was a significant chunk of time.
What Did I Get For Living Chaotically?
I didn't actually get to the point I wanted to get to, because I added at least one more chapter. And then I was noticing that the point I wanted to get to was coming too late in the story. And then I realized I needed to start another draft.
Since I am a big believer in not pushing through to the end of a first draft when you know something's wrong, that was exciting rather than despair-making. Beginning again, in my experience, always leads to moving forward.
So I was very happy with my May Days. I got some significant work done, but more importantly, I found a method I plan to use again to deal with and become comfortable with chaos.