I am terrible at time management, and I think time management is an area that a lot of writers aren’t great at and wish to do better in. I have to write out a daily schedule for myself or things just don’t get done. I have to list everything or you can forget about it because I certainly will.
Take this post, for example, it’s a writing tip ‘Wednesday’ post, which means it needs to be posted on Wednesday. Yet at 10pm I still had no idea what I was going to do this post on.
I was browsing my wordpress reader and came across the latest publishing crawl article. It was called ‘Writing and Time Management’ and I thought ‘yes, that’s perfect’.
It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it sparked the idea for this post.
YA author Jodi Meadows shared her sure fire way to get writing done:
8 hours — sleep
2 hours — email
2 hours — Twitter/other social media
1 hour — lunch/TV
1 hour — email (again!)
1 hour — researching something that will affect only one sentence out of the entire novel, like what type of trees grow where
30 minutes — Twitter/other social media
1 hour — trying to find the perfect font
30 minutes — think about sleeping
2 hours — nap
2 hours — try to figure out what that word was that I couldn’t think of earlier
1 hour — dinner/TV
2 hours — realize that no writing will get done today unless I squeak out a few words right now
She does have a little disclaimer down the bottom stating this may be a lie, or some parts may be true.
I realize this is an exaggeration but I think she makes her point clear: the internet will suck away at your time if you let it and you won’t get any writing done.
I have good days and I have bad. If I stick to my schedule I can get in 3-4 hours of writing done (I don’t stick to my schedule as often as I should). If I don’t, I can get 0 done. I like to get at least an hour of writing done a day or I don’t feel happy.
But why don’t I get any or little writing done on these bad days? The internet. Mainly. Sometimes it’s appointments, but mainly it’s the internet.
I can easily spend 5 hours a day on the internet – visiting blogs, answering emails, blogging. Imagine how much I could have gotten done if I spent that time writing.
I’m not saying to band the internet or anything. Emails need answering and building an author platform is important, but there needs to be balance because there is no use having an author platform if you are never going to be author because you never write because you are always on the internet.
Everybody’s situation is different, but I’m a big believer in routine, so you need to find a routine that works for you and to stick to it. Put writing time into your schedule and then make sure you write during that time. Be flexible when you need to, but don’t let less important things take away from your writing time. Prioritize your writing time.
Some days I really need to remember this.
The internet is a sweet siren, put those ear plugs in, and if you can, write first and deal with your emails and blog etc second. This has been the biggest thing that has helped me get more writing done. On the days I slip and check my emails before I start writing, I blink and two hours have gone past and so has all my writing time.
Write in the early hours of the morning, write late at night, write during the day, write on the train or on your lunch break. Wherever, whenever, just make sure you do, and don’t let the things like the internet steal your time. It’s the only way you’ll ever get your novel done.