Writer Basics: The Rhythm Method

13 Mar

by Marilyn Campbell

You’re moving along, stroke by determined stroke, getting closer and closer to the big finish when…

SURPRISE! A child screams for Mommy, a phone call comes in from your mommy, your computer alerts you to an urgent email or lightning hits the big oak outside your window. I could be talking about sex but I was actually referring to stroking the keyboard. It happens to every writer. No matter how well you’ve planned out your day or chosen your private space, there’s always the possibility of a disturbance that cannot be ignored.

My interruption this week was a good surprise. My new erotic romance, “Work It” was scheduled for release Friday, March 18th, a lot sooner than expected. I should probably detour here and admit that I’m somewhat obsessive compulsive (the laughter you hear is coming from my children over my use of the word ‘somewhat’) and so it’s very difficult for me to switch gears in an instant, especially when I’m on a writing roll, but this news, as good as it was, required me to set aside the novel in progress and focus on marketing.

Fortunately I have gotten more flexible over the years (I had to) but I still subscribe to a time management system I call The Rhythm Method. By trial and error I discovered my most productive writing time is in the pre-dawn and early morning hours and since I tend to droop in the late afternoon, that’s when I do something physical that takes little or no brainpower. Knowing my personal rhythms and habits, I set aside one day a week to do all the mundane tasks that need to be done and I write them on a list as I think of them. That way I don’t waste any space in my brain fretting over those things while I’m being creative.

Each individual needs to discover her own rhythm and work with it as much as possible in order to accomplish the most goals. But whatever method you use, it’s imperative that you schedule in time for the inevitable SURPRISE! Because it is absolutely going to happen when you are in the middle of doing something else.

Do you find one time of day more creative than others? What was the last surprise moment you had while writing? How did you handle it? Inquisitive minds want to know!

                                         *****

And since I mentioned marketing, here’s the blurb on “Work It” –

Cory knows she has an amazing boss. Jeff is considerate, generous and a true pleasure to work for. Unfortunately, he’s also the sexiest man she has ever known and being so close to him every day without being able to touch has turned into pure torture.

Jeff believes Cory is the ideal assistant, always willing to accommodate. For some time he’s been fantasizing about personal things he wishes Cory would do for him. Letting her know that, however, has been out of the question…until she turns in her resignation and admits it’s because she wants something more from him. The instant they realize they want the same thing, they don’t waste another second before acting out their office fantasies.

                         Available 3/18/11 at http://www.ellorascave.com

8 Responses to “Writer Basics: The Rhythm Method”

  1. Jen B. March 13, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    I wish I could find a time of day that I could always have for creative time. I don’t write, I craft and it’s just impossible to accomplish anything without time set aside. It always seems like the minute I get started there are 10 fires I need to put out!

    • Marilyn Campbell March 13, 2011 at 8:44 am #

      Hi Jen, Does it help to know you’re not alone in that wish? 🙂  What you need to keep in mind is that it’s imperative to your mental and physical health to have some pure Jen time everyday. Sometimes that means saying NO or NOT RIGHT NOW and not feeling guilty or selfish about it. (It’s hard but with a little practice you just might be able to give yourself the gift of time.) Wishing you love and light, Marilyn Campbell http://www.marilyncampbell.com IN AND OUT OF TIME PRIMAL BEAT START YOUR ENGINES Download at http://www.ellorascave.com

  2. anny cook March 13, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Sometimes those surprises are beyond the short interruption. Sometimes, you just have to set aside the writing for a while.

    In the last few months the house hunk had a seizure…that took a few days for me to calm down. And that was only the beginning.

    I found the best thing is to finish each evening by organizing my current wip info so that should I need to, I can take it with me. A lot of “thinking” and planning gets done while I wait in doctor’s offices. AND it gives me the added benefit of keeping my mind on something other than worrying.

    • Marilyn Campbell March 13, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      Amen to everything you wrote, Anny. It’s always amazing to me how many authors have persevered through major dramas and crises and still managed to keep their careers alive! Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Sasha Devlin March 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    I’m a night owl, so my most productive times are late when I should be sleeping.

    Last year I was involved in a roll over car accident and all creative projects were put on hold. Though I couldn’t type, my brain kept feeding me ideas and story pieces. I have terrible scribbles from jotting down notes with my left hand 🙂

    While I would have chosen to learn the lesson differently, at least I know that it is possible for me to get completely derailed, and eventually get back on track.

    • Marilyn Campbell March 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      What a tough way to learn how strong you are Sasha! I’m glad you didn’t give up … and I’m sure your readers are too!

  4. KJ Reed March 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    I’m a night owl too. I joke that even at 27, I’m still stuck on College Time. As in, I would sleep until noon and work until 5am if I could. I mean, hey…it’s 1:30am now and I’m working. 🙂

    • Marilyn Campbell March 14, 2011 at 7:15 am #

      Good morning KJ, or perhaps it will be good afternoon when you read this 🙂 I’ve always envied people who come awake at night…I lost the ability to party till dawn somewhere around 20. Besides, it is such a quiet time for writing! Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: