Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do You Suffer from the SIFS?

We all do it at one point or another. We save it for Sunday.

I have to go shopping and run all these errands. I’ll just do it on Sunday.
I have this massive paper due. I’ll just write it on Sunday.
I haven’t done any writing this week. I’ll catch up on Sunday.

I used to be an egregious offender.  A huge procrastinator with my writing. I have a full-time job, and a social life from time to time, so I would always tell myself that I would tackle my writing on the weekends. Then Saturday and Sunday would come, and I would get busy…watching TV, taking a walk around my neighborhood, going to the gym, eating, reading a month-old magazine. I got no writing done. I suffered from the SIFS—not a catchy term for syphilis, but rather the Save It For Sundays. (Not to be confused with SNIS.)

See, the problem with saving everything for the weekend is that we have too much free time, which for a writer is just more time to procrastinate. And when we save everything for the weekend, writing will take a back seat to more pertinent tasks on the to-do list, like grocery shopping and cleaning. We find all these little tasks that need to get done, and then before we know it, it's Sunday night at 10pm and we haven't written anything. (We? I guess I mean I...)

SIFS may be swell for some writers, but not me. I need structure. I get more done when I have less time. That makes my time more valuable, and it doesn’t leave me beholden to waiting for inspiration. I get my best work done on weekends when I only set aside an hour or two. If I plan to write the whole day, then I keep putting it off. "Oh, I just have to pick something up at the store, but I'll get to it after," for example.

I know my limitations now. I can’t write for 5-6 hours straight. I can’t do anything for 5-6 hours straight except sleep. My writing attention span lasts for 1-2 hours, and that’s all I expect of myself. That’s how long I write on weekdays, and that’s how long I write on weekends. The blank screen is less daunting when I know I won’t have to spend all day staring at it. It’s better to get in 1 good hour of writing than spend 5 hours sitting at your computer watching classic music videos on YouTube. And if I get into the zone and write for more than 2 hours, then I’ve exceeded my expectations!

So how about you? Do you suffer from the SIFS, or do you prefer them?

p.s. I got that awesome Garfield graphic here.


  1. Oh this is so me! In fact, you've just given me an idea for a post today, thank you :)

  2. I used to be able to pound out a ton of words while writing for 3-4 hours. Now that I'm on break I would rather hang out with people and catch up on movies I've missed. Down to writing an hour a day (so I'm structured...yay!).

  3. @ Alledged - I find an hour a day is more effective than random 3-4 hour spurts. At least with an hour everyday, you can pick up where you left off easily. Your WIP will keep remaining in the front of your mind if you work on it everyday.

  4. Eesh. I don't think I could ever write for 5 straight hours a day. Especially with my 3 kids!;) I get all my writing done usually within an hour or two time-frame at night after the kids go down. And I usually take the weekends off. Usually... :)

  5. I find it amazing you have the energy to write after running around with 3 kids all day. You are an all-star! It's great that you've gotten yourself into that 1-2 hr/night routine. Keep it up, C!

  6. going Garfield is such a lovely thing to do, too bad we don't enough time for it :(
    When it comes to me personally I usually don't know how I manage to do everything I do :) Taking care of the house and all the daily chores, spending up to ten hours in my office and then working on my site, even a 30 hours long day wouldn't be enough :)

  7. Hey Dezmond! Thanks for the follow! I wish there was a 30 hour day, but then again, I would probably just use those extra 6 hours to nap, watch TV, and surf the net.