How about if we get this straight, right off the bat – every single other Seeker on this loop is more qualified than me to be offering advice on time management. No kidding. They are all amazing. So that said, let’s get going on How To Write A Novel In Your Spare Time : )
First of all, I can’t tell you how important it is to give God His piece of your time pie. You may have two hours, or you may have twenty minutes to write, it doesn’t matter. When I don’t thank God for the precious moments He’s carved out for me and seek His direction for my writing time, all I end up with is gobble-di-gook. I flit around from topic to topic, from task to task and find at the end of my time, I’ve accomplished nothing.
Or at least nothing of my novel I’d care to share with anyone. Then I get frustrated with myself for not thinking things through, for not getting organized – oh wait, Organization is another installment of my Not for the Faint of Heart series, coming to this blog in a couple months, after I’ve found the spreadsheets and colored sticky notes : )
See what I mean? Attention span of a gnat. Definitely a gift of my Attention Deficit Disorder. So, all you ADD-ers, buck up! There is hope! If I can find a way to work in spite of myself, I know you can, too.
Scrap the notebook. I’ve been told to keep a notebook and pencil handy for all the brilliant ideas that pop into my mind at inopportune moments. Good advice for those who remember to take a notebook with them, then can find it when that moment strikes. Instead, I keep an arsenal of pens in my purse at all times and I don’t have to dig deep to find receipts or envelopes in my purse for those precious ah-ha moments. After I spread the ink, I either stuff them back into my purse, or write an email to myself when I get back to work. Works great, especially if I remember to clean out my purse : )
Learn to listen. Make yourself wait for the ideas to brew instead of throwing everything, including the watering trough, into your book. This leads to contrived plots. Just because I thought up this nifty disaster for my characters to overcome doesn’t mean it belongs in this book. I’m currently re-vamping a series that did well in contests, but garnered very little interest from editors. I’m starting at the beginning. I’m praying for guidance. I’m using the same characters and plot, but the methods those characters are using to resolve their problems is vastly different from my original version. God didn’t give you a Writer’s heart only to abandon you. The toughest lesson I’ve learned is to patiently wait on God to guide me. He’s doing an awesome job, too.
It’s okay to have a life. You know the ol’ story about stuffing 10 lbs of crumpled up paper into a single item McDonald’s bag? Story of my life. I was so focused on writing quantity, I lost track of quality. My little pea brain had the hardest time letting go of the notion that if I produce, someone is bound to buy it. I shut the door of my office on my family, my friends, even my dog. But you know what? Life is short. Kids grow up, parents grow old, relationships may whither. Don’t take a chance on it. Again, if God has called you to write, He will make His plans come to fruition in His time. I’m not saying let everything get into your lunch. I’m just saying learn to divvy out the hours of your day. From the time I get home from work through dinner, it’s family time. When everyone is settled in front of the TV, I go into my office, close the door and write for an hour. I’m focused, I’m relaxed, I’m inspired. If I stick to my method, often I creep out of my office in time to watch House. Ahh, life is good : )
These steps may help, or they may not. The important thing is to identify what the time issues are in your life. Quality is the lock; balance is the key. It’s not easy. Even though this system works for me, I still have old habits rearing their ugly heads. Do a GMC on yourself and your writing.
Think. Identify. Conquer.
Time can be your friend when both of you stand on common ground.
Blessing to everyone!