Thursday, February 01, 2007

On Writing (1): Finding time to write

I like to keep myself active with the keyboard and juggle a few projects at once. People ask me what writing habits I have and how and when I write. Here's the Bird-Method.

  • I get up around 7.00 a.m. and wake, feed, dress kids and help my dear wife get them ready for school.
  • I get to work about 0815 and get a cup of tea, turn on my computer, check the mail, and annoy my bosses secretary with requests for sweeties.
  • At 0830-0850 is German practice: vocab, read an EJTh book review, Deutsch Bibel.
  • Then 0850-0900 is general prayer and readings from the Book of Common Prayer
  • At 0900-09010 I work on my Evangelical Missal project and collect a written prayer, a Bible reading, a stanza from a hymn, and part of a creed, catechism or confession which I hope to turn into a book by the end of the year.
  • The rest of the day is determined by preparation, teaching, answering emails, and admin. Where possible I try to get the odd two-hour block of writing time. During the day I am working on the Two Views of Christians Origins book with James Crossley.
  • Try get home by 1720 and help my wife with dinner, cleaning up, feeding kids, night-time routine with kids (prayer, Bible reading, memory verse, story, game) and then coffee with my wife Naomi. Possibly a shower around 1930 (this is Scotland afterall).
  • Around 2000-2045 I like to work on book reviews. I'm currently reading Phil Towner on the Pastorals.
  • Then 2100-2230 is more writing time working on soon-to-be finnished projects. At the moment I'm doing some stuff on Jewish views of Paul for a journal article.
  • At 2230-2315 is a minor project I plug away at, at the moment a commentary on Colossians.
  • 2315-2330 is Greek devotionals and prayer.
  • 2330-0000 is blogging time, Aussie red-wine, and kicking an orange ball around my living room in order to wind down.

And so ends a day in the life of Mike Bird!


Nate Mihelis said...

I'm starting to see you were serious when you said forget about watching 24; I'm also starting to see why you're so productive. This is helpful and a good kick in the pants. One question: I've always written by blocking out large blocks of time for individual topics. Have you always worked in divided incriments or do you discipline yourself this way for more effectiveness?

exegetical fallacy said...

Wow, sounds like a true military man! Do you have a publisher yet for the Colossians commentary?


Michael F. Bird said...

Preston, have a publisher in mind but it's part of a larger project and we'll see if it gets off the ground yet.

Danny Zacharias said...

You are a drill sergeant!

Do you squeeze any exercise times in there?

exegetical fallacy said...


Speaking of finding time for other things (cf. DZ), I won't ask the question all us fellow married folk are wondering...

Michael F. Bird said...

Exercise is 1300-1400 three days a week. Wednesday nights is Bible study. Weekends are a different are open and flexible although I like to read two chapters of a book if I can. On "special time" with the wife, the rabbi's believed that the sabbath night should be a regular time for intimacy with the wife. Gives TGIF a whole new meaning !!!

J. B. Hood said...

EF, I don't think that's what Danny meant by "squeezing" and "exercising"...I could be wrong though. Danny, are those Canadian euphemisms?

Joel Willitts said...

I have found that in my first year of teaching I cannot keep a schedule quite like the one Mike is suggesting. At least in the US teaching in an undergraduate setting in the early days is renlentless. I am up between 4:15-4:30 and to bed at mid-night on Mondays because I teach morning afternoon and night. On Weds and Frids I am up at 4:15-4:45 and to bed by 10:30-11:00. When I come home from teaching on MWF, I am cashed out. I just want to sit and veg. Tues and Thrus ad a bit better by not much, just up by 8am on those days and out to the office until 6 PM. On Sat I work in the morning--sometimes on my own research--or should I say book formatting (what a pain!!). And Sundays I do work in the afternoon and early evening to begin to get ready for my week. Now that will change over time, but for now. I do everything I can just to keep up.

Michael F. Bird said...

Joel, Just keep your head above water mate, and chip away at stuff when ya can. I know that formatting is painful, but soon it will be done! Say, how many classes do they have you teaching over at NPU? I teach four per semester which is about 8 hrs per week!

Joel Willitts said...

I am teaching four four hour classes. We are only required to teach three, but I need the money so I teach an overload. What is really pushing me is my NT Backgrounds course as well as tuning up my John course the second time through. The intro to the bible--I teach two classes of this--is much easier for me now. Not least because I stopped requiring papers in that class. Papers written by students that don't really care about studying the bible is a beating!

exegetical fallacy said...

Listening to you guys makes me love the PhD life!

David said...

Thanks for the challenge! I have a dog and I like cycling (as well as the family). In comparison with you guys, I live in the land of the slacker.

Kevin said...

Just remember guys that those in industry are lucky to get 2 weeks a year off while those in academics have 3 months off in the summer, 2 or 3 weeks off for Christmas and probably another month off with school breaks, etc.