Time Management For Writers
The dream: you sit down in your beautiful office, your favorite beverage of choice close to hand. Soft music plays in the background and a scented candle fills the air with your favorite perfume. You open your laptop and the words flow. You lose track of time as your story unfolds. Hours later, you emerge from a trance, thrilled with the day's work.
The reality: you carve out a few hours to devote to writing and just as you sit down to work, the school calls to inform you that your child has the flu and is projectile vomiting in the office. The Fed-Ex man arrives with a package, the cat delivers a dead mouse to the doorstep, your mother calls, and you realize that if you don't do laundry right now you will have to go naked for the rest of the week. And then your favorite episode of Castle is on and you really can't miss it!
Finding time to write around the demands of family, home and day jobs is a challenge every writer faces. After 17 years as a full-time writer, I've developed a few tips and techniques to help you make the most of the time you have to write.
1. Take Inventory. Borrow a technique from successful dieters and spend a few days to a week tracking your time. Write down what you do all day in 30 minute blocks. Analyze the results and identify places where you're wasting time and vow to avoid these traps in the future.
2. Eliminate and delegate. Get rid of activities you can live without. Cut out the volunteer job you hate. Give the kids or your husband a chore that will free you up for writing time. Get rid of the clutter to make cleaning house easier or better yet -- lower your standards for house cleaning.
3. Carve out writing time. You've probably heard this one -- get up an hour earlier. Go to bed an hour later. Give up watching one show each evening and use that time to write instead.
4. Set a schedule and keep it. When you commit to an exercise program, trainers advise you to schedule a time and place to exercise and commit to doing it every day for at least six weeks. Do the same with your writing.
5. Make your writing portable. Carry a notebook with you everywhere. Write while your kids are at sports practice. Write on your lunch hour at your day job. Write before and after work, while you ride the bus on your commute, or anywhere you have a block of 10 to 30 minutes. It's not the ideal fantasy, but you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
I hope these tips will help you find more time to create the great stories that are inside you, waiting to be written.
Cindi Myers is the author of more than 50 novels, including The View From Here. Find out more at www.CindiMyers.com