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    Write on Time

    When my 3-year-old goes to playgroup, he is served breakfast, lunch and snacks at precise times. He eats heartily during each meal and then runs happily back to the finger paints, not giving food another thought until the next dining adventure.

    But if he's home all day with me, he grazes. A half-eaten apple, a bite of graham cracker, a bit of yogurt. A handful of raisins, a plateful of French fries. Pseudo-meals that all blur together in some kind of nibble netherworld, leaving him full -- but still unsatisfied -- at the end of the day.

    My writing, too, sometimes suffers from home-all-day-itis. If I'm working without a deadline, the sense of having plenty of time can easily morph into writer's grazing.

    I know I've been grazing instead of writing when:

    • A possible query to a food magazine leads to a recipe search, a stint at the stove, and consumer research about digital cameras -- because the magazine prefers photos with articles.

    • A quick check of my online horoscope becomes a marathon tutorial on reading the Tarot and casting runes. (Research for some future article, of course. Or maybe an offbeat interest my fictional heroine will develop.)

    • I've spent 90 minutes editing and rewriting a 2-paragraph email.

    • I've cropped and resized my picture on my writing site. Again.

    • I've been very, very busy all day -- but I don't feel satisfied.

    What's the sure-fire cure for grazing? The only thing that works for me is regularly planned writing, 3 straight hours in the morning, 2 more in the afternoon. If I write diligently during my schedule, I can then happily graze through 3 different joke sites, 6 personality quizzes and 9 new email lists.

    I make my schedule work for me by:

    • Respecting it. Outside of emergencies or phone calls from editors, I don't move the hours or push them around. Emails from old classmates and unexpected reruns of Law and Order are not emergencies.

    • Making other people respect it. I have caller ID, voice mail and a teenage daughter who answers the door. I'll get back to you.

    • Engaging completely when I'm writing, and disengaging completely when I'm not. When I'm writing, I don't agonize about the laundry. When I'm playing hide-and-seek, I don't fret about market research.

    • Having faith in the process. Even if I don't have a germ of an idea when I begin, I trust that one will come to me as I write.

    It may not be romantic, but scheduling works -- for playgroups and for this home-all-day working mom. My son's stomach is happier and healthier on a regular feeding schedule.

    And so is my writer's brain.

    Copyright © 2002 Kay Bolden

    Kay Bolden writes about family travel and adventures in parenting for numerous publications. She publishes the zine for families of all shapes and sizes, http://www.FamilyFestNewsletter.com, and is the author of Think Outside the Minivan: A Guide to Travel with Kids, available at http://www.kaybolden.com. Contact her at kbolden@ameritech.net

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from Amazon.com and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)

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