That One Small Detail I Alluded To In the Previous Post

It’s this:

Last year about this time I mentioned that my plan for the year was to devote my mornings to writing pay copy, which meant less time doing things on the Internet before noon. It was a good idea, and in a general sense I did much of my non-net writing during that time. But I also ended up doing a fair amount of backsliding. Basically what I’ve found is that if I pop up the Internet first thing in the morning, just to check e-mail, etc, I have a pretty good chance of then not getting to actual work until much later in the day, at a point when I am not as energized for it, and therefore do commensurately less of it.

So this year I’m going to get serious about things, time-wise. Since I very often find it’s useful for me to write or say something in order to sink it into my brain, here it is: in 2011, Monday through Friday*, I will not be online at all before noon, or before 2,000 words of pay copy, whichever comes first. Because now that I am old, morning is my best creative time, and because self-knowledge tells me that I allow myself to get distracted if I don’t set down an actual rule for myself. Now I have.

What this means for you:

1. No morning posts unless a) I’m up late and posting right after midnight, b) I’ve been productive and hit my writing quota, c) I wrote something the night before and scheduled it for release in the AM.

2. If you try to contact me before noon, you’re not likely to get a response.

3. Presuming I’m disciplined about this, lots of new fiction. Not all of which will be available immediately — remember that novels, etc have production cycles to consider — but a full pipeline is never a bad thing for any of us.

What was the asterisk for? The asterisk is for “*when I am at home.” Because I’ll be traveling a decent amount in 2011 and typically on travel days I don’t do too much creative work because I’m a grumpy traveler and/or I’m busy doing the things I traveled to do. Nevertheless, for 2011 when I travel I’m going to try to do the Cory Doctorow thing of at least 250 words regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. It’s better than my current writing plan for travel days (i.e., write nothing), and as with anything, the more one does it, the more one is able to do it.

This goes in effect starting tomorrow. Wheee! Wish me luck.

27 Comments on “That One Small Detail I Alluded To In the Previous Post”

  1. Good Luck John, I have faith that you possess the will and determination to pull it off. Personally I am trying to stick to 4 pages of work per workday myself.

  2. It’s nice to know even a productive professional can have the same problems with the Internet timesink as I do. (It’s after noon here right now, but I logged onto the Internet before noon.)

  3. I’ll just say good luck and leave it with that. More Scalzi fiction output is well worth the price of a bare and snark-free forenoon.

  4. Mr. John Scalzi,

    this is not a comment!!!!
    i merely wanted to send you a message..
    i was reading an old post of yours about teenage writing. it intriuged me, and being a teenage writer, i want you to review my work.
    i will take any comments, corrections, crtisism, anything you throw at me about my book.
    I have what i hzve published on
    here is the link to my book:

    will you send me a message/review on worthy of publishing?
    i will value your opinion and use it for writing in the future.
    thank you so much if you choose to do this.
    i understand if you don’t
    you can also check out MY wordpress blog,

    thank you,
    FairyBlue (codename)

  5. Hey John,
    Are you asking to be held accountable? I’m sure there’s someone in this crowd who’ll volunteer to help you keep to your goals!!

  6. Seriously, I wish you all the luck with this discipline. But, just to make it ‘interesting,’ is there a betting pool to see how long you can keep this going?

  7. If you try to contact me before noon, you’re not likely to get a response

    At all? Or before noon?

  8. Not only will I wish you luck, but I will join you. Thanks for the push. Let us know how you do.

  9. Excellent goal to have. I also decided that I would not go online until my writing was done for the morning. The internet is a very big time sucker and a quick 5 minute check my email could turn into hours. I’ve also joined in on a couple writing challenges to help me stick with my goals.

  10. Stick with it, please! You are one of my favorite writers, so I am strongly in favor of you making as much money writing as possible. I enjoy reading this blog, but I’d much rather have a new Scalzi novel. If you write it, I will buy it. (maybe even twice, since I like books, but frequently read on my Nook) I know that if I want more books, you have to make money. I write computer code, and you’d better believe that I expect to be paid!

  11. The secret I’ve found is to keep some ancient computers around which won’t work on the Internet — or finding that little switch that turns off the WiFi. (grin) If the Internet can’t stare at you, you can’t stare at the Internet.

    Dr. Phil

  12. Good idea. I’m on the clock for pay copy nowadays 10-4, but am always putting off, procrastinating, and failing at writing spec stuff (aka fiction), so MWF, I’ll stay off the intarwebs before 10 and write me some non-pay copy. Ha! On Tuesday and Thursday I go to yoga, and that’s nice, too.

  13. John, I think this is an excellent time management goal — it essentially mirrors the one I made for myself earlier in December, for 2011. I agree, popping up the web browser, even for a few minutes, can kill an entire morning of productivity. And there was waaaaaaaaaay too much of that in 2010, especially with money on the hook. So 2011 definitely needs to be a back-to-business year in this regard. Web’s gotta wait, as much as that pains me. Some days, I am sure, the web will not even happen at all. Oh well, wordcount comes first.

  14. Happy New Year and good luck with your plan. As a life-long morning person, you are taking good advantage of the best hours of the day. You are wise!

  15. I’ve found that switching to a Mac, after being a DOS/Windows user for over 25 years, has cut way down on my browsing time. (Mainly because I can’t freaking find anything.)

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