Do You Schedule or Go With The Flow?

How does your brain work?

This week’s post is more of a question than anything else. I’ve written before about schedules and planning. I think it’s essential for helping you attain your goals. If your life is like mine, you’re doing about ten things at once. You might be attacking your WIP, editing your about-to-be-released masterpiece, working for the man, working for yourself and everything else that comes with life.

Here’s the question. Is it okay to blow up your schedule and plans? Personally, I think part of the power of goals and planning is the ability to alter and adjust as needed. Beyond that, I think you have to go with the flow sometimes.

I move from one writing project to the next. At times, I have deadlines for my clients and I’m pumping out stuff right under the wire. However, many times, that really gets the juices flowing.

We only have so many minutes in a day. When you are already in the zone with one project, does it pay to keep going? Or, do I shelve it and pick it up again next week when I’m approaching the deadline again? Think about the effort and time it takes to get into a particular writing project; if you are already going on all cylinders, wouldn’t that be more productive?

You bet! But, there’s goes the schedule. I would love to hear feedback from you guys out there. How much do you let your schedule rule the roost? How many of you attack your day by the seat of your pants? At what point does running with a feeling or zone become counterproductive for everything else in your day? When does sticking to a schedule damper your creativity and suppress your writing zone?

I would love to hear how you deal with these situations in the comments below.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

15 thoughts on “Do You Schedule or Go With The Flow?”

  1. I often start with a plan, but then respond to events as they unfold. When I was in the army, it was called starting with the OPLAN and then engaging targets of opportunity.

  2. I start with a general plan, but it usually ends up turning into a ‘go with the flow’ approach. If I get in a zone I tend to milk it for what its worth and if I’m stuck, I tend to not try and force it just for the sake of putting something on paper since more often than not I’ll either hate what I procduced or end up reworking it.

  3. I need to plan, because I’m juggling so many projects. But I try to leave some flexibility, because often, like that little robot vacuum, I hit a wall on one and have to spin around and go in another direction. Thank you for sparking the conversation, Jim!

  4. My plan is more a to-do list and I start with the most urgent or the most appealing and stay with it until I run out of steam then switch to the next project. I’m fortunate though because I telecommute to a completely different time zone so I have lots of flexibility in terms of when I work which is really useful when I am in the flow with writing.

  5. I probably have too much flexibility at the moment. I try and start each day with writing because that’s when my brain works the best, and everything else is supposed to happen ‘later’. Of course it’s not often that I can stick to that plan. lol

  6. I’m a to-do list person, too, and I’m one of those people who sticks at an item on the list ’til it’s done. My day job requires a fair amount of multitasking, which makes me crankier, the older I get, lol. When I’m writing a first draft, I tend to carve out several hours in a row so I can immerse myself in the work; editing requires less in the way of total concentration. But that’s just me. Great topic, Jim!

  7. The road to hell and all that…I always have good intentions. That being said, I do try to get my writing in before doing much of anything else. Great post, Jim 🙂

  8. I too have good intentions that often don’t lead anywhere I want to be. I need to get more organized. I’ve had success with to-do lists in the past. They keep me focused. I might get back to using them.

  9. When I semi-retired to Tasmania I was so sick of timetables and routines that I threw them all out the window. However, I find that going with the flow can be really unproductive at times, and that’s when I revert to prioritising; especially when my position becomes more semi than retired.

    Great post, Jim.

  10. I tend to go more with the flow than otherwise. When I’m writing I just continue until I run out of steam. I’m easily diverted by great posts like this one and find I waste a lot of time reading and commenting on various group sites and blogs—but is it really a waste of time? I don’t think so, because I have made good friends and incredibly valuable connections when I thought I was being least productive. Most of it gets done in the end, anyway.

  11. I’m a compulsive list maker and still have to-do lists from 1986. [Need to put throw out to-do lists on the to-do list.] Without a list, I feel lost. The list is where I jot down ideas of things to try, and I do try to allocate time slots for the most important tasks during the week. However, if I’m “in the zone,” I keep writing because if I stop, it’ll get lost. And when I try to force it, as J. M. Williamson said, it comes out flat. But the older I get the more the marathon “zone” sessions hurt — mess up my sleep schedule, summon illnesses, make me have to work harder on other tasks, etc. I am praying harder for the “zone” to show up during it’s scheduled time slot nowadays.

  12. My “planning” consists primarily of to-do lists, as well, and altho I seldom go from A to B to C, I will eventually get them done amid all the other things that come up. I consider reading blogs, commenting, keeping up with writer news, engaging and relating online all to be part of my writer’s work, so altho it might look like goofing off to outsiders, it’s not really. And like J.M. and L., I don’t force the writing; when I do that, it ends up being crap and I throw it away, so why waste the time? If the muses are not smiling, there are a ton of other writerly things I can do. I have to say, tho, that I’m surprised we all seem to be in agreement. I would have thought there were a ton of other more organized and more focused writers out there!

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