Inspiration Station: Time Management

IS Time Management

As a writer, time management is an important skill to have. There are deadlines to meet whether they’re from a publisher, agent, contest, or just personal.

If we’ve learned anything about writing over the past few years it’s that you need a good routine or schedule to accompany your writing. That’s where the time management skills come in.

It’s to help you keep writing on a regular basis; meet those deadlines, improve on your writing, finish that novel!

How can you manage your time effectively? There are many ways.

1. Set a timer.

When I write, I sometimes set a timer and try to write as much as I can in that set amount of time. If I have other things to do that day, I can set a timer for an hour. When that hour is over, I can officially say that I got some writing done. I won’t feel obligated to go back to it until the following day.

2. Set daily goals.

My goals include writing for two hours a day or write 2,000 words a day; whichever comes first. If time allows, I’ll write more words or write for a longer amount of time. If you want to write for two hours a day, you need to manage your time wisely and organize your day a bit so you can fit in those two hours every day.

3. Make a to-do list.

This can go along with number two, set daily goals. Every night before I go to bed I write a to-do list of things I want to get done the next day. I can complete the tasks in any order I want, just as long as they’re all crossed off by the end of the day.

4. Reward yourself.

Hit your daily goal? Did you write for a full two hours or write the entire time the timer was on? Reward yourself with something. It can be as little as eating a piece of chocolate or as big as buying yourself a new video game (that’s what I usually do when I win NaNoWriMo). The reward can vary depending on how little or how much you get done.

5. Stay focused.

Do people keep texting you while you’re trying to work? Do you have your favorite TV show on in the background? Turn it all off. Get rid of all the distractions. Every time you pick up your phone to answer a text, you’re wasting precious writing time. I know some people need noise to help them focus; I usually listen to instrumental music. That way I can’t sing along and get distracted by the lyrics.

6. Find out when you work best.

Are you a morning person? Night owl? Pin-point the time you’re most awake, most alert, and most productive in your day. I guarantee you will get a lot more done if you work at your certain time of day. For me, I work better in the morning. I wake up extra early just to write before I go to my day job. Because who’s not tired upon coming home from their job?

The more you manage your time, the more organized you will be. The more organized you are, the more you’ll get done.

How do you manage your time and write effectively?

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Deadlines

What is a deadline?

A deadline is a date and/or time when something should be completed by. This something could be anything; homework, a story being sent to a publisher, or maybe a blog post that needs to be made public to the world.

Who makes the deadlines?

In the writing world, if you’re submitting to a contest or sending something to a publisher, then they most likely make the rules and deadlines. If you’re writing for yourself and trying to keep yourself on a schedule, then you make the deadlines.

How effective are deadlines?

Are you a procrastinator? If yes, then deadlines are certainly good for you. That means you’ll get it done eventually–mostly sooner rather than later.

Do you think deadlines are a good idea?

Yes. I love deadlines. I make myself deadlines for everything. I create a daily to do list every morning when I wake up. Deadlines are challenges and I’m always up for a good challenge. Seriously though, I use deadlines all the time for my writing and editing. I usually give myself a month at the most. If I can write 50k in a month for NaNo, I can do that for any month.

How often do you meet your deadlines?

Next question.

What skills do you need in order to complete deadlines on time?

Time management. I think the key to sticking with your deadlines–personal deadlines or work ones–is to have a routine and stick with it. That way your brain will know what to do and when. You’ll get it done without even realizing.

What deadlines do you have coming up?

Well, I whipped this blog post up first thing this morning because I forgot to write it last night. It totally didn’t come out the way I planned, but… oh well.

I also have to submit a story to my writers group… due today. In my defense, I edited the story last night and didn’t send it because I wanted to give it one last look over, but I was going cross-eyed.

I also wanted to have my 50k for Camp NaNo written for today as that would have been a new record for me. I have 15k more to write, though. I want to see how much I can write today and tomorrow as I’m itching to get back to work on George Florence again. Although I have to admit, Hunter is coming out pretty well.

What writing deadlines do you have for yourself? Do you stick with them? Do the deadlines help you or just stress you out?

Deadlines
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Time Management

Today was the first day of work. With school already started, my writing on-going, and sunday school starting up in two weeks, it’s time l start managing my time.

I was happy to go to work this morning, but it still would have been nice to have an extra week (or five) of summer. I got lot done this summer with my writing and l would like that to continue. With work, sunday school planning, and homework in the mix it’s going to be a lot tougher.

I know a lot of writers set aside a certain time each day to get their writing done. It may be an hour in the morning, it may be an hour and a half in the evening, whatever. Some try to write a certain amount of pages a day and others write a certain amount of words each day.

I’ve tried writing ten pages a day a long time ago and it didn’t last long. I tried 5,000 words a day and it worked up until a new school semester started. So, l tried 2,000 words a day and that worked for a while, but it didn’t last. This time, l’m going to try to work for an hour each day and whatever l get done in that hour is what l get done.

I work better in the morning so l figured l should do it before work. I have to be at work by 8 and l also have to drive my cousin to school and she has to be there by 8. So l’m leaving my house a little earlier than normal. So when would l fit in this hour of writing and still have enough time to get myself ready and leave on time?

Yes, l set my alarm for 5 in the morning allowing myself a half hour to roll out of bed, get dressed, and make a cup of coffee. Then from 5:30-6:30 l wrote. I typed up the edited draft of Detective Florence. I got ten pages done, which was what l wanted to get done.

I then had an hour to eat breakfast, brush my teeth, get my stuff ready for work, etc. I’m writing this post now to kill some time before l have to leave. So, needless to say, it worked.

While l would like to get more than an hour of writing done each day, this will do for now. After work today l have to babysit (which means l won’t get home until after 5 tonight) and then l’ll have to do some homework. So at least l can say l got my writing done which, to me, is the most important.

Let’s hope the routine lasts for me. I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to produce a habit… l don’t know if that’s true, but l’m going to pretend it is.