Finding Time to Write

Blogs dedicated to the horror genre in keeping with Halloween. Prizes available!

Blogs dedicated to the horror genre in keeping with Halloween. Prizes available!

You sit down before your computer, revved up to write a beaut of a chapter, and then the phone rings. Maybe your SO’s car broke down, leaving them stranded. Perhaps the doctor called with test results, or the loan company has a question about your account. In either case, life gets in the way, trashing any plans you had for your chapter. A week ago I began my vacation with the intention of adding two more chapters to my WIP, writing four blogs for this week’s October Frights Blog Hop, and serious editing of my Night to Dawn submissions for the magazine. I started off at a good clip. I made it through a chapter, three blogs, and three edited stories. Halfway through the week, I came down with a killer stomach virus and spent the next two days between my bed and the bathroom. Even my Mylar balloons wisely stayed out of the way.

Some folks might consider house construction—I’ve had a lot of that in the last year—as a life-in-the-way event. Thankfully, much of the work involved painting and spackling, and when the drills came out, I was able to tune out the sounds and continue with my projects. When you have a day job, time management becomes crucial. The daily to-do lists help, and I cross each job off as I finish it. A workshop leader suggested running a timer, but I found that counterproductive. I started worrying about the clock, and when I did work, I kept looking at the timer to see how far I’d gotten. Not good.

Some articles recommend Freedom or other software that will block your Internet or phone, thus removing distractions. I have two problems with this. First, these programs cost money that I can use toward marketing, publishing, and buying Mylar balloons. Second, NTD is a small press, and it’s great to be available if an author or illustrator has questions. I do try to budget “fudge” time for emails and phone calls related to NTD projects. Do I reward myself? Yes, by heading to the store for another Mylar balloons or just browsing the shops online.

Long ago, I invested in having someone come over to clean my house and cut the lawn. Given my track record with orthopedic surgery, the docs advised me to steer clear of the lawn mower. I can’t help but wonder how someone with a day job, kids, and house chores finds any time for writing or any other pursuit. Before I’d gotten sick, thankfully, I had jotted down notes on what I wanted for the last blog. Once I got better, I managed to finish the blog and look at other NTD stories. For the WIP, getting back in sync is tougher—it meant going through the last chapter and moving on from there.

Time management has been something I’ve struggled with at times, and I’d love to hear about your experiences with this and how you’ve handled the distractions.

Barbara Custer is sharing thoughts on time management for writing.

Balloons can help you focus more than any software!

I’m awarding prizes to random commenters. First prize is a $10 Starbucks gift card. Second prize is a comp copy of Night to Dawn Magazine.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Clarissa Johal

 

About Barbara Custer

Author of:
Twilight Healer
Steel Rose
Life Raft: Earth
City of Brotherly Death
Close Liaisons
Infinite Sight
When Blood Reigns
Infinite Sight
Publisher / Editor of Night to Dawn Books & Magazine

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6 Comments

  1. I do a lot of my writing on the train going to and from work. If I am not writing on the train I am reading. I edit at home. It works for me.

    • You probably have a long ride to work. This gives me an idea – occasionally I use the bus or train for longer trips, and that might be a writing opportunity I can grab. Thank you! Barbara of the Balloons

  2. I love to procrastinate. FB, hiking with the dog – although that does help clear my head if I get stuck in my writing, checking emails – I’m sure someone very important has written me 🙂 This is a bad habit of mine when the writing is going slow. The words are in my head but refuse to flow easy to the paper. So I just get up and walk away for awhile.

    I work part-time for a non profit company. A lot of things I can do at home for them via computer, some I can’t. I find my mind writes better in the morning, and then leave day job work for the afternoon –

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There’s no easy answer in balancing our lives these days.

    • That is so true, Debbie! Sometimes FB gets the better of me, particularly when I run a promo for Night to Dawn – usually about once a month. At the day job I have to be up at five, so bedtime comes really early. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 Barbara of the Balloons

  3. For me, timers do work. I carry one I can clip to my clothes. I divide my day by categories: household, writing, marketing, volunteering, etc. I allot so much time to each category based on deadlines. I also track everything I do using a calendar and index cards. In the end, my anal system only works so well. There are always things that don’t get done. 🙁

    • Alas, there are only so many hours in a day. I have a timer on my cell phone, but the phone can be a distraction. Some tasks require more time than allotted, too. Barbara of the Balloons

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