Friday, May 18, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

         Tinkering with Time

Have you ever wished for more time? Maybe you'd like to have a Time-Turner like Hermione Granger in J.K. Rowling's The Prisoner of Azkaban! Like most writers, much of my time is taken up with writing, reading, and social networking. That is in addition to my time with family, friends, and volunteer work. Over the years I have had to become obsessed with being organized. I thought I'd share with you some tips that have worked for me.

Ten Time-Saver Tips:

1) Make a list for my day. I know, I know...if you're a "pantser" this is the last thing you want to hear! However, it is easy for me to get "off track" with my writing. Making a list helps me to stay focused.

2) Schedule writing time. My writing time is from one to four in the afternoon. No blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Writing and revising only! Having a set time to write allows me to accomplish other things during the day without feeling guilty for not constantly banging at the keyboard.

3) Schedule social networking time. This is something that is constantly discussed online. As writers, we are on our computers a lot anyway. It's so easy to take a break and check to see who just can't wait to talk with us! I know that I do my social networking after my morning chores, and after my writing time in the afternoon. I use it like a silly reward for completing my my word count. Later in the evening, I usually do a bit on Facebook. The point is: by scheduling it in, I don't feel guilty when I do check my various networks.

4) Keep a book handy. Reading is important as a writer - I can get in a few extra pages during those otherwise lost moments. You know the ones: the doctor's office, the dentist's office, or just being caught in a traffic jam!

5) Keep a small notebook. When that inspired idea for my WIP hits me, I can record it for use at a later time since I keep a small notebook with me. It's surprising how many times I use it!

6) Stay busy. For most of us, this is not the problem! However, I mention it because I'm sure you've all had the experience of accomplishing more tasks when it seemed you had less time than you needed. When I have extra time, it's too easy to procrastinate.

7) Set goals and deadlines. This is a big help for me to keep my writing momentum moving forward. Without goals and deadlines, it's too easy for me to cut my writing time short. Knowing that I'm "under the gun" keeps me motivated.

8) Keep goals and expectations realistic. If I need to write 50,000 words, (sound familiar NaNoWriMo participants?) I give myself ample time. Sure, we can write 3,000 words in a day - but for how long? Setting a standard I can live with helps me to not burn out.

9) Ask for help. If I'm really slammed ( like this week! ) I am not too proud to ask for help. We have a small party scheduled here at our home tonight. Rather than take on the whole thing by myself, I decided to suggest to my guests that we make it a potluck. They were truly happy to help out in that way. Most people are blessed to be a part of my journey, even in an indirect way.

10) Have fun! At first look this may not seem like a way to save time. However, if I don't "recharge my battery" from time to time with some well-deserved recreation, my writer's tank will definitely run dry. In the big scheme of things taking care of myself emotionally helps my writing time to stay consistent, avoiding burn-out.

I hope a few of these time-saver tips will help you.
Please leave a comment with a tip of your own!


  1. Asking for help is a good one. I've gotten better about that! I write during lunch during the week, which has kept me progressing.

    1. Thanks, Theresa. You sound like an awesome multi-tasker. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. I'm a list person too. That asking for help is a hard one for me, but I'm getting better at it. =)

    1. I used to take alot of teasing from my kids for being a "list lunatic." They would say, "Mom, what will you be doing in June of 2020?" However, now all of them make lists! Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Victoria. I'm a list person, too. But some of the others I'm not so good at--like asking for help. Did I just repeat what E. Arroyo said? :)

    1. Linda - it took me a long time to learn to be able to ask for help - I'm still working at that one myself! Thanks for your comment.

  4. I actually went down your list checking to see if I do these things! hahaha! Ya know, in case I could find a magical solution to buy me time.

    Only thing I do differently is that I set weekly goals. I cannot do all the things I want in a day, so if I think long term; this week I must blog once, send out to publishers or agents once, sweep my floor at least once, and so on... I can pick and choose my poison each day and I don't feel so overwhelmed.

    Thanks for sharing. Nice to see we're on the same page!

    1. I know Tanya - it would be nice to have a Time-Turner! However, you sound like you're pretty well organized. Thanks for your comment.