Do you struggle with time management? Whether you are a traditional or self-published author or blogger, you have probably set deadlines for yourself. You may have a weekly blog post or article that needs to be published at a certain time. Or, you may have a fiction or non-fiction book you need to upload or hand off to your editor or copy-editor on a certain date.
While time management can’t create more time in your day, it can maximize your available time efficiently. Whether you have a mandatory or self-imposed daily word count, you need to have excellent time management skills to complete everything on time.
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Writers need to encompass several components in their time management.
It is important to create a plan and set goals for your writing. You can start by working backwards. Set the date you need things done and then figure out how many words you need to write every day to reach your goals.
When you break down your goals into smaller bite-sized pieces, it makes them easier to accomplish. A written daily schedule will help you budget your time. Think about using a daily planner.
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2. Use Time Tracking
Time tracking is fairly straightforward. The process here is like making a schedule, but it works in reverse. Instead of writing things that you are planning to do, time logging is writing the things that you have already done.
At the end of every hour, write a sentence or two about how you spent your time for that hour. If what you did doesn’t match your plan, then you need to review your time-use patterns and make adjustments to improve your productivity. This procedure will highlight many of your habits that you might selectively ignore currently, the time-wasters.
3. Eliminate the Time Wasters
It is important to recognize and eliminate the time-wasters so you can concentrate on your goals. Things like social media, emails, Netflix, and other things distract you from your plans. You might think you are only going online for a quick minute, but then you glance up at the clock to find an hour of your scheduled writing time gone.
4. Market Research
Before you write, research your intended audience. For non-fiction writers, you need to research your competitors to ensure your book isn’t missing a component that your audience needs. The intention is not to copy your competitors, but to research. When you research your intended audience, it can help you guide your work in the right direction.
For fiction writers, you need to research your genre. Every genre has specific word counts and criteria they need to meet.
5. Writing Research
Research your subject matter (non-fiction) or your historical details (fiction) before you write. If you don’t factor this time into your writing plan, you will probably fall behind every time you run into something you didn’t research properly.
Another thing you can do when you are writing is type xxx or [[double bracket]] anytime you need to go back and research. This way, you won’t lose momentum and waste your writing time and you can go back and easily find the information that you need to add.
One big writing myth is that you should only write when inspired. But the truth is, once you begin writing, ideas will flow. Sometimes it is important to fight through it when you are stuck or can’t find the words you are searching for. You can use timers or the apps on your phone to write in ten or fifteen minute increments.
Related reading: Creative Writing Doesn’t have to be Hard
7. Schedule Time Off
You need to factor in rest and relaxation because downtime revitalizes our creative juices. Most of the eagerness you have for writing is to express the very things that life has brought your way. If you have no life because of your writing, you may well lose the love you have for writing.
But keep a notebook or a note on your phone close because you never know when you will hear an impressive line or have an inspirational moment.
Last Words on Time Management Tips
Finding a writing balance is a hard task. However, once you understand writing should be a component of your life, you can assimilate your writing into a schedule that allows you to achieve your goals and fulfill your dreams.
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