Surfacing from Predator novel writing and revisions just for a moment to say more interviews with the bookless are forthcoming, along with a sneak peek at Ben Templesmith’s cover art for the limited edition Shriek, and excellent news about Finch.
In the meantime, I’ve gotten almost a dozen emails saying basically, “Jeff, how do you accomplish so much?” I really don’t feel like I’m doing that much, in fact I often feel downright lazy, but in case my process might be of help, here it is: Prioritize your workload to start with the stuff that takes the most mental energy–and make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, and the right kind of food.
So, that breaks down to this schedule during the week:
7:15 – 7:45: Exercise bike (excellent opportunity to read books for review)
8:00: Breakfast of four eggs and two pieces of wheat toast
8:30 – 11:30: Writing of first-draft fiction in longhand, sometimes at a coffee shop (nothing takes more mental energy for me, so preferably must be fresh…or do it late at night, sometimes), with some book review writing on the tail end of that time if I run out of fiction inspiration
11:30 – 12:30: Brisk 30-minute walk (for brainstorming) and check email. Also includes lunch, which lately has been a good healthy salad with turkey and mushrooms, spinach leaves, etc.
12:30 – 3:00: Typing up of first draft fiction and writing of first-draft book review, other nonfiction material, sometimes career stuff; nutritious snack, like nuts or protein bar
3:00 – 4:00: Nap, watch TV, or follow up on email, PR, etc.
4:00 – 6:00: Weightlifting and some cardio (upper body at home three times a week, lower body two times a week)
6:00 – 7:00: Dinner (chicken or fish with vegetables or protein smoothie with snack)
7:00 – 8:30: Outer limit for continuing work on responding to email, finishing off reviews, etc.
8:30 – 11:00: Time off, movies, TV, etc., and fruit for snack
11:00 – 7:15 – Sleep
And repeat. Weekends are more leisure oriented, in that I don’t push myself to finish fiction. Usually a long walk on Sundays, racquetball on Saturday. I do a lot of my book review reading and prep for Amazon posts on weekends.
Now, that’s best-case. Sometimes it doesn’t happen exactly like that, but that’s the goal. Every weekday. Sometimes we goof off more in the evening or have some wine or a jack-and-coke, or whatever. But I strive to meet that optimum schedule. I’d say I hit it about 75-85% of the time, which is enough to be efficient.
The thing that has really had to change with more fiction deadlines, though, I have to say, is how I access my email and the internet. I no longer turn on my computer until lunchtime and I try to turn it off by around 7 or 8 pm, tops. I find myself allocating more blocks of time to answer email, rather than just answering when I get an email. This has given me much more piece (and peace!) of mind and I find my brain is literally less fractured and fragmented. I think it’s a lot healthier to do it this way.