Time Management

Any hobby or profession a person chooses is going to eat up a certain amount of time out of one’s day to become really proficient at it. A sculptor, welder, painter, photographer, gardener and so on, is going to spend time on their hobbies. A writer is no different.

A common complaint I hear is that “I have no time for writing!” and I have to say I call bullshit on that. No! You yell, I have college! A full time job! Kids! I don’t have time to write!

I can think up many examples of people who simply MAKE time to write. And making time to write, while sometimes very challenging, can be done. Here are a few suggestions that I have found useful.

First of all you have to figure out what is taking up your time. Work, school, kids recitals/activities, tv(big time waster here), video games (Another time eater), surfing the internet(here too), other hobbies. Once you figure out what is taking your time up ask yourself how badly do I want to write?

Is it a passing fancy? Is it a drive that if you don’t it will make you go insane? Or somewhere in between?

Then find 15 min in your day, every day, to write.

Just 15 min. Open up your writing program and write. (we will discuss writer’s block another time)
Wait! You flail, arms waving madly, “I don’t see 15 min in which I can write!”

Do you have a lunch break at work? Take your note book and scribble down ideas. Do you have a ten or twenty min gap in between classes? For you kids in High School what about lunch break?

When you get off of work many people (myself included when I worked, am a SAHM/writer these days) like to slump on the couch and watch TV. But if you find yourself flipping channels perhaps your time could be better spent writing.

I know a lady who has a passion for writing, omg this woman astounds me (she’s a dear friend of mine) and she kicks out high word counts. High quality high word counts. She works over 60 hours a week, runs three kids to college/jobs I swear the woman is driving herself into the ground. But her free time, she writes.

Over years of doing this has given her the skill to be able to get a high quantity of words down in a relatively short period of time. She has chosen wisely how she spends her time.

I have 9 kids, my household is sometimes very very busy. I also homeschool which makes it interesting when I am trying to edit and help with algebra at the same time (doesn’t work, I don’t recommend it). I have learned how to be able to grab any spare time I have in between babies, lessons, laundry and dishes. It has not been easy.

It ISN’T easy. You know that things that are worth it never are.

I have encountered new writers who don’t seem to understand that the only way to get better at writing is by…. writing.

You can’t sit on the couch watching tv and eating potato chips and expect to become Mr/Ms Olympia. You can’t not run and expect to run a 3 min mile. You can’t not practice singing/playing a musical instrument and then expect to become a world class musician and/or singer. You cannot not write and expect to get better/publishable.

The only way to improve your writing, to increase your skills at utilizing the written word, is through writing. Trust me thinking about writing and actually doing it are two completely different things. Thinking about it won’t get the idea down, won’t give you the story to re-read and ready for publication (whichever direction you want to publish). You have to do it. And to do it, you sometimes have to make time to do it.

My biggest suggestions when it comes to writing:
Schedule 15 min every day to write SOMETHING.
Reorganize your internet/tv/video gaming time and slip writing in there
Sit down and figure out how important writing is to you.
Carry around a notebook, when you are waiting for the kids to get out of school, write, when you are waiting for the train, bus, plane, your ride; write.
You already carry a paperback or an ereader with you, right? So substitute a notebook and instead of reading in your spare time, or texting about the latest gossip; write.

Get rid of time wasters. Or limit them. Sure I love watching mind numbing tv. But I love writing more.

For me the biggest issue is the internet, I don’t watch tv, and I can’t afford the games I really love playing (Final Fantasy) because I’d have to get new gaming machines.

But I read blogs, I read the news, I read the Livejournal. There is one writer chat I go to. That is a writer chat though and it helps me keep on track (really…it does….I swear :P). I do need to work on limiting my blog reading time but you folks are often very interesting….

The bottom line is that EVERYONE can schedule at least ten to fifteen min a day to write SOMETHING. You just have to arrange your day and figure out when. Carrying around a notebook helps. Hey there’s always bathroom trips….

Happy Writing, keep it up!

P.S. I’m not asking anyone to justify how you use your time, it isn’t my business. Each situation, each person is different. And yes sometimes there just ISN’T the time to write, I understand that and am not trying to be judgmental. Sometimes sleep is the better choice….

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