More effective writing habits, Part III

Knowing yourself and what you’re capable of, is a smart concept for everyone, but especially a writer.  Personally, I know two solid truths about myself: I love to write, and I am a world champion procrastinator. Those two facets of my personality have, in the past, clashed, with procrastination taking the lead  and proving to be detrimental to my writing.

Barbara Wallace’s article in the june 2014 RWA Romance Writers Report, lists 7 effective habits authors should have. Number 3 is all about knowing yourself.

I’ve mentioned before that I work at a paying job that takes me out of my home three days a week. I have two days during the regular work week off and then every saturday and sunday. This may sound like a lot of time to be able to devote to writing, but in the reality called life, it isn’t. On my days off from “work” I need to: grocery shop, clean the house, do the laundry, ironing and putting of the clean clothes away; run errands to: the bank, post office, credit union, dry cleaners, in addition to scheduling all doctor, dentist, hair dresser/manicure appointments. Thrown in are my feeble attempts to get a continuous form of exercise, not to mention paying bills, checking on  family members and throwing a little time in for eating and sleeping. I can usually accomplish most of what I need to do in one of those 4 days off.

So that leaves 3 days to write, correct?

No, it actually only leaves 1 because the weekends are sacrosanct for family time. And that one day? If I get to write for that whole day – 8 hours or more, uninterrupted – that’s a modern day miracle. I usually have to do something that has occurred that needs my immediate attention not named on the above list, and which can’t-for-any-reason-possible wait.

So, in reality, I usually get about 4- 5 uninterrupted hours per week to write. Now, that is SO not enough time to pump out a book, much less a blog.

So, knowing myself and my schedule as I do, I started planning the time to write, everyday, for at least 1-2 hours, beginning in january 2013. The time is usually split – before work and after on the days I leave the house, and when I am off, I try to do 4-5 hours, again split between everything else I need to do. I set a weekly goal of the number of pages,  scenes, or plot points I want to accomplish, and then eek out a little of it every day. I never feel overwhelmed to get everything done, because any time I can set aside for writing is, in my opinion, good time. And I usually do make my goals every week.

By doing this, I was able to complete three full length novels in 2013, plus write a blog about menopause,  find the time to do NANAWRIMO,  enter several contests, and joined my state chapter of RWA .And my personal life did not suffer one iota. In 2014 I set up this blog/website, joined the Twitter-verse, and have already finished 1 book completely, the second, halfway. Not bad.

Know thyself and to thine own self be true. Words to live by.

If you have a moment, check out my new blog page, Read All about it!



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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, research, RWA

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