Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.

Enemy Number One: The Weekend

Don’t get me wrong–I luuuvvve weekends. Two days of not being stuck in an office or chained to a desk? Sign me up! But they do tend to derail or undermine my goals in a number of ways….

1) No set schedule.

On Friday evenings, it seems like I have a veritable oasis of time stretching out before me. I can see friends, spend quality time with The Boy (or should I call him The Man now? Not as catchy), catch up on housework, putter (okay, bust my ass) in the garden, and still find time for writing and working out. Right? Wrong! Somehow, every Sunday night has me saying exactly the same thing: “Where the (insert expletive of choice here) did all the time go?”

During the workday, I have a schedule. Get in at 9 a.m., do a bunch of stuff until morning break at 10:30, do a bunch more stuff until lunch, eat lunch while working, bunch more stuff, then afternoon break at 3:30, and an hour later I’m out the door. Most days are like that. It’s predictable. There’s a routine. It can get a bit monotonous, but I have no problem scheduling in time for drinking lots of water and healthy meals. The weekend is another story.  It’s really difficult for me to remember to drink 80 ounces of water when I’m working in the garden. Or grocery shopping. Or making my way through my Mount Everest of laundry. Once I’m engrossed in a weekend project, meals are forgotten until I’m starving. And then it’s easy to make bad choices and just grab a handful of mini-wheats or whatever else is handy. Jillian would definitely not approve.

2) Late to Bed, Late to Rise

Most people tend to stay up later on the weekends. There are friends to see, late-night movies to go to, all the nightclubs are hopping (not that you’re going to find me there. I love to dance, but happily left the bar scene back in my twenties. Let someone else get dry-humped by Barely Legal or hit on by Grandpa), and there’s that general sense of freedom: “ah, I don’t have to get up for work tomorrow!”

If you read my Good in Bed post, you already know that I tend to be a night owl if I don’t have a strict schedule imposed upon me (and sometimes even then). So I take this freedom to an extreme. I stay up until two in the morning or later, which of course means I sleep half the morning away on Saturday and Sunday. Not good.

3) Laziness

Working in an office is still difficult for me, I admit. It doesn’t come naturally. I loved the freedom of being a freelance journalist, setting my own schedule and planning my own life. The result is that I just barely have the energy stores to get through the week. Come the weekend, I CRASH and I crash hard. That couch/bag of cheesy-poofs/old DVD/great book/two-hour bubble bath look sooo good. I justify the vegetative state to myself because I earned it, dammit! Look how hard I work during the week! Thus, yet another weekend passes me by, so on Sunday I’m again saying “where did all the time go?”

This weekend is crucial. I’ve stayed true to the Jillian plan for five days. I’ve so far resisted the temptations of french fries, doughnuts, my favorite muffin, and going to bed without working out, but this will be my first weekend. I’m nervous about it. Does anyone have any tips on how to get the most out of a weekend? I had The Boy make an hour-by-hour schedule for me last weekend, but that isn’t the solution, either. To me, the perfect weekend has to be a nice mix of relaxation and productivity. If I structure every minute, I might as well be at work!

Another reason to be nervous: the five kilometre run is this Sunday! And it’s not like I’ve been training for it, Jillian plan aside. I’ve never signed up for one of these before, and it will be the first time The Boy and I run together (except for a brief trial on Saturday). Wish me luck!

And I wish all of you a very happy weekend.

To bed at: 11:30 pm (out with writer friend, so I had good excuse)
Awake at: 6:00 am, but didn’t get out of bed until 7:00 due to chat with The Boy
Making the Cut, Day Four: Kept to the plan well, choosing the most suitable meal at the restaurant I could find (a gyro with salad, dressing on the side). Had to postpone workout until today, but will do one on Saturday, too. Jillian gives you three days off, bless her heart.
Novel pages written: TBD. Yes, once again I have to make up the pages at night/on the weekend.

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  1. TS

    First of all “The Boy” is better, as you stick it to “The Man”. That being said, one of your objectives should be to come up with a much better nickname – he has so much to work from! 😉

    Now for you dilemma, and this comes from a Type A: make a list. Don’t be a super-hero and run out of lines on the page. Choose something small but achievable. If you can check all, say, five items by weekends end you’ll feel much better about the weekend!

  2. Story Teller

    Great suggestion, TS! I’ll definitely give it a try. I usually do make a list, but it’s often way too long, and then I don’t feel like doing any of it. 🙂

  3. Elspeth Cross

    Well, it’s 10:20 am on Saturday and I’m still in my PJs surfing the ‘net. So I don’t know how helpful this will be.

    I am very much a list person so in order to accomplish my list I give myself a set “goofing off” time. For instance, today I know that I’m out of the house from 2:30 till about 6pm. So I have 10 minutes of free time left. Then I have a list of stuff to do (pack 10 boxes, write one scene, wash one load laundry, clean living room.) And because I know my weaknesses, I can’t have the TV or computer on at all. If I get my chores done, I get more free time.

    Also, *APPLAUDS* for giving up muffins. That is a heroic sacrifice but I’m sure it will be worth it.


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