We have a system. Specifically, my husband and I have a system. Every night, we have something we call Creative Hours. He most often works on music. I usually work on writing. But the point is that we do something creative. Or we spend part of the time learning more about whatever we’re doing.
I have rather horrific self-discipline, so this system makes me accountable to someone outside myself. It’s BRILLIANT. It makes me work, however many distractions I have. Since we started, I’ve discovered I write more even outside of Creative Hours. In the morning over coffee or on my lunch break at work, I find I put more words on the page, that they flow faster and better.
Of course, I’m not always home in time. But this is something we do every day, so if I stay out late visiting, I don’t feel too badly; I still have five or six nights a week with that I’ve accomplished something. And I guard those two hours fiercely. If my phone rings, I am not always polite to the person on the other end.
The moral of the story: unless it’s an emergency, don’t try to talk to me between 8 and 10pm.
Some writers set a specific output goal. When I draft entirely by hand, I don’t know how I’d do that. A page goal would have to change with each new notebook.
Every system has its merits. The current system works for me. For now. But having dedicated time is priceless–time you can point to and defend and make your own, when you create something just for the sake of creation. A room of one’s own (thank you, Virginia Woolf) is pointless if one does not also make the time for its use. Your creative mind will thank you for it.