Sustainable Sabbatical

There are few things more rewarding to a writer than having the opportunity to retreat to an undisclosed place for weeks on end and writing like the wind.

Of course, finishing a manuscript is its own reward.

I’ve been fortunate enough to start out my year doing just that. It’s not always possible to carve out a schedule during which I can spend at least eight hours a day dedicated to a singular writing project. To do so without distraction is pure heaven. I can truly immerse myself in the world I’m creating, with a level of depth and indulgence that isn’t always possible.

It’s hard to let that go.

However, there is a way to keep it.

C. Lockhart-Gordon. To the End. London: John F. Shaw and Co., 1898[?]

In simple math terms, four weeks of fifty hours of writing equals two hundred hours of writing. Practically speaking, that breaks down to four hours per week for fifty weeks (an entire year, with two weeks off), or eight hours per week for twenty-five weeks (roughly an hour and forty minutes per day, five days per week, for a six-month spell). 

With the latter plan, it’s very possible to knock out two manuscripts per year, without taking any time off to go away on a deserted coastline to do so.

For me, the early morning hours are most precious, and I’ll get up ninety minutes earlier to carve out that time. Before long, I’ll not even notice that I’ve changed my schedule.

When is the best time for you to carve out some precious writing time? Do it—and hold to it. Every writer deserves a sabbatical every year.

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