Every writer, parent, and person, would probably agree, that it would be a wonderful world if we were all equipped with the ability to make time stand still. It seems that there are never enough hours in the day to complete the tasks on our To-Do list, let alone those items that tend to pile up on your list of ‘Writing To-Do’s’. With the time it takes to complete your daily chores, work related tasks, and family/personal responsibilities, finding the time to sit down and write can be futile, and often gets pushed to the back burner of our priorities without much thought. Since most of us do not have the luxury of a universal remote that grants us the ability to pause reality, and sit down in silence, we as writers must make the time available if we wish to succeed in our field. Time management is a valuable skill that separates the ‘hobby’ writer from the serious one; though no one will ever be able to say they ‘ more than enough’ time to write out every idea that comes to mind, there are some simple tips in time management that will help you create  more of the time you need in order to take your writing to the next level;

  • Stick to a schedule. Most people have some sort of day planner, and if you don’t you should purchase one immediately. Whether you carry around a big black book, write your responsibilities on your calendar, or enter them into your iPhone, scheduling time to write is a great way to incorporate writing into your daily life. When something is written on our schedule we are less likely to renounce it; so pull out that calendar and pencil in some writing time. Even if you can only manage small blocks of time here and there, taking that time to write on a regular basis will help you to create a habit, and be a more ‘productive’ writer.
  • Spread the word. Tell your friends, family, neighbors, strangers, and pets that you plan to start writing regularly. This concept works the same way for any goal you plan to tackle, as with losing weight, or quitting smoking, when you involve other people you are less likely to slip up because; a) other people are likely to inquire about your progress, to which you will feel obligated to provide a response and b) it is a lot harder to provide pathetic excuses to other people than it is to tell them to yourself. In a sense it will force you to write, and the fact is that the more you write the better.
  • Clock your creativity. For some people the most creative time of day comes at the crack of dawn, for others the wheels in their head start turning late at night when the stars are out, and the world is silent. Whatever time of day best sparks your creative peak, pick that time of day to write. If this means that you have to leave the house, or find a friend to help you with the children, then so be it, enlist the help you need to get the job done when the inspiration is available. Though I often advise people that the key to successful writing begins with quantity rather than quality, and you should at least make an attempt to write even if you don’t feel like it, those moments that you do feel inspired should be captured.
  • Put an end to procrastination. The main reason for work not being completed is procrastination, especially when it comes to writing. We all find reasons to avoid sitting down to write. Blame it on work, the kids, or the pile of dishes. Perhaps it is the fact that you haven’t slept in 7 years, or that the 12 loads of laundry beside the washer and driving you mad… You can come up with excuses until the cows come home… The fact is that; the kids, the chaos, and the laundry will still be there later, but a good idea can disappear into thin air in a moment. In order to be effective in your writing you must learn to put an end to procrastination. Don’t make excuses, don’t spend an hour checking your emails before deciding that it is too late to start writing now, don’t say ‘I’ll do it later’ anymore, you must write if you want to be a writer. So stop procrastinating, sit down, and just do it!

No matter what your schedule, or situation, if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you need to take writing seriously. Often people are uncomfortable accepting, and admitting, that they are ‘writers‘. Perhaps it is the unrealistic perception that society has about writers. People sometimes believe that anyone who calls himself a ‘writer’ sits at home, plays on the computer, and lives an easy life…. Well get over it! People are always going to think that way, someone is always going to giggle when you say ‘I’m a writer’, if you let their outlook affect your writing you are never going to become the writer you long to be. So instead of making excuses, push your priorities around and make writing a part of your daily life… Just as you would change you habits for your children’s happiness, change your habits for your own happiness. Practice your time management skills, and become the most effective writer you can be.

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