Writing Habits and Personal Preferences

I believe most writers, most human beings, are creatures of habit. I need seclusion with no distractions to write. I get into each scene mentally and emotionally so any disturbance that breaks me out of that ruins the spell. My friend Kee Briggs wrote anywhere, using a pencil and paper. I admired that, but in many cases, his protagonist was a paper projection of himself.

With Phu going into the hospital this week, I realize that when he comes home, I will have to change my writing habits. It’s doubtful he will be able to take care of himself for a while, so I will have to adjust. I started writing again when my wife was fighting breast cancer, so I understand what has to be done.

To organize my activities, I separate tasks according to the time I will give them. Even with careful planning, any individual task can vary considerably. Some things, such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, and household chores are controllable, if not predictable. Many other items are not because they depend on others, or are complex. Doctor’s appointments, for example, are wholly up to the physician and may not happen in a timely fashion.

My daily goal is 1,200 words, which takes six hours on average. I like to write when I am fresh, which means I often take a nap before starting a section. It is not unusual to vary that, although I seldom write for more than ten hours straight. With Phu out of commission, I will have to rearrange my schedule to meet his needs and take on the chores he normally did before. I may have to settle for four hours and 800 words.

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