One critical thing I’ve noticed about writing – time attempts to infringe in nearly every area of your writing life. I know all about time management. I used to manage corporate retail businesses where certain jobs had to be completed within extraordinary time frames. Writing appears to blur time. I cannot say how often I have said I did not have time to blog. For that matter, this same statement has been said to me so many times by other writers the ‘time-monster’ crops up everywhere.
As writers, we do not truly live under a writing curse, we actually create the curse ourselves. In these past few months of writing diligently, I have noted the actual writing time required is minimal. In four hours time, if I truly wrote a solid four hours, I could knock out 6000 to 8000 words a day. I still have twenty hours to sleep and handle all the other chores on the business list.
Those numbers stare at me like some gaudy Christmas tree bauble. Heck, at those numbers what could I accomplish in a week? Amazing flights of fancy, insightful blogs, crafted short stories, poems to toy with readers’ hearts? Absolutely. That finicky entity we call time, though, sneaks around and loses itself in emails, Facebook, contemplation, household chores, distractions, and numerous other venues that take me away from what I desire to accomplish with respect to writing.
Writing absolutely requires time to think, to mull over ideas and concepts, sometimes simply to recharge. My observation, and I won’t accuse you, dear reader, but myself, my observation reveals I waste a ton of time. I need a balance between actual writing time and thinking time and leisure time and house time. This calls for that nasty word to many of us – discipline.
Writing will trap you into thinking you have no time. I have learned that I have time for those activities on which I place a high priority. Too often as writers we belittle our calling and allow other activities to take precedence. When we take writing on as a vocation, we must understand we have entered a business environment. This fact dictates a certain level of discipline.
For this blog I gave myself 15 minutes to complete. I received a call from my business coach (I highly recommend you get one if you are serious about writing…) at the thirteen minute mark. The call lasted three minutes. I now set the ‘stopwatch’ feature running on my iPhone to determine how long it takes me to kick out my blogs. My fifteen minute guesstimate fell short, so now I have a better idea of how long it takes for me to compose my blog.
As I wind this down, I would like you to consider doing the same thing. Begin timing your actual writing to get a good feel for how long it takes to knock out a particular activity. Once I finish with the text here, I still must set up links, add a pic (virtually a must for blogs these days), and promote the post on my social media. At this point, not counting the phone call, I have put twenty minutes into this writing.
I estimate another five minutes to handle the links and pic and promo stuff. From this point forward, I will allow myself thirty minutes to complete my blogs. I will allow twenty-five minutes to write and five minutes for the links, pics, and promo. One small step on the way to good writing time management.
(Unfortunately, a bathroom break and a thirty five minute search for a pic caused this blog to go way over the time limits I set. Fortunately, my next project, a post to my serial fiction story on Fiction’s Footsteps only took me nineteen minutes to complete…)