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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG - Time Management

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a once-monthly blog hop originally hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, but which now has a permanent home at the IWSG site. The idea is to provide authors with an avenue to share their doubts and concerns, and to offer one another assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Every first Wednesday of the month we gather to connect with one another and share our insecurities.

My post this month is about time and time management. When it comes time to write, I am almost as good at making excuses as I am at procrastinating. I like to tell myself the 45 minutes I have before my little guy wakes up from his nap isn't enough time to really get anything done. I have this conviction, deep in the back of my skull, that I need at least 2-3 hours of uninterrupted writing time to really get settled, fall into the flow of the story, and disconnect from the world around me.

Now, in my defense, that is partially true - the longer I have to write, the more comfortable I am . . . and the more comfortable I am, the better I think my writing is. However, as a father and a husband with a full-time day job, I may as well just give up writing altogether if I'm going to wait for time like that.

Now, when it comes to editing, it's a different story. I have no problem picking up a manuscript and working through 5-10 pages at a time while we're watching TV. As a matter of fact, I currently have 200+ pages of marked-up text sitting behind the couch, along with my treasured red pen, which I can pick up at any time.

Even with the time, however, my time management still sucks. I find I'm more likely to reach for my phone before I am the stack of paper. You know how it is. You just want to do a quick check of email, then Facebook, then Twitter, and then the news . . . by which time you had better check email again. That doesn't even begin to touch on the time I need to keep my blog up to date, to get that next review written, or to prep that interview or guest post for tomorrow.

Now, I am getting better, particularly with a hard deadline before me, but it's still a struggle to sort of retrain myself to seize the moment, to cram my writing and editing into the time available, as opposed to longing for the time I simply don't have.

How about you? What's your trick to time management when it comes to writing? Is it a rigid schedule from which you never allow yourself to deviate, or is it an ability to squeeze every second out of the day? Please share below.

5 comments:

  1. You described my writing and editing style perfectly. I prefer a long stretch of time to get writing done. But if I am to write more, I'm going to have to adjust that schedule. Let's see if I can get my brain to cooperate.

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  2. I'm not sure there's a trick. It's just a question of whether you're excited by what you have to write in that moment.

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  3. Hey Bob,

    You and I are in similar situations (at home/kids) so sadly I have no secret formula (unless it's that gross baby stuff in the fridge:)

    Your post really sounds familiar to me and I know I just need to SIT and write, because once I do, the juices will flow - if only until the end of naptime :)

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  4. Yep - this is me exactly. I always think I need gobs of time to write, and like you, I'm much more comfortably knowing that I have long stretches of uninterrupted time. I think sometimes the Internet has retrained our brains to shift constantly between one quick task to the next and has made it hard for us to focus on one task for a long amount of time. I know I've definitely noticed a difference in my attention span and focus over the last 7 years or so with the rise of Facebook and Twitter.

    I'm slowly learning that I don't need to check FB and my email very often because there's nothing earth-shattering on there that can't wait until I'm done with my creative work! Some days are better than others with this. :)

    (Found you via the IWSG group!)

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  5. I know lots of writers have mastered the art of squeezing writing/editing into every available spare moment during the course of a day. And it's normally the ones with family, little kids and maybe even a part-time job. Amazing how they do it...
    I have no set routine.
    Writer In Transit

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