Monday, April 22, 2013

Time Management

A writer's life is a busy one. Even if you're published, most writer's don't make enough to quit their day jobs. Plus, we still want to see our family and friends now and then, and, if we have kids, that takes up even more time. So, how does one squeeze writing time into an already busy day?

Honestly, this is a very personal question, and it's going to have a personal answer. It all depends on what's going on in your life. That said, regardless of what's going on, in order to fit writing into your life, you need to plan ahead. This might not sit well with you pantsers out there, but I don't see any other way of doing it.

To get started, sit down and write out your typical week. When do you work? When is family time? When is regular household maintenance time (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc)? When are you free? How much time do you spend watching TV?

Once you have a handle on all this, you can begin to carve out your writing time. Do you have a couple days a week when you can write during your lunch hour? What about while you're waiting on laundry? Is there an evening or two that you can set aside for writing? Or what about getting up early a couple days a week? If you're home with kids, definitely make use of nap times as much as possible, or while the kids are away at school.

The best thing I ever did was to create a writing schedule, put it in my calendar, and then not let anything other than emergencies take it over. I sometimes had trouble doing this, so I started meeting up with another writer. We sit together and write, and, since we've made a commitment to each other, we don't let other things get in the way. I've been doing this for the past six or so years, and it has served me well.

Once you get used to this process, you can use it for many things. Like reading. As writers, we need to read anything and everything. I think reading is as important as writing, so I read every night before going to bed--that's where I get the bulk of my reading done. I will also allot some of my writing time to reading, especially if I've just completed a draft. Basically, during my allotted writing time, I am either reading or writing. It's the best way I've found to get so much done.

What do you do to fit writing into your day? When do you usually read?


Tabitha said...

Sarah, sorry your comment got deleted. I was trying out the new Google Comments feature on my blog, and I hate it. So I reverted back to regular comments, but unfortunately your comment got deleted in the process. :(

Anyway, to what you said: "Naptime is a blessing for getting business work done. I do my best writing at night when everyone else is in bed. :)"

I found the same thing to be true when my kids were still napping. Unfortunately, my oldest never napped much. He stopped napping at age 2, and before that he'd only sleep for 30 minutes. It made it impossible to get anything done. My youngest, though, slept really well. So when the oldest was old enough to attend preschool, I got lots done while the youngest was napping. :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Great article. I make a schedule each week, too. Don't always stay with it, things come up, but I try. Most of my writing is done in the morning. Afternoons are forpromo, blogging, stuff like that.

I have no children at home so that helps. However, I'm caregiver for my husband who has lots of health problems and spend a lot of time taking him to doctor, meds, etc.

At nighttime I like to read and write my reviews. As for housecleaning. I've heard that word, somewhere. :)

Anna Staniszewski said...

I totally needed this post today! I go through phases when I'm really good at sticking to a schedule, but lately I've been all over the place. Must.Get.Organized. :-)

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