Consistent

I’ve been having a hard time lately managing my time and I’m the only one to blame here.

Part of being a full-time writer is good time management (I can already hear Sarah cackling madly in the background at me and the mutterings of other MGC contributors about using the words “good”, “time”, and “management” in a cohesive sentence together). Making certain that your schedule is set, that appointments and house moves are all lined up and scheduled so you know when the interruptions to your writing will occur. And while you can’t predict everything that is going to interrupt your writing schedule (I’m looking at both of you, World of Tanks and my lack of self-control), having a set schedule can alleviate a lot of issues.

I remember Larry Correia telling me at a Libertycon once that before he started writing full time, he set aside every evening after he got home from work to write. While a lot of people shake their heads at the insanity of that (I can’t do that, but my work schedule is weird) it worked for Larry. Granted, it often led to something like 20 hour days, but he was determined to write, and he made damn sure he stuck to his schedule. The end result is multiple NYT bestselling books and a fortress in his own country (well, almost).

Now, I’m not saying that “write when I’m free” writers don’t succeed as well. That’s 1) stupid, and 2) stupider. Everyone’s writing is different, even the time they use when they write. Some are night owls who work better under the pungent smell of the burning midnight oil, while others are total jackasses who love the mornings and the glare of the almighty Day Star (Me… I’m talking about me here). I know of a few people who write during the day while at work (tried it; it’s rough but doable if you don’t get interrupted).

The best part of being a writer, though, is that there is no “right” or “wrong” time for writing. Eric Flint once mentioned that if you only managed to write a piddly 1,000 words a day, everyday, in 3 months you’d have a novel. Yeah, chew on that for a moment. 1,000 words. You’ve probably written Facebook posts longer than that ranting about one thing or another. Hell, you’ve probably gotten into political arguments on any social media site that stretched out to be longer than 2,000 words (or is that just me?).

The point is, if you write out a schedule, stick to it. If not, stick to that. As long as your method makes you productive and able to write your books, stick with it. The very model of consistent writer starts with that one word — consistent.

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8 responses to “Consistent

  1. Early Morning (yeah, not my first choice): skim the ‘net, check blogs, check my blog. Have tea. Do errands and chores if needed. During school year – work.
    1000 Hrs until 1700 – write, with breaks every half hour or 1000 words (or if the body says more often). Not always do-able because of Life, but that’s the ideal. During school year – school stuff first, then write if time permits.
    Evening – family time, some blogging or other ‘net stuff if family is otherwise occupied.

  2. And eventually you have to add editing and publishing to your schedule. Hmm, first I should make a schedule . . .

  3. Max

    When I was writing full time, I went by word-count. 3000-4000 words a day, five days a week. Now that I’ve got another job on top of that, it’s become a bit slower since I have to split things, like Correia, with another job, but I’m picking up speed again.

    • Reality Observer

      I’ve tried word count – and that is still my basic measure of whether I’m being “productive” or not.

      OTOH, I also have a column on my log for “non-writing time.” I count that as “productive.”

      In there, I have the time for “OP Blogs” (those that are at least peripherally about the business). It varies from five minutes on “sale days” to over an hour, say when Amanda did one of the posts on formatting here and KKR had one on contracts the same day.

      I put time for research there, too, and all of the other “fiddly bits” of the writing biz. Like two and a half hours on Dreamstime finding a photo to base a cover off of yesterday (I’m a newb, OKAY?)

      Six hours a day is the goal, which I’m getting up to.

  4. Christopher M. Chupik

    I’ve gotten up to 1000-1500 a week, but I still need more.

  5. I _have_ a schedule. Wake at ~06:00 for medication. Pray until ~07:30. Work on writing projects until they bring breakfast (08:00 to 08:55). {I’m in a Nursing Home, an 95% Paraplegic.} Eat breakfast, and start working on reading emails. ~12:00 to 12:55 Lunch arrives, and I eat. After Lunch, get cleaned up again (no bowel or bladder control, and hope it doesn’t take long). Take nap until ~1700, and get cleaned again. ~1715 to 1800-1855, work on emails, or writing projects. Eat supper between 1800 and 1915, depending on when it’s brought. After supper, write/do emails/check Facebook until 2000. Sometime between 2000 and 2130, get cleaned up again and shower or bed bath. After 2200-0230 start trying to relax, so I can go to.sleep. 0600 start again.
    Some days, I lose a couple of hours waiting to be cleaned after a #2. I also lose hours to Dr. Appointments/medical tests/etc. Being in an NH, I’m at the mercy of (lack of) staffing/lack of bowel bladder control/room mates/other residents, etc. During times when the ‘Net is down (far too often), I catch up on reading/writing/research.
    I don’t mention this for “pity,” but for those who complain about “not having enough ‘free’ time.” 90% have more “free time” than I do. I take 15mg a day of narcotics to control back pain, which *takes the edge off, enough control the pain mentally.* (The disks between T11 and L5 are collapsing, which is why the 95% para status, and long hours to relax at night.
    In spite of all that, I gave 3 (print) cookbooks, a Children’s/YA book, and 11 Kindle (recipe category) cookbooks coming out shortly. So, you _can_ “find time to write.”

  6. May I add something that I have learned as a newly-minted cartoonist? When you have time free to draw , and you are also in a drawing moodiness, do not stop, just because you are on schedule. Keep going.

    I am sitting here reading blogs rather than doing my planned character updates, because I tore off a toenail today, and whiskey doesn’t go well with hand-eye coordination. But I’m not behind schedule (yet) because I Drew When I Could.

    Maybe Indy is like the Army, only you write when you can, rather than sleep?

  7. I’m glad you were able to get a blog post up, Jason…I got the earlier notification from MGC (saying “delayed”) but not that the post had been amended. Imagine my surprise when I came here to see what was going on (as I couldn’t remember seeing something saying “delayed” before, from you at any rate), and saw an interesting and relevant post on time management.

    I’m definitely a “write during the late hours” person. I do better then. Less distractions, for certain. I write five days out of seven; I’ve tried writing more often, but unless the story is hard upon me (sometimes that happens), I need days to rest and think. (A couple of those days are likely to be 2000 word days, so I still get the same amount of words in, most of the time, by adhering to a schedule I can work with.)

    I think if I were only writing my own stories and not devoting time toward figuring out my husband’s as well, I’d probably have written more. But I need to do both, for my own peace of mind, so I’m finding a way _to_ do both…anyway, good for you for getting this post up. (Sometimes being “delayed” has its benefits.)