By Tia Moreen /Writers, like everybody else, start every year with New Year’s resolutions.
I can guess that one of your resolutions this January was to get more writing done than you did last year. However, you probably made this resolution last year and it only worked for the first two or so weeks of the year before you went back to your old ways. The real truth behind this is that you were making a resolution based on advice that may work for everybody else…except writers.
Most of the advice we get on time management as writers is meant for people in regular jobs. Those who have to go to a certain building, attend a meeting, answer emails and phone calls, and that kind of stuff. It is certainly not aimed at those who spend their days writing. The reason why this advice really never works is that it does not take into account that as a writer you rely on creative energy to do your work. It does not consider your need for constant rejuvenation.
This article discusses time management with the needs of writers in mind. Check out the following five rules we have come up with and see how they work for you.
#1 Use Your Writing Time For Writing
As writers, we have different amounts of time available for our writing. Some people do it on a daily basis where others do it on a part-time basis. But whatever the case is, when you have set aside a time for writing, you have to make the most of it.
Once you have been given your writing assignment, you have to consider the amount of time you have for doing the task. The very first thing you need to do is to get yourself accustomed to the ideas you will be writing about. You do this through research. Create a plan of how you will go about doing the task. Identify the quotes that speak to your task and get the first draft out. This will give you a good direction.
I learned to manage my time in this manner early in my writing life when I first got an opportunity writing essays for college students while I worked for paper writing service. Now, in this kind of work, I have to keep deadlines as my own clients have their own deadlines to hand in the essays to their professors. I had to fit into those deadlines myself. I would typically reserve two hours to do the first draft of the essay. If I got on with the writing, this would usually be done in less time than this. However, on some days I would attempt to do this while also chatting online with my mother. I noticed that when this happened I needed four hours to do the very same work because I would be distracted often and my flow would be disturbed.
What I learned from this is that I should minimize distractions. The internet is a big culprit here, so I turn it off. When I do this, I surprise myself with the amount of work I can do.
#2 Manage Interruptions
As writers, we work in environments that generally present more interactions than other types of work. Personally, I have my office at home. Sometimes I sit down to write and before I have written the first word, the doorbell rings. If it is not the doorbell it’s the phone and if it is not the phone it is one of my kids who wants to be dropped off at the local mall. Even just brief interruptions like getting the dog out of the house can have a devastating impact on your flow and if these interruptions are longer, they can end up taking charge of your writing sessions.
Even though you may not have your own office, it is your duty to ensure that you manage interruptions. Work with what you have. Use other people to protect your time. For example, ask someone to attend to the needs of the children while you write. If the kids are much older, teach them to solve their own issues such as making meals and driving themselves to the shops.
#3 Do Other Things That You Like
I know that you are a writer because you love to write, but my advice will be to do other things you like. If you try to use all your free time for writing, you are on a sure path to burnout. Decide beforehand how you are going to have your downtime. This could involve walking the dog, chatting with a friend or watching your favorite show on television. This should never be treated as a nice to have, it should actually be a priority. If you do not do this, you will notice that every time when you sit down to write, you are often tired and distracted. The urge to give up may end up taking over and you will end up with nothing done.
I usually advise people to reserve time during the day for doing something that allows them to rest. It is best that you reserve this time for the last part of your day. For example, you may want to use the last 30 minutes of your day to do some light reading in bed. Make this something you look forward to and use it to help you unwind after a demanding day.
#4 Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance
Time management and planning are two sides of the same coin. The need for planning is usually more pressing if you have the kind of deadlines I had during my time working for the essay writing services company. I noticed that when I planned properly, the need to edit was often minimal. After a planning session, I knew that the direction I was taking was the right one. When I was still new to writing, I often realized that I would start a project without planning and half way through the writing, I would notice that I was moving in a totally wrong direction. This meant starting afresh.
Never start a writing project without taking the time to plan. The amount of time you will need for the planning will depend on the magnitude of the task. Obviously, if the task is small you will need less time to plan than if the task is bigger. If you know your projects beforehand, the better as you are able to plan well in advance.
#5 Never Stop Learning
One thing I have noticed is that if you do not keep educating yourself, you will continue doing things the difficult way when you could easily do them in a more effective way. Have you ever struggled with doing something for months only to stumble on a solution that makes the work easier later? This is not to suggest that you stop writing until you have learned everything about writing. I am simply suggesting that you should keep looking for ways by which you could better your craft.
Every week, decide the amount of time you will dedicate to self-development. Find blog sites that help with tricks on how you can improve your craft. If you cannot find a big block of time on a weekly basis, rather find smalls chunks of time every day to develop yourself.
I hope that the tricks above will leave you with some idea on how you to manage your time as a writer. Now, that New Year’s resolution can extend a little further and you can see yourself doing more writing than you have ever done.
About the Author
Tia Moreen is a writer, entrepreneur and traveler, who was a Co-founder of EssayHub. Now she mostly works as a blog editor. Loves book-crossing and cooking.