Time Management for Writers

Most writers have other employment that pays the bills, but even if you have the luxury of pursuing your writing career full-time, good time management must be a priority. Without time management, many authors make multiple false starts but never complete a book, or the book is complete, but all other aspects of their writing career go by the wayside.

Determine how many hours a day you have to devote to your writing career then allocate the time accordingly. Devote at least half of your time to actually writing. Allocate the rest of the time to studying craft, answering email, maintaining financial records, reading for critique partners or reading fiction books. If you have a really limited amount of time on weekdays, say thirty minutes or an hour, but more time on the weekends, then devote all your weekday time to writing and use the extra weekend hours to catch up on the business end of things.

Figure out when you are your sharpest creatively and work on your rough draft then. If you’re a morning person, then first thing in the morning is probably the best time to pound out the scenes. If you work a full-time job or have young children, set your alarm for an hour earlier to get some pages done before you leave for work or have to tend to children. If you’re a night owl, then get your household settled for the night and fire up your imagination until it fires no longer.

Don’t save all your rough draft writing for a single day or weekend. Many writers assume that if they had a whole weekend or a whole day, they can put in eight or ten hours of writing and accomplish as much as if they’d written daily, but that’s usually not the case. The reality is that after a certain amount of time, the creative mind shuts down and refuses to work any longer. The best way to ensure continued progress on your manuscript is to write every day, even if you only have thirty minutes to spare.

Prioritize your writing along with your other responsibilities. Neglecting your family is probably not a good idea, but you do need to set boundaries with household members concerning your writing time. Also, if you can let some things go around the house, then do it in order to write. No one ever had “she had a clean house on their tombstone.” If you don’t vacuum every single day the world will probably not spin off its axis.

Respect your writing time. It does no good to schedule writing time and put your family on notice then skip writing in favor of something simpler or more fun. Your family will only respect your writing as much as you do. Show your spouse and children your determination and work ethic by sticking to your scheduled writing time. That way, when you do skip a writing session in favor of a family outing, your family will appreciate your sacrifice.

Now, get to writing!

© Copyright 2010 Jana DeLeon All rights reserved

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