Monday, March 2, 2015
Staying on Task-Time Management for Writers
Staying on task is not exactly easy to do, especially for writers. We have, at any given time, several different story lines running through our heads, which include plot points, scenes, character development; ooh I'll add that new twist I thought of as I was falling asleep last night that will make my story that much more interesting.
At the same time we are thinking about our next blog post, possible topics to discuss, how to get more interaction on the blog with readers; ooh I can do a poll and see what readers are looking for in the blogs they follow.
There is also the social media aspect of if it all. I need to post at least once a day to my Facebook author page, interact with any commentators, update my Twitter status and interact with my fellow Tweethearts, check in with my Google+ crew and make sure I'm commenting and sharing as much as possible. Try not to get sucked into Pinterest; ooh there is a Twitter chat tonight on editing I can't miss.
We are always reading, for pleasure, ARCs, beta reading, research; ooh I need to check in on Goodreads and update my reviews of the last three books I read this week. Must review all books and set a good example for other readers out there.
We belong to writing groups online and maybe in person; ooh I need to check in with the Writing Wenches and catch up on assignments and today's headlines, then with Alliance and see what great new resources are listed, then with 10 Minute Novelists to see what talks are coming up, and World Literary Café still has so many resources I have yet to explore.
Now I have twenty minutes to myself; my spouse is in the shower and the kids are in bed, and now you want me to sit down and write?
How in the name of all that is Jane Austen am I supposed to do that?
I spend way more time doing all of the above, which is all to support my writing career, than actually writing or putting word count in on my WIP.
It's hard. Really hard.
Most writers have heard of Nano Wrimo, it's a month long writing sprint to help writers try and meet a word count goal. Many use it to get whole first drafts done on books they are writing. I haven't been able to commit yet. However, one of the fabulous Writing Wenches, Michele, came up with Wencho Wrimo for February to try and keep us all on task and actually get words down on paper. It has been a great motivator. Many of us are using the subgroup to keep track of our daily word counts. Some of the wenches have put in word counts worthy of full length books. I've put in about 8300 words on my summer anthology WIP.
My advice is, when you're in a groove, and the words are flowing, try really hard to stay in the chair and keep writing until it is absolutely necessary for you to move. Turn off all your apps and social sites and only leave your word doc whatever software program you use open. Do not check email, do not glance at your phone when the next Twitter or Facebook status notification hits. Stay and write until you can no longer. You can check your networks once you are done. Keep the TV off. Music tends to help writers focus and block out the rest of the world, so consider putting in your ear buds. Make sure you have a beverage next to you so there is no excuse to get up, and let your family know you're in the zone and can't be disturbed. If you have an office, get a do not disturb sign and hang it on the doorknob. In my case, my family knows when I'm at my laptop with my ear buds in, do not disturb me unless someone has fallen and they can't get up. Keep the distractions to a minimum.
We are not machines. If you are able to write everyday, I applaud you. Honestly, I cannot. I have to spread out my time and take advantage of the word flow when it hits. I'm usually too busy getting my next three blog posts scheduled and all my social networking done in order to sit down and write every day. That is just fact. If I didn't have a day job, things may be different.
Do you have advice for helping writers stay on task? What works for you? Please share your comments below. Thanks for reading.
You can find me and all my links on my website at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com