Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A C Arthur: Author Time Management, What Is That?

Years ago I conducted a workshop on time management. I had a detailed schedule printed on poster board and meticulously went through every bullet point, being sure to emphasize how important it was to make time for writing on a daily basis. Well, that was before the My Space extravaganza that led to the Facebook and Twitter explosion, which is now only rivaled slightly by Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads and so many more, social network devices designed to either drive an author insane or drive the sale of their books. Which one would you prefer?

Of course, the answer would be the latter, but more often than not we walk pretty close to the going insane line. Here’s the one fact that cannot be changed or re-invented or even ignored for that matter: there are only 24 hours in a day. And with that it mind, it is still imperative for every professional writer to wholeheartedly embrace a time management strategy.

I’m a wife, mother and full-time writer. I also work a full-time paralegal job at a very busy city courthouse. I could clearly use more hours in a day, but like I said before, the 24-hour thing can’t be changed. So I had to figure out how I was going to get everything done and not wear myself out completely. I’m a morning person so I wake up with the chickens—or maybe even before them—around three or four a.m. I put clothes in the washer—because with three kids and a husband there are always dirty clothes—then I sit down to write. I used to be able to get in about two hours of good writing time before having to wake the kids and head out to work and school. Then social networking arrived and that time was cut in half because I cannot access the social network sites at work. That sounds bad, but it actually turns out to be a good thing because whenever I have a free moment at work I use it to write, without the pressure of having to visit my social networks. I rarely write in the evening since homework, dinner prep, hubby time, and my need to be in bed by eight, overrules the creative process. Yes, this is a grueling schedule and every now and then I’m reminded that I need a break. At which time, I take one. Maybe that’s a day off from the day-job, or a weekend away from all social networking. Sometimes I do both. J

But I still write something every day. It may be 2000 words on a  WIP instead of 5-7K, or the beginning of an outline for a new project, or a blurb from an idea that I had the day before and jotted down on a piece of paper that ended up floating around the bottom of my purse. I write every day.

How about you? Do you think time management is imperative to writers? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to comment. At the end of the week I’ll pick one lucky post to win a signed copy of my latest paranormal romance release, Passion’s Prey.

***AC Arthur's winner is Mary Kirkland!  Please email with your mailing information.  Thanks!***


Leni said...

I think authors probably have a system set up to manage their time. With all of the writing and daily life events there must be some kind of structure. I'd sure like to know because I don't write and still don't have a system to get all of that done. That's one of the things that amazes me. Someone being able to create, have family and friends, and so much more.
Makes me enjoy the book even more.

Stephanie Dalvit said...

I think it is what works for you...everyone is different....but it is most important to be flexible and be able to be spontaneous!! I am like you...early to rise and I make the most of each minute of the day!! Thanks for sharing!!

Pat Cochran said...

I am envious of how you all manage to
handle the necessities of family life.
Even as a stay-at-home grandmother, I
find scheduling a problem. All I can
say is "Great job"!!

Pat C.

Mary Kirkland said...

I don't write books but I do write articles and I know if I don't sit down with a goal of writing a few words or an entire article one day or in a few hours, I would never get it done. Time management is important for anyone trying to get something done.

erin said...

I don't write but I'm in awe of anyone who has the drive and discipline to do so. And there are a lot more distractions as you pointed out! So... I guess every writer has to set his/her own schedule/method to focus on writing. Thanks for sharing!

Annie West said...

Great post. Time management is essential, isn't it? I wish I could say I wrote every day but there are just some days when it's better for me to concentrate on the other aspects of my life. It's taken me a while but I've learned to let myself do that from time to time and not feel too guilty (so long as it doesn't happen too much) It's always a balancing act.

Eli Yanti said...

I think if I'm a writer I will just write in everytime and everywhere because work is to enjoy so the result will be better :)

Martha Lawson said...

Yes, I believe it would be important! How do you manage to get it all done? You must be exhausted!! I can't get all you do done in a day and I only work 27 hrs a week. I love your b ooks and I'd love to have a copy of the new book. Thanks for the chance.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Nicole Laverdure said...

Maybe some authors do need it and some don't. I guess it is personal!
Some authors may need discipline or time management to help them in their busy life! thanks for sharing!