I wrote this blog post originally as a submission to Scott Eagan for his Guest Blog Opportunity, however I won’t know (for a while a least) if my post got chosen. In the meantime, I thought that I’d post it here anyway, just in case you might find my tips useful.
I’m not complaining about my lot in life. But finding time to write, network, edit, and research can be really tough with 3 kids (2 with special needs), a husband, and elderly live-in aunt, 3 pets (2 also with special needs) plus a full time career as the marketing manager for a major ntional brand.
With this in mind, I remember the worst piece of advice I ever received: “You have to give up everything: family, friends, and career in order to be a serious writer.”
Uh, I don’t think so. I might give up a few extraneous items, but am not giving up my family or friends, and definitely not my day-job. I wouldn’t even give up the few writing organizations that I belong to because that’s where I get the motivation and knowledge that I need to move forward on the road to publication.
In order to find time for all that I have to do, I have to multi-task and schedule. Here’s how I manage the madness:
- Lists: I try to create a short REALISTIC list of activities that I need to get done the next day, whether it’s family, work, or writing-related.
- Prioritize: In each subhead, prioritize what needs to be done right now/today
- Time Manage: Set a timer. If you know that you only have 20 minutes for social networking, then when that timer goes up, move on to research, editing, or writing. Chances are, you’ll be more focused on the task at hand knowing you only have a limited time to do it.
- Ask for Help: If you have a daunting research project, ask for help from writing buddies. If you belong to a writer’s group with a loop- post the question there. You’ll be surprised at how many people will respond with relevant links and info.
- Forgive yourself: It’s ok to let some things slip, such as having a messy living room for one more day so that you can finish your manuscript in time for a contest deadline.
- Give up extraneous activities: This is the most difficult for me because I am a compulsive volunteer-er. I had to post a sign on my laptop to remind me not to volunteer for anything else.
It’s definitely not easy, but I have found that by keeping these concepts in mind I am a happier, more productive writer. And I realize that my non-writing life may delay my path to publication, I’m still ON the path, and that’s the important thing.