My deepest apologies for not giving you a Guilty Pleasure Monday yesterday, but unfortunately a series of computer glitches at work kept me busy for the better part of the day! Yes, I do still work and write, which made me think of Today’s Tuesday Tip – Time Management.
Yes, time does get away from us in so many ways, but the one question I hear repeated often is: “How do you find the time to write since you have a full time job and a family?”
It’s not always easy since yes, I do have a full time job, hubby and daughter not to mention other important family members and friends. Then there’s the volunteer work of hosting writing groups, workshops and doing work for my local Romance Writers chapter. Lots of time taken in various ways, but here’s what I do to make sure that I find time to write and that it doesn’t get unnecessarily hectic.
1. Make a plan. You know that old adage about those who fail to plan plan to fail? It couldn’t be more true. When I’m working on a new project, I always set a deadline for myself — a reasonable deadline. I could say I’m going to set a deadline of a week, but if I don’t meet that deadline it will be depressing and start a whole negative vibe and who needs that? Life is too short to make yourself miserable so set a reasonable goal.
2. Know your schedule. When I’m taking on a new contract or planning a new project, I always look and see not only what’s already contracted, but what obligations I have with my family (vacations, trips to school) and for my lawyer job (conferences, projects, meetings). Based on that, my agent and I schedule the new delivery dates and I plan my own completion date in advance of the real date to give myself time to read and revise.
3. Use your free time effectively. I admit it — I love being a couch potato and watching television. But I’ve always been able to watch TV and do other things. In fact, doing other things keeps me from falling asleep during the shows! LOL! So, I use that couch potato time to do research, update the website, check out things to do with you on the blog, put together promo materials, etc.
4. Work on your book every day. Do I do this? Almost always, although there are days I take a break here and there (although I am almost always thinking about the book I am writing or an idea for a new book). I normally write every day on the train ride to and from work and on the weekends, I get up at 6 and put in a few hours. Sometimes I’ll write on weekend nights as well depending on my plan and the schedule.
5. Give yourself some time off. Yes, I know that sounds inconsistent give 1 through 4 above, but you do need time to recharge the creative juices and you will know when it’s time. When your mind says, OVERLOAD, take a day or two or even a week to get rid of all the excess stuff cluttering your brain so you can refocus and revitalize.
6. Find your peak creative time. Some people are better in the morning, others at night. Find when you are at your most creative and structure your writing time around that peak. I’ve found mornings are best for me and so I try to set aside those hours for writing.
7. Find your prime physical space. I have a desk in my office. I swear I do! Here’s a picture of it! What do you mean you can’t see it? It’s right there, behind my knapsack and promo stuff. To the right of the telescope. Buried beneath the mounds of paper and goodies I picked up at every conference I’ve been to in the last two years! The desk is a good place for keeping all my Buffy action figures (they are not dolls!!).
Seriously, though, you know where you are most comfortable and creative. Make that place your writing place. As you may guess, I don’t work at my desk often as that is not my comfort zone for writing. As I mentioned before, certified couch potato. I usually write on my laptop while snuggled beneath my favoritest Buffy comforter while in my sweats. Writing is so glamorous, isn’t it? VBG
So that’s how I do it. I know it sounds rough at times, but I’ve found that it works well for me. Just remember everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Find your peak time and place. Make a plan that won’t make you miserable and try to stick to it.
Just remember, even if you write just one page a day, at the end of a year, you’ll have written a book!