It's probably easiest to just list things out in the usual hail of bullets:
Two hours a day seems perfectly reasonable. Even on top of all the other stuff I do, I can usually spend a couple of hours on the spec at the end of the night.
In fact, most nights I was able to put in three hours.
One night I attempted four hours. By hour four, my brain had turned to goo and I was pretty much wasting my time staring blankly at the screen.
That said, I suspect that if I sustain three hours a night for a few weeks, I could probably ramp up to four hours a night. (I assume it works like exercise.)
On those weekdays, here's where I've extracted the extra time from:
If I wake up before the alarm, I just get up and start working. Before, I would lie around in bed for half an hour or more, hoping to grab some extra bit of sleep that never came.
I'm being a lot better about turning off the Internet at home. When I leave it on, it tends to sap ten minutes here, ten minutes there.
I try to do the day's artsy puttering in a particular order, so I don't sit around vacillating about what to work on next.
Lately I've managed to do all my work for the week's Spanish and Sketchwar entries during breakfast and lunch, and then I've gotten through the rest of the day-to-day puttering by around 7pm or so.
After that, I'd put in the day's 'real writing' and go to bed.
In this way, I managed to get through the week's allotted hours (twelve, prorated down from fourteen because that 'week' didn't include Sunday the 8th) by Friday at 9pm.
... which is good, because the weekend was pretty much a disaster. I got no real writing done over the weekend.
... which is weird, because there are so many more hours in the weekend. Here's what I think went wrong:
First off, there were a lot of errands to run.
Like anybody else, I have the usual "stupid meatbag responsibilities" I have to attend to: haircuts, laundry, food, housecleaning, etc.
This past weekend, pretty much everything came due at once.
I figured I could just put in four hours both mornings on errands, and then I could go through the day's puttering, and then I could do the day's real writing, and then finally I'd go off to whatever I had going on that night.
That didn't work. It turns out, if I spend four hours in the morning running errands, I'm exhausted and useless for the rest of the day.
I take this as evidence that I am (1) out of shape, and (2) old.
That said, I don't think I'll have such a massive pile of household errands to attend to for the rest of this project.
As I hinted before, I do poorly without structure.
On a workday, my time is very well mapped out.
There's a chunk of time over breakfast, a chunk of time over lunch, and a chunk of time after work, and I can schedule those out pretty intuitively.
On Saturday or Sunday, though, there is a lot more variation to what I have to do, and I have a much foggier sense of what I should be doing at any given time.
Put another way: give me three hours, I will accomplish three hours of work; give me four hours, I will accomplish four hours of work; give me ten hours, I will accomplish *nothing*.
In the future, I need to do the following:
Do a better job of distributing out the Stupid Meatbag Errands.
If I have a free hour at the tail end of a weeknight, I should pick off whatever household stuff needs doing.
I should limit my weekend errands to (1) stuff that's too time-consuming to complete in an hour and (2) stuff that I have to complete during the day.
I should limit weekend errands to three hours, if possible.
Anything I can't get done in three hours on Saturday, I put off to Sunday. Anything I can't get done on Sunday, I put off to next week.
If it's possible to put off the Stupid Meatbag Errands to the end of the day, I should do so. Better to get my artsy stuff done while I'm not beat to hell.
I should seriously consider just not going out Saturday night or Sunday night.
Those tend to be the periods when normal, boring people go out and do their normal, boring stuff, so it rarely seems to pay to leave the house then.
Plus, I'm much more inclined to write at night.
(This is odd, because I'm really not a night owl.)
In any case, like I said, I got nothing done over the weekend. I finally staggered into bed and slept through Sunday afternoon, waking up in time to tech that night's improv-Mamet show.
The thought occurs that maybe I was just wiped out from the hard-working week.
Another thing I've learned: I'm an introvert. Okay, this I knew already, but one of its implications is that if I go out and do something social, I'm pretty much stupefied for an hour or two afterwards.
I need to take this into account when scheduling social stuff.
Basically, I need to schedule Stupid Meatbag Errands for when I get home from being out among people.
On Friday, when I finished the week's writing, I rewarded myself by going out to the weekly blues dance.
In retrospect, I should have just stayed in and picked off errands. It was nice to catch up with shadyglenn and Michael; other than that I just wallflowered and felt bored/useless.
I suspect that, post ALX, I won't have much/any time for dancing.
Honestly, the same goes for the other two things I went out to that weekend: I watched the Improv Dickens show and I did tech for the Improv Mamet show. I could have skipped the former and wheedled out of the latter without missing much.
But soon we hit a sort of 'tragedy of the commons' situation. Even if each individual outing is sort of a waste of my time, if I skip *all* of them I go stir crazy. I suppose some sort of compromise is necessary.
Of course, all of this will wind up being moot, because November is about to shit the bed rather spectacularly:
This coming weekend is both:
The Austin Lindy Exchange, when hundreds of dancers converge on Austin, including many folks I don't get to see very often.
Wafflefest, the annual improv festival/all-you-can-eat waffle buffet at the Hideout Theatre.
... for which I'll be peforming in Improvised Dickens.
... which means I'm going to rehearsal on Wednesday.
Also, Wafflefest includes the annual Austin Improv potluck/awards ceremony, which will chew up a few hours on Sunday.
(It will do so quite pleasantly, but still: those hours are gone.)
Then the weekend after that is Thanksgiving.
I'm flying off to see my family in Louisville for Thanksgiving.
Theoretically I *should* be able to get writing done.
I'll certainly try.
But I'm guessing the plane trips will be too distracting/uncomfortable/filled with screaming babies to get anything useful done.
Then in Louisville itself, I'll probably wind up feeling obligated to sit around with my family while they watch the History Channel or something.