Writing Tip Wednesday: Time Management.

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.

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16 thoughts on “Writing Tip Wednesday: Time Management.

    1. Thank you. It is so important for me as well. If I don’t stick to my routine, I’ll get sucked into the internet in my spare time and not getting any writing done!

    1. I really needed to remind MYSELF of this yesterday, I got no writing done because I was on the internet. I’m pretty good most of the time but then I have the occasionally day when I slip and I hate wasting my writing time.

  1. We have a beautiful little cafe here called Milkwood. There is no internet. And as long as the cafe isn’t totally flat out, I’m always welcome to sit in the corner, drinking coffee and writing. It’s amazing how much I can get done if I do nothing but write (and drink coffee).

    I can always justify social media as important – you know, establishing the ‘online presence,’ making sure I ‘connect with my readers,’ doing a little ‘self promotion’… but the truth is that I really like places like Goodreads and other peoples’ blogs. I just love reading, commenting and chatting. Sometimes I’m too social for my own good.

    And that’s where Milkwood comes in. Two little words: NO INTERNET. What a blessing!

    1. Milkwood sounds like a wonderful place to write, and having no internet would really help the temptation.

      And yes, social media is important, I love interacting with people on their blogs and twitter etc but I can be too social for my own good as well and cut into my writing time. If I don’t write in the mornings (and I’m fortunate enough not to work during the week) before checking my emails and other social media, I’ll get carried away and cut into my writing time and then get all grumpy about it. I usually wait until lunch to go on the internet but every now and then I’ll slip up and jump on straight after dropping the kids off at school and that’s when I loose track of time.
      This post was very much for ME as everyone else.

  2. I’m with Leonie – sometimes you have to go where there is no internet! I also do this. I head down to my favourite cafe and write. Not only do I get a delicious brekkie but I write. Without the internet i.e.: distractions, I usually get a lot done 🙂

    1. This cafe idea sounds intriguing. Though I’m not sure if I could do it. I’d feel self conscious thinking people were looking at me, even though they probably aren’t, and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Glad you’ve got a good place to write.

  3. This post is brilliant! Time management, like you said, is something I think a lot of writers probably need to improve. I admit that shamelessly. 😉 I think that perhaps having a written plan or “to-do” list could help, though for someone like me, who’s a very spur-of-the-moment sort of person, sticking it that can be quite hard — and considering I have exams coming up, I’m finding that I have less and less time to write. I’m also someone who is easily stressed out by small things, too, and I find it hard to write when I’m overly worried or stressed. However I still believe that having a plan — physically, on paper or mentally, it doesn’t really matter — is very essential in effectively using your time. And then there’s the internet! Well, I usually turn it off when I’m writing. No distractions, just writing — and I find that does help a lot.

    1. Thank you 🙂

      This post was very much a reminder to myself as it was advice for other people.
      Like you, I can’t write when I’m worried or stressed either. And don’t worry about writing less around exam time. Exams are important. There will be times in your life when you have more time to write and times when you have less, as long as you still fit it in when you are busy. Not every day if it’s not possible, but regularly, even if it’s a short time a few days a week.
      And I never had a schedule when I was your age, just wrote when I felt like it, around school work. I only started a schedule when I had more things to juggle.

  4. Great post. I think sometimes we get so caught up with everything else that we forget why we are here in the first place (I’m talking about writing not life in general). I love the note you’ve made of making writing you priority; it’s something I’m not very good at and I’m working on changing that!

    1. This post was very much for myself as advice to others. And I highly believe in prioritizing writing because if you don’t it’s so easy to let other things get in the way. Glad to hear you’re working on prioritizing your writing. I know the common advice is to write everyday, but I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary. It depends on your situation and how much spare time you have. You need to do what’s best for you but try and work out something regular so you get into a good habit.

    1. I haven’t really found that, but I guess I haven’t really spent a significant amount of time away from the internet. A week tops, but then I still check my emails.

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