Let me preface this by apologizing first for yet another discussion started by me! Sorry!
But I'm finding it difficult to stay completely sane lately.
I've never worked this hard on my writing before.
I sometimes write eight hours with minimal breaks.
Weekends tend to be less (but not by choice)!
How do you guys stay sane (those of you who do stay sane)?!
Any tips--PLEASE?!

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I like to set a certain amount of work to be done each day. (One single spaced page when doing the first draft, maybe a couple of pages or a chapter a day when doing revisions, depending on what's being revised.) When the day's allottment is done, I have the option to continue if I'm on a roll, but I can stop do something else (watch a ball game, read, whatever) with a clear conscience.

I think eating the elephant one bite at a time (to steal, er, borrow a favorite phrase from my Spousal Equivalent) makes it easier to focus on how much has been accomplished (positive thoughts) instead of what's left to do (which is always daunting).

However you resolve it, good luck.
no daunting thoughts aloud! I get scared and then I freeze up. not good, couldn't agree with you more.
Yes, a bite at a time. it's just Dana! IT'S SUCH A BIG EFFING ELEPHANT!
I posed this question the day I felt terminal, after putting in those 8 hours.
I didn't do it do "do it." I did it because I was revising chapters and as I went along, it was easy for me to just start the next chapter--but then I went and finished them.
not good, too tired.
Yes, I'm reigning myself in now a lot. worked for 4 ish hours today, (and yesterday) but got so much done.
I seem to be relatively normal (not passing out or puking or anything) if I don't go over the 4-5 hours.
thanks so much and thanks for your good wishes! need them! (smile)
I am writing about 5 hours a day right now and could probably do about 6 easily if my family and work didn't insist on things like food and invoices. My bad hand starts hurting though. But I have been thinking about and plotting this book for months and finally have the time and urge to get it out on paper. It is infinitely easier keeping my sub plots in order this time. I just don't seem to be losing the threads. I also find the pacing has become more of a natural rhythm in my head. Towards the end of the day I go over my sequencing for the next few scenes and make sure I know where I am going for the next day. I think you are completely sane. You won't be like this forever (assuming you don't have hypergraphia) and it sure beats sitting looking at blankly at the computer screen! But in order to write that much, I have switched WHERE I write - I don't check email, forums or answer the phone. So off I go, to my little room upstairs...
ah. clever girl.
Interested in your reply. you obviously have a system and it's paying off. i THINK i'm sort of getting a discipline too, I was really nutso when I started this discussion! that was the day I worked eight hours and thought, i'll die!
but now, i've cut it down. i can do 4-5 okay.
I should write upstairs away from dogs and everything, but I don't. i do sometimes in the evening to go over things. upstairs.
I am pleased with my one file for most things. it's a chapter index. it serves as a detailed chapter summary as well as planned chapters coming up.
a hate lots of files with notes all over the place, and have taught myself to do this now.
no children around--and husband out at work all day. so it's just the dogs. they're okay for the most part except when one of them turns into the concentration camp commander and plants herself at the window. no one's allowed to even walk on the other side of the street!
if she's really annoying (and I want to kill her) I retreat upstairs.
sorry about your hand. don't over do. i had repetitive strain injury from a job once and it was awful.
thanks for your reply Tina.
hypergraphia! whoah! nice word.
don't assume i'm entirely sane. but as someone said in a post, we're all a little nuts or we wouldn't write!
you are so funny!
I needed that now!
I work in the kitchen. my huz gave me such a lovely office to work in upstairs (away from two insane terriers) but guess what? i work in the heart of the house! I do laundry, cook, scream at the dogs, calm the postman down--(one dog ran across the street to bite him! but he was wearing thick slacks) so he didn't complain.
however, when i really need to concentrate, I just concentrate.
thanks so much. and we've got sheep here, not bears. but they're no good to talk to or anything, husband and dogs are better!
I suppose I'll end up repeating a lot of bits and pieces of what's already been said, but here goes:

1. I don't, entirely, stay sane. I find that a little insanity is good for the creative process.

2. I bully myself into a schedule. I get started writing by about 8am and write until noon. At which point I make a point of getting away from the computer and out of the house, when I can, for lunch. Then I spend the afternoon doing research and editing and avoiding writing altogether. (By then I usually have too much swimming around in my brain to be all that creative anyhow.) Late afternoon I force myself out of the house again and down to a local market to figure out what to do about dinner. Having not had a lot of human contact during the rest of the day, I often drive the cashiers insane by wanting to chat with them. (There's one at my closest market who is from Hong Kong and I practice my terrible Cantonese with her.) Then I pour myself a drink, turn up some music, cook dinner for Eva and myself and spend the rest of the night ignoring my writing entirely.

3. When I'm on the last third or so of a book, the routine becomes more difficult, because at that point the damn thing has taken on so much internal logic that it's more like I'm taking dictation than I'm writing. I love that, but it is too seductive. Sometimes it seduces me into mistakes. So I still try and force myself into my routine even when it feels like coitus interruptus.

4. Whisky helps.
thanks Eric!
it all helps!
know what you mean about closing yourself off and then yapping too much to people.
I do that with other dog walkers, my husband (when he gets home). because after I finally finish I go through this UP MOOD and i'm up there when he first comes home, but then after dinner I sometimes slide down as I read or watch tv, wondering what the point is (of my writing)--that never lasts but it does reoccur. which is funny because generally I have no doubts.
I think it was that I did work too much--but have now cut down.
Your sytem seems very good.
thanks so much for replying.
it's been a year since I'm on here and I've learned so much from so many people. You were one of my very first friends on here Eric and you've given me so much great advice and I thank you!
Whisky always helps.

Ian Fleming wrote two hours in the morning, two in the afternoon. Sebastian Faulks emulated this method when writing that damned-awaful Bond book that's just been released. He wrote it in six weeks (so the press puffery here in NZ claims) and it shows.
Everyone does have their own style. I set and think for two hours, then write for one. Definitely every night, and especially when my wife is watching Coronation Street. Being the major bgreadwinner of the family, I must needs work... but the at-least-an-hour-a-night-writing is playtime... and it's playtime that's helped by the two hours thinking.

And whisky, of course. Along with a carefully selected CD. I cannot write without music. Which could make for a good discussion in itself: what do you listen to when writing?
Wonderful:
for myself, as to when Coronation Street is on, I'd rather be:
drawn and quartered than watch it. so we're agreed there.
I have time to write now. My husband really believes in me (poor thing).
So I basically write from 9 a.m. (after dog walking) to 2-3p.m.
I reward myself with emails, internet--
then I have to whip the house up and myself (more or less).
Huz comes home at five.
Your work habits sound just about right
Music--?
No, not for writing or thinking, it throws me off. I start listening to the melody, etc.
I can however enjoy music when re-reading my work or when reading. but it has to be classical--or very light jazz and turned down.
Loved your comments about Bond. was it that bad?
thanks for your reply!
p.s. whisky would put me right to sleep. which isn't a bad idea either.
There are two words to describe the new Bond book: a, and ppalling. For the first 100 pages he does nothing but eat, and play tennis. He doesn't fight, or fornicate. No explosions, no car chase. Oh - and if you do decide to have a quick glance through it, leave your logic button behind. Nothing will press it.

Apart from that, I loved the cover.

But seriously - I cannot, ever, write without music. And, oddly enough (well, I think it's odd) when writing my period piece - a WW1 novel - Jethro Tull sits perfectly. When writing letters... classical.

And yes, while whisky can be of enormous help in setting a few adjectival clauses free, it also completely ruins punctuation, syntax, grammar, and speling. Why is this machine underlining whisky? Please don't tell me it's a bourbon drinking machine...
It's probably drunk on some sort of Spam-related alcohol!
I wish I could write to music!
I'll tell you what I do though. I go to my page and listen to that first song in particular, Artie Shaw's Nightmare and it gets me in the mood. My cheerful kitchen fades and I'm sitting in a bar watching tough-talking cops and beautiful but immoral (and tragic) ladies slinking by them. And then--! well, I'm just inspired!
Loved your explanation about the Bond book. Yes, it's unfair, isn't it? Things get published because of a name.
ah such is publishing life though!
But onward I go--and you've at least been there!
Sanity has absolutely noting to do with writing. It is a detriment to my process. I am lucky because I only have to deal with four cats that hate me when I am writing. The laundry piles up, I don't shave. I irritate my friends and completely submerge myself into the process. I start at the beginning with a time line and mark off the time line once I get the section on paper in some kind of logical way. I write linear with wild variations into things that I almost always throw away. I do this until I burn out and usually go to Stanleys Ice House where most of my friends don't even read the paper. I flirt with the girls and usually go home with a hangover. Once I recover I pick up the time line and continue the process. Then I usually go all out until I burn out and need another brain break. so far the process usually yield about 2000 words a seccesion. I keep it up until until brain failure, then it's back to Stanleys and start all over again. A breaki s necessary, but short breaks work best for me I abandoned sanity when I was a tedhnica writer. I rather enocourage insanity and weird working hours until the project is polished. Then put it up for a month and start writing your queries.

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