Feb is the new Jan

I'm never very quick off the blocks when it comes to a New Year. The first month of 2014 has already been and gone. Eight and half percent (give or take) of the writing time available to me has vanished with barely a word being written. The bright shiny resolution to write something long enough to be classed as a novel (or indeed a nove given the current wonky state of the "l" key on my laptop) is losing its luster and looking rustier by the day.

Like any good procrastinator I've armed myself with a variety of plausible excuses. I wanted to make sure I spent enough time with my parents while they were staying with us. I needed to have time to think and come back refreshed. I had to spend more time reading and learning from others. Am I sounding convincing yet?

Whatever the excuses, the liver-troubling, wine-fueled excesses of January are done and I'm left with two choices - ride the bemoaning wave of misfortune for the rest of the year or start writing.

As usual I devised some kind of reasonable middle ground - some light complaining followed by a few hours of productive writing which yielded about 1100 words and the completion of a follow up piece to Damaged Goods (working title: Safe House). It needs a bloody good edit I suspect (and unlike this blog post it will probably get it) but it's a start.

The critical realisation is that I need to make some significant changes to my day if I'm to be productive this year. I think this will happen progressively rather than as a big bang. My ultimate goal is to fit in three midweek early morning runs each week, at least one long weekend run and then spend the evenings writing once the kids have gone to bed and supper is finished. 

I need to give up alcohol during the week or at least cut down to a single glass of something suitable. 

Let me take a moment expunge the myth that drinking leads to better writing - it doesn't. It might dull your inhibitions a little but all it really does is make you a whole lot of tired. Writing until the early hours of the morning when you have small children who may or may not stay asleep is a big enough game of Russian Roulette for me - doing it after a bottle of red is just plain ugly.

My TV time will need to drop to the bare minimum. This is no bad thing as I've reached MSP (Masterchef Saturation Point) and may froth at the mouth if I see another vincotto reduction. I would like to cut out the TV portion entirely and spend an hour or two at the dinner table talking to my wife but we all need a bit of escapism (i.e. she needs an escape from me) and there are a whole heap of quality series clogging up the PVR.

I've also taken the bold step to set myself up in the spare bedroom and to close the door when writing. I've allowed myself ten minutes grace when I pull up the chair and sip my Earl Grey (with milk - historically they would have burned me at the stake) to peruse the wonders of Shortbread Stories and then the internet gets disconnected. There can be no exceptions to this rule. I am the past master of "Let me just check this fact on google so that it's correct as part of the story...hmm...that's interesting...let me check this out as well...wow, and if I click here..." 

Fact finding missions will be limited to editing sessions only.

Oh, and under no circumstance will the smart phone be in the room. 

Reading will have to be squeezed into lunch hours and the dead time spent waiting in bedrooms for kids to fall asleep - same goes for commenting and contributing to forums. Weekends will have to work themselves out. I have no intention of becoming an MIB (Missing In Bedroom) dad. There are some things that writing just has to take a number, form an orderly queue and wait its turn to fit around.

I clocked off at close to 1am and it felt good. In fact it felt great. The biggest issue was getting to sleep rather than staying awake. This was due, in part, to my brain being full of ideas for stories. I would also factor in a highly restless wife who I had woken up around 12.30am with an accidental door slam. I scored bonus points for waking our daughter up in one fell swoop.

What? It's a new regime...it was never going to be perfect...let's see what happens tonight...

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