In the past I’ve written some about how I’ve organized my week. Since this is the first week of the new year, it might be pertinent to talk a bit about organization in our writing life. I’m often asked how I get so much done. It’s simple. I plan ahead. Every week is scheduled to fit what I have to do.
Since everyone’s days are different, it’s important first to sit down and consider what you want to get done each day and week. If you’re working on a novel or short stories, then you want to have a large block of time each day. If you have books coming out then you need time to work on promoting both online and out there with the public. Say, like me, you have a deadline on a column each week, that must be penciled in.
My schedule looks something like this: Monday I write my blogs and do other promotion online such as Facebook, LinkedIn, post videos, etc.; Tuesday I write one weekly column and once a month a monthly column; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I work on my WIP if I have one. If I don’t, I take care of other writing chores, like any presentations I’ve got scheduled, workshop material, etc.
Your schedule has to fit you, not me. Experts have proven that multi-tasking causes many errors and actually slows down what we accomplish, so why not make a list of everything you want to get done each day or week or month. Then divide up the hours you have to do them in so that you can concentrate on each thing until it is accomplished before going on to the next.
When I first started writing about 25 years ago my husband worked second shift, so when he left the house around 2 o’clock, I headed for my office and I worked into the night. I did this each and every day because I was serious about becoming a writer. At first I just wrote because I hadn’t made all the contacts, there was no Internet like we know it today, and all I had to do besides write was submit my work. I could pretty well get all this done every week without a problem or a schedule. But I did write every day.
Every Thursday for about 23 years I’ve attended a critique group that several of us writers in our area founded. That group thrives today and I attend almost every meeting. When I miss it’s because something to do with writing or promoting comes up. It’s this sort of discipline that helps keep my writing on the right track.
During this time I’ve had a lot of books published, both fiction and nonfiction. Many more finished manuscripts lie around that are being marketed.
As a writer, you may not have as much time to write as I do. You may have a full-time job. All the more reason for you to budget your time and stick to it. Discipline is most important. If you let anything that comes up take priority over your writing, then you’re not a writer, you’re a hobbyist. A writer friend who hasn’t gotten too far yet, told me that life too often got in the way. I told her, “If you’re a true writer, then writing is a big part of that life.”
We don’t write if nothing else happens. As serious writers, we write and let other things happen all around us without interrupting what we’re doing. There are exceptions, of course. Family cones first if there’s an emergency, but at the same time family must understand what we are doing and why, and they must give us the time to do it. As far as my husband is concerned, I’m off to work when I head for my office, and it might as well be in some distant town. He leaves me be unless there is an emergency because he’s as serious about my writing as I am.
So, this first week of the New Year, why don’t you sit down and make a workable schedule that fits you and then stick to it. You’ll be amazed at all you get done.
Thank you. I think you're the first writer I've seen include a day for blogs in the schedule. At last, someone I might be able to emulate. Well, at least I'll try. And at least you've inspired me. Thanks.
Excellent information. It is so nice to receive a map from a traveler who has already walked the road. Thank you!
I found this very inspiring! My goal currently is a simple thousand words. I'm taking the step to move beyond hobbyist. Unfortunately, my spouse is not as quick to support that but I did take the step of setting up an office with a door. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!
It's good to know that my ideas are helping someone. I think we all have to make our way and make things fit that way, but help from others is often welcome. Today, a lot of other work interfered and I'm just now getting to my blogs. But the point is, get there.