Time management, or the lack thereof, is the #1 problem faced by most of the writers and bloggers of the See Jane Write community and probably the #1 problem faced by writers and bloggers in every community! The other obstacle that many content creators face is writer’s block. I believe I’ve found a simple solution for both: Write every day. You need to develop a writing ritual.
You need a time, a place, and a plan for each of your daily writing sessions.
Figure out when you will write and for how long. This may be determined by circumstance. Maybe you need to get up early in the morning to write before your kids wake up or maybe you have to write at night after you’ve put them to bed. Maybe you have to write during your lunch break. But if you have a bit more flexibility experiment with different times in the morning, the afternoon, the evening, and at night to see when you produce your best work. To determine how long your writing sessions should be, use a time to clock how long you can focus on a single project without taking a break. Knowing your attention cycle and writing rhythm will especially come in handy when you have more time to write such as on the weekends.
I know that I do my best writing in the morning and I work well in 60-minute cycles. So I get up around 4 a.m. each weekday so that I can write for at least an hour and take care of some See Jane Write business before I go to work. But that’s not to say I don’t write at other times of the day. Last week I wrote a freelance article in the evening because I had a deadline to meet. And during #bloglikecrazy you’ll find me working on blog posts morning, noon, and night. Part of being a professional writer is being able to write even when you don’t feel like it. Inspiration is overrated.
Pro-Tip: If you do have more control over your daily schedule than most people with a 9 to 5, try to schedule non-creative tasks outside of the time frame that you found you are most creative.
Designate places for your writing. This might be your home office or a spot in a co-working space. This might be your dining room table or a table at your favorite coffee shop. This could be your favorite local library. If you have to literally hide from your kids to write in peace, write in the bathroom or your closet!
While you should have a designated spot for writing, it’s also OK to move around a bit. When I’m working on longer projects I will move from my home office to my kitchen table to my bed. There’s something about a change of venue that renews my energy.
Be sure to have a purpose for each writing session. Give yourself daily assignments. If you’re working on a book perhaps you try to write a certain number of words each day. If you’re blogging, perhaps you work on a post each day. If you’re a freelance writer maybe your assignment is an actual assignment from an editor or perhaps you will work on pitch letters. My writing assignments vary and could be any of the aforementioned tasks. Whatever the case may be, go into your session with a plan so you’re not just staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen for an hour.
What’s your writing ritual?