I like to think of myself as a creative person. (I hope that would be fairly obvious, what with the whole writing fiction thing.) I've found unconventional solutions to problems in a think-outside-the-box way, I can visualize the way I'd like things to be and make it happen, and I am unstoppable with a hot glue gun.
It seems as though there's a stereotype that goes along with artists of any kind - while they're always brimming with ideas, they constantly appear distracted, they fly by the seat of their pants with any sort of commitment, and a cloud of disarray follows them wherever they go. That's not me at all.
I'm the child of two Type-A personalities. Clearly, there was no hope for me. I enjoy lists and spreadsheets. I've never been late for anything in my life, barring unforeseen circumstances (and ever since the advent of cell phones, I call if I even think I'm going to be late for anything). Bills are paid on time, phone calls and emails are returned promptly, and I keep an organized calendar. Somehow, those traits almost seem incongruous with my "creative", "artistic" side.
I've always been a person who needs routine and structure. When I got laid off from my job in June 2010, I spiraled into a pretty bad depression for the first time in my life. It wasn't necessarily the joblessness - I was substitute teaching, and the pay wasn't terrible - but more the not knowing ahead of time what each day would have in store for me. It took a bad toll on my physical health as well, which turned right around as soon as I decided to go back to school and had that new routine set in place for me. (Interestingly, though, it was during that time that I rediscovered writing. Silver linings, right?)
So what does this have to do with writing? I forget if I mentioned this, but about two months ago, I picked up a small, steady writing gig for an indie game company. Nothing earth-shattering, but it's fun. While the pay isn't that high, they pay regularly and it's good to have a steady flow of "fun money" into my Paypal account for knitting patterns, Etsy purchases, and all the other little things. Not long after I started, I discovered an additional bonus: when I had an assignment with a set due date that I had to complete, I found it easier to get into good writing habits with my personal writings.
This was verified last week, when we all had the week off from working on the game. I figured it would be a good chance to get a chunk of writing done on my current project (the first of the Disintegration mini-prequels). Yeah, I was wrong. I pissed around on the internet and played a lot of online card games instead. I did get *some* writing done, but not as much as I wanted, and it was sort of a slog. We're back to the assignments this week, and guess what? My first prequel is into its last scene already.
(And yes, I do make outlines and schedules for myself with the gaming assignments. I get way too happy when I finish ahead of my schedule....)