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Time Management for Writers with Aubrey Hirsch
PWP Roundtable 7.11.13

Key Strategies:

1. Identify the problem(s)

  • What are the things that take you away from your writing? Is it your job? Keeping up your home? Learn what the things are that fill up your time the most.
  • Record what you do with your time - you'd be surprised how much time you use up not doing anything!

2. Make your writing a priority

  • Try to make a list of your priorities. Even if writing isn't #1, that's okay. Just recognize that it can be more important than other things, so when you're trying to figure out what to do, look at your list and say "Writing is more important than x."
  • Let your family/friends know it's a priority. If you give your writing respect, others will too.

3. Learn what kind of writer you are

  • What's your most productive time of day? Do you write best at the crack of dawn? How about at midnight? After lunch? Know what time works best for you, and try to write then.
  • Do you need time to plan before you start a draft? That counts as writing time!
  • Do you need a big block of time, or smaller spaces of time to write in?
  • Do you like to work on one project, or many?
  • Do you need time between drafts and editing?
  • All of these things "count" as writing time - the whole process.

4. Set realistic goals

  • Writing is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • If you can write 1,000 words a day, do that. If it's too much, try 500 a day.

5. Write on a schedule

  • It's the best way to get writing done.
  • Make sure to write every day, but if you can't, then every other day; or on the weekends. Make time.
  • If you feel you can only write when you're in the "creative headspace," then do things to "trigger" it: wear a favorite sweatshirt, use a certain playlist if you write with music, use the same physical space.

6. Eliminate excuses

  • What are the most common excuses you give for not writing?
  • If you're not in the "creative headspace," then use that time for revision, research, etc.

7. Accept failures

  • Don't let guilt stop you from writing
  • If you miss a day or a writing session, let it go and start again. Don't make up for lost time, just get back on the horse.
  • If you write something not good, not to worry - just view it as getting out the junk to make room for the good things.

8. Celebrate successes

  • Brag! Celebrate the small stuff. If you had a goal for writing 1,000 words and you did it, be happy! Don't save successes for just the big events like publication.
  • Find a reward system that works for you - it could be something big or small.

Other resources:

www.freewritingadvice.com
www.learntowritefiction.com/time-management-for-writers/
www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/success/time.html

Up Next: How to Get Your Book on a Bookshelf with Paul Kelly, publisher with St. Lynn's Press - 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, August 8 at the Greentree Public Library

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