Time Management Tips for Aspiring Writers

Perhaps the biggest challenge even the most experienced writers face is making an efficient use of their time. If you are running a one-man-show in which you are responsible to carry out the writing as well as publishing, marketing and editing of your work, managing time for you can become an issue.

But all of that is going to change hopefully, as here we offer some great advice on how to manage your time in a better manner to achieve more in less and hopefully get your book or novel finished in time.

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Find your “writing spot”

Find your “writing spot”

The first step to better manage your time as a writer is to find a spot where writing comes to you naturally. Yes, a spot that can solely be dedicated for the purpose. The perfect spot will be the one where you don’t feel distracted or uncomfortable. It could either be a separate workstation in the guest room or a cornered den in your living room or under the stairs like Harry Potter. If home is not where you feel those writing vibes, you can take your laptop and find yourself a seat in a local library or a park not too crowded.

Work when there are fewer distractions around

Work when there are fewer distractions around

If you believe choosing to write at Starbucks during rush hours is the best place to write a novel, we would recommend you to think again. No matter as appealing as that may seem, you will also be distracted from time to time with noisy customers in the line, fight over spilled coffee, wrong orders or just some constant chit chat that doesn’t stop for even a second. Your plan was to manage time better, remember? But all this seems like the opposite.

No denying, it works for some people, but if this is your first attempt, we say you choose to work in a place and at a time when there are less people around so you can concentrate better. When your mind has a single idea to work upon rather than ten others, it functions better. What can be classified as a perfect time then? May be early in the morning or really late at night when the world is calm and quiet,  when you know you will not be distracted by a friend’s phone call, text message or Snapchat, when you know there will be no one ringing the bell or no kids running into your work station drawing little sceneries on your freshly printed papers.

Set your goals right

Set your goals right

Setting objectives will help you stay on track and also manage your time properly.  These goals can be set daily, weekly or monthly. You can break down these goals into hourly slots everyday to set an achievable target for yourself.

Set a timer

Set a timer

Timers are a great way to keep track of yourself when writing. Not only do they save time, they also keep you motivated to finish off whatever task you have assigned yourself before the final beeper. You can either use an egg timer or set one online and try to finish more than you had planned. Not only will you feel more accomplished you will also end up making efficient use of your time. Once done, you can take a 15-minute break and then continue from where you left off.

Build an outline

Build an outline

A great way to make use of time at hand is to make a detailed or rough outline (whichever works for you) so you can have an idea what needs to be done and how much time will each task take. Similar to making a to-do list, this list will offer detailed accounts of chapters, sub headings, things to be discussed in each chapter, plot etc. in case you are working on a novel. Believe us; it will save you a lot of time when you have clear direction ahead of you.

Make to-do lists

Make to-do lists

You cannot deny the utter satisfaction of crossing something off your to-do-list. Well, isn’t that the purpose of a to-do list in the first place? Yes, they can be intimidating as well when you have a lot of stuff that you haven’t even begun working on. Many famous writers swear by such lists as they believe they have helped them achieve their short-term goals with ease. Not only do those ten chores on the list keep ringing in your head like the fire alarm, they also help you stay motivated to tick them all off in time. Once done, no one can stop you from having that Ben n Jerry’s cookies and cream ice cream to celebrate.

Keep yourself well-equipped

Keep yourself well-equipped

What are the essentials a writer needs to carry along at all times? A pen and a notebook. The reason they have been marked as essentials is because you never know when you might see or observe something worth telling a story about. Even the most basic of things can trigger an idea and when it does, you better have a pen and paper to write it down. It could be anything from a story plot, some unique characteristic you might want your lead character to exhibit, or a social issue or theme you want to base your book on. This will save you from all the brainstorming sessions you deliberately put your mind to go through and you can just get on with polishing the idea and developing a story around it.

Email yourself ideas on the go

Email yourself ideas on the go

But there will also be times when you won’t have the assistance of a pen or a paper (we know, not the very best of circumstances for a writer) when a brilliant idea just pops right into your head. The kind of idea, you just can’t take lightly. You have to pen it down for future reference. But no pen, remember? Email it to yourself instantly. Without giving it a second thought or telling yourself “no need to write it down, it’s not like I’ll forget it”, please email yourself the idea. you may not need to work on it anytime soon, but who knows after some time when you run out of ideas, you check your email and see it right there on your screen in front of your eyes, an idea for a story! Imagine all the time you will be saving just to have an idea to work upon. Do this, and you will thank us later!

Eat the “frog” first

Eat the “frog” first

You may have some writers refer to it as “eating the frog”. What does it mean? To start with the stuff you have most dreaded to do and once you get it out of the way, move on from there. Getting the hardest thing done first offers psychological satisfaction and also a boost to continue to move forward when you know you have accomplished the hardest; the easy becomes even more easier and relaxing.

Work when you feel like it

Work when you feel like it

Another best way to mange time efficiently is to write when you feel most like writing. Don’t force yourself to write when you don’t feel like it because no good will come from that. Pick a time of the day when you feel most energized and alive, let’s say somewhere in the afternoon or early morning after that freshly brewed heavenly mug of coffee. Not only will you feel less burdened and not consider it like a chore, you will also enjoy it when you are able to finish of 1,500 words in 2-3 hours straight when you had to do just 500 per day.

Stop obsessing

Stop obsessing

Many writers suffer from perfectionism. They want to create a script that reaches perfection and if it doesn’t it gets discarded. They don’t care how much time they are wasting just to come up with a creative intro for their writing. What should be done instead is to refine all those ideas and hone them to perfection instead of discarding them. If you will keep obsessing and wasting time to allow the perfect one to occur, even when you do get it, you won’t feel satisfied, not to mention the lost time in the process.

Making Use of waiting rooms and grocery lines

Making use of waiting rooms and grocery lines

Why waste all that time you could be utilizing to polish an unedited draft? There are plenty of such opportunities you get when you have nothing else to do but wait such as in the queue at the grocery store, waiting on your kids when picking them up from their school or waiting outside while your little ones attends her dance lessons. Instead of sitting around and doing nothing, you can simply work on your laptop and see if any unfinished draft needs to be completed or any piece of writing needs proofing.

Treat yourself over little accomplishments

Treat yourself over little accomplishments

Who doesn’t like to be rewarded? Everyone does, especially if there is chocolate involved. Such little rewards help writers stay motivated and at times are the only reason to finish a task if things like a glass of wine or steak is on the reward menu. The point is you get the job done utilizing your time efficiently and for that sure, you deserve to be treated!

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