Time is a precious commodity – especially for writers. It is not very often that we can support ourselves from our writing, which means that we are working a 9-5 “somewhere”, taking care of life’s little necessities (like grocery shopping, doing laundry, cleaning house and paying bills), and trying to fit writing into the “odd moments”.
I am lucky in one respect – I live alone (with my cat, Roger), so no one but Roger has dibs on my time and attention. The problem is that I can seldom say no to a writing opportunity, so I invariably have multiple projects going on: my author’s blog on Monday, flash fiction when I remember, keeping up my Tarot blog, keeping up with Social Media sites (Twitter, Face Book and Linked In), taming my RSS feed , writing deck and book reviews … the list is endless.
What I found works for me is if I have a daily to-do list written out, so that I can check things of as I go along. I do my main writing at night (if I am not too tired after working on the phone line), or during the day, before I go on the phone line. Set time (i.e. 2 am – 4 am Tarot blog) don’t work for me. I know what is due, and when, and I have to keep things mixed up, as in a beautiful tossed salad, so that I don’t get bored.
As of June, I cut back on my outside writing. I loved doing the writing, but I needed to place my focus elsewhere. It was a hard decision, but it is done. I now have the time to map out a plan for promoting my book that is due out in September, write my second Tarot book and finish the mystery book that I started during NaNoWriMo 2010, and have it edited.
Things that I do to help me make best use of my time are:
- Write out my projects and project goals a week in advance.
- At the beginning of each day, look at what I want to get done, and prioritise it.
- If something doesn’t get done, I don’t automatically bump it into the next day. I look at how important it is, at what else I am doing, and at where I will reasonably have the time to finish it.
- I do small amounts of research between projects – or in the middle of a project, so that it acts as a break. (Cappie here – work is my normal mode of being!)
- When I am writing, and it is flowing, I allow it to extend to a normal breaking point. Then I look at what I have left to do on that day, and what I may have to move to another time, or remove entirely.
- I may use a quick drop in on one of my social media site as a form of break – but I consciously limit that break time to no more than 10-15 minutes.
- I check in on how I am feeling. If I am feeling stressed, I stand up and move around. At the end of the day I may reward myself with a piece of chocolate and a glass of one. One each – I don’t need to go crazy here!
- I try to be understanding – sometimes my schedule goes completely out the window due to one of life’s little occurrences. Believe it or not – I am beginning to flow with this!
- At the end of each day, I glance over my to-do list for the next day. This is one way that I keep my so called sanity.
- I try to control as much as I can, in as graceful and responsible way as I can. So far, so good!
© June 2011 Bonnie Cehovet