Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Writing Wednesdays - Time Management

This blog post is being written a little late today, which is rather unfortunate as the topic I'm going to be looking at is time management - suggested to me by the marvelous L.J Hamlin whose writing can be found here:

Time management can be something that is hard to do about even the most important things, let alone writing which is often relegated to the role of hobby, simply  because of how busy people find themselves and how little time they have free.  Therefore, finding time to write when you can is crucial but a lot of aspiring authors just find it impossible to catch a free moment. 

I'm particularly aware of this right now as I have just begun a new job which is meaning that I have far less free time, but I am determined that I will still write.  Therefore this blog post is as much about me making a plan of action for myself as giving advice.

For time management, the main thing is prioritising - you won't have enough hours in the day to get done every single thing that you want to get done.  Therefore you need to decide which things you want to get done most urgently, and what needs to be done.  Make a numbered list, or use websites such as workflowy ( or Habitrpg ( to prioritize and record your achievements.  Some people find that they don't know where there time is going, and one possible way of tackling this is to make a chart for a day or a week, listing each hour, and fill in what you were doing at that time, be it working, cooking or watching television.  Then you can look back, and see if there is any time you have available that you had missed previously. 

That isn't to say not to let yourself relax.  Relaxing is really important.  It's just worth making sure that when you are relaxing, you are doing it in the way that you want to.  If you want to include writing in your free time then working out what free time you have is a great start.

Now, about writing: First off, it's a good idea to consider when you might have time to write - if you know you're working late all week, maybe think about the weekend.  If you have young children, maybe after they've gone to bed - or while they're watching television.  It all depends on your personal circumstances.  If you can manage to find a few hours available, and go to somewhere quiet - a coffee shop, or a public library if you are looking for somewhere peaceful and free to visit, that's fantastic.  But if all you can get is the odd few minutes, don't worry.  That's time enough to get down a few lines of dialogue, or notes as to how a scene is going to go.

Carrying down a notebook to jot ideas in can be helpful here - it even gives you a chance to put down some thoughts if you find yourself with some free time in the middle of the day which you don't want to waste.  Make notes when you can, and when you get more time, you can write them into stories.

You might have had a look at your timetable and found that you have absolutely no spare time at all, and if so then you might have to decide to let writing take a back seat whilst you deal with everything else you have going on.  At some point you will need spare time, but if you just don't have it at the moment, that doesn't mean you have to give up on being a writer.  You can still think of ideas and stories, flesh out worlds and work out dialogue, and scribble it down when you get the chance.  Actually writing a novel might be out of the picture for you for now, but a chance may occur later.

Short stories might work better in this particular situation.  Or, when you get to November, just say to forget it and let yourself take part in Nanowrimo, immersing yourself in writing for a month.  At the end of it, even if you didn't break fifty thousand, you may have written far more than you thought was possible, and have learned exactly what it is that you can temporarily delay to give yourself a chance to write.

- List priorities
- Work out when you have time
- Carry a notebook
- Think about ideas
- Set aside time

Best of luck!

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