Monday, March 31, 2014

5 Ways to Manage Your Writing Time

As writers sometimes it is difficult to figure out the best way to manage our writing time. What with day jobs, kids, self-care time and the other many must do's that we have, sometimes even thinking about writing is exhausting. Here are 5 ways to help you manage your writing time.

1. Keep an editorial calendar. There's a wonderful article here on how to do this so I won't belabor the point, but I found that once I figured out how to use Google Calendar as an editorial calendar I got much more writing done. While she talks about using it to schedule her blogs and freelance articles, you can also use it to schedule your fiction writing!

2. Learn when to say no. This is a big one, most of us have a hard time saying no when a loved one or someone at work asks us to do something a little extra, but if you're going to manage your writing time which is your time, then you'll need to learn to say no to some things. For example extra overtime, or projects at work that would require you to do some of the work on your own time. Another example might be your best friend or sister always showing up unannounced because she wants to go out and party and wants you to watch her kids. This is a great opportunity to say NO. Don't make excuses, don't apologize, say no and mean it. Then go and write!

3. Create a space that is dedicated to your writing. This can be a whole room, or a corner in the living room with your desk. If there are other people using the space, watching TV etc. then invest in a pair of good headphones and play classical music or some other type of music that is not distracting during your writing time. Be sure and let the family, roommates whoever know that when you're sitting at your computer typing or writing in your notebook and those headphones are on, you are not to be interrupted unless it's an emergency. Make sure you define emergency as being something like the house is on fire, not that your roommate needs help studying for their astronomy test, or your husband or wife wants help putting together a talk for the next day. These are not emergencies and you need to be clear with everyone so they understand.

4. Write at the same time each day for a set period of time. This goes back to your editorial calendar. Make sure you have a set period of time each day to write, even if it's only thirty minutes or an hour. It doesn't have to be a huge block of time, you'd be amazed how much you can get done in thirty minutes if you focus. The idea is to schedule it on your calendar and then stick to it.

5. Write now, edit later. We all have that dreaded internal editor and sometimes it's really hard to stop this creature from forcing us to go back and read every word right after we write it. Don't. Whenever your internal editor raises its ugly head and tries to force you to go back and edit what you just wrote, ignore it and keep on typing, or writing. You can schedule editing time later. You can even schedule it after your writing time so you go back and read over what you've written once you've completed your scheduled writing time. Just don't do it before you've completed it.

Bonus Tip: Consider using an online bell or purchasing a real timer and setting it for the amount of time you want to write and then just write until the bell goes off. This is a great way to ensure you get your writing time done without your internal editor taking over or any other distractions interrupting your writing time.

If you use these tips to manage your writing time you will get more writing done and you'll publish more often! Try them out today!

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