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Writing and Time Management

by Jennie Atkins

So you want to write, but you have to hold down your dreaded day job, be super mom, or just get through your never-ending to-do list. There are days you finally drag yourself to your computer and barely squeak out a paragraph or two at best. Or you get sidetracked with e-mails, phone calls, or a hundred other things. Believe me, I understand-been there, done that, and I’m still wearing the t-shirt to prove it.

I know you’ve heard this before-you need to make time to write-every day (or as often as your schedule allows). Block out a time of day where you can work uninterrupted. Get up early, lock yourself and your computer in the bathroom (I don’t suggest this option if you only have one bathroom), or find a local coffee shop where you can work.

Time is not your enemy. I learned a long time ago to find the small items I could check off my to-do list in those fifteen minutes before I had to run to the next school function. Or, how to scope out my next scene, or do a little research, while waiting for my kids to make their way toward my car. Even now, while on my lunch break at work, I’ll make notes about my characters, scenes, or story world. All of those stolen moments of time, and scraps of paper containing my thoughts, really help when I’m finally able to sit down at my computer. Because I already have my scene in my head, I can focus on the writing process itself.

Close the door. Ignore your e-mail and Facebook. And unless someone is yelling, “Fire!” pretend the ruckus outside the door isn’t happening. Concentrate only on writing for as long as possible. When I’m really scatterbrained, I find it almost liberating to set my timer for thirty minutes and walk away when the alarm goes off. I stay focused for that short amount of time and get more done than I would have otherwise. It also helps the family huddled outside my door, feigning death by starvation, to know I’ll only be out of their sight for a short amount of time.

Finally, take time for yourself. Writing involves imagination, but oftentimes inspiration is choked out by the craziness of the day. Find quiet time spiritually, mentally, and physically. As a result, you will walk away more refreshed and energized. I am frequently surprised to learn that my brain has never stopped processing during those times and it shows in my fresh approach to the scene I’m working on.

The key is to not let your writing time become too mundane, because so will your writing. Think of creative ways you can use your time, energy, and resources to energize your writing and fit it into your daily schedule.

JennieAtkins-sJennie Atkins writes contemporary romance from her home located just outside of Carson City, Nevada. During the day, Jennie manages a team of software engineers. Along with writing, Jennie loves to garden, sew, or go four-wheeling with her husband of almost forty years. Jennie has four children and two grandchildren.

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6 Responses to Writing and Time Management

  1. Great to see you there, Jennie, and well-done. I know this is the beginning of many w/ good things to follow. Thanks for some tips that are sounding better to me all the time–like the 30 min. timer :)

  2. Oh, Jennie, this is so true! And the 30-minute timer is a great idea.

  3. Jennie you are so right. I sooooo needed this post. Thank you!

  4. Sally Shupe says:

    Loved this post!! Very informative as I start writing. Thanks for the tips!

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