While new writers are encouraged to set up a work schedule and stick to it if they intend to finish a writing project, those of us who write under contract often work under the opposite conditions. We've a manuscript to hand in by a certain date, which often means we hold ourselves obliged to write seven days a week.
Like all good intentions, writing every day sounds noble but proves to be unrealistic. We are people before we are writers, and our lives involve other people and obligations that require time and attention. Life offers up problems and snags, some of them unforeseen.
As I grow older, I find that my daily chores and errands require more time than they used to. As does wading through my email every morning. Add to that the occasional doctor visit or the occasional visit with friends and family members, and before I know it the day has turned into evening and I'm in no shape to concentrate on my work in progress.
Working daily on one's manuscript (or manuscripts, as the case may be) helps set a routine that moves the process along more smoothly. But while I set out each day, knowing the scene or scenes I'm about to turn into text, I often find myself stopping to research a topic. It might be as minor as checking out lunch menus of a certain type of restaurant, or as complicated as how a town council functions. These can always be incorporated in my writing day.
However, writing a manuscript is not always a linear experience. There have been times when I've found myself having to take my storyline in a somewhat different direction. This requires me to stop writing immediately and return to page one to start making the essential changes that move the new plot along. Only then can I return to writing new pages and completing my manuscript.
We aren't writing robots but human beings with many needs and wants. Sometimes we require a break from work, simply to do something pleasurable like taking a stroll through an arboretum or having a lunch date with a friend. I find this type of mini vacation refreshes my soul and helps put my creative energy back in gear so I'm eager to return to writing.