Monday, March 10, 2014

The Psychology of Time Management in Writing

The Psychology of Time Management in Writing in a tricky business. Everyone who wants to be a writer says at one point or another, I wish I had time to write.

You do have time. The question is: Do you really want to? Or is it more fun to fantasize about it rather than put in the actual work? Either answer is acceptable if it is your truth.

If you've decided, Enough excuse, let's do this thing!

Here are some helpful tips:

We often put everyone and everything else first before ourselves and sometimes we don't have a choice, but most the time we do.

1. Set aside a time to write on a regular basis. Every day is recommended as writing is a muscles that must be exercised regularly. I write four to six hours every day.

2. Set aside a place to write. Your brain will associate that place with your writing time and it will make a smoother transition for you when it is time to focus on writing.

3. Instead of saying, I will write after I do the laundry, pay this bill, check Facebook, etc, say, I will check Facebook after I write. Make writing a priority.

4. Schedule your writing time realistically. Unless you are a full time writer, you aren't going to have eight hours to devote to your craft. Even one scheduled hour a day will turn into a finished book if you keep at it.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao-tzu

The journey of a novel begins with a single word.

5. If feeling overwhelmed is keeping you from starting, sit down and write a 'Never Scene.' This idea was given to me by Editor Brian Farrey-Latz at Flux Books, when I attended his Young Adult Workshop at a SCBWI conference in Orlando. Here's what you do: Tell yourself to write a scene that will not be part of your finished book, but just any old thing for fun. It can be outrageous, a Samurai swordfight under the ocean, a mythical creature gobbles up all the farm's chickens. ANYTHING! It helps you start. Which is all you need to get going. And sometimes, you stumble unexpectedly on something exciting that you WILL use in your book, but without the pressure.

6. If you're wishing you were a writer, but you're not writing, then ask yourself why. There is a reason holding you back and it isn't a matter of time, because we always find time to do things we love. Do you watch TV? Do you gossip with friend? Do you surf the internet? Time isn't the problem. It may be serious enough to head off to therapy about, or it could be because of the following:

A. You're afraid of failure. Maybe if you write, it will never get published. That could be the case, but the process of writing is both rewarding and therapeutic by itself, without the publication part.

B. You're afraid people won't take you seriously. They might not, but are you writing for yourself or others? Because to have a real shot at this, you need to write for yourself.

C. You're afraid if you try, you won't be able to think of anything to say. I bet that you will if you put in the time. Your writing might be lame at first, but in time, we all improve through practice and dedication.

D. You're afraid that if you write, people will judge it harshly. They might. But some will like it, too. Writing is art and art is subjective. Focus on the helpful comments and ignore the rest.

E. You're afraid that if you write about something personal you might hurt someone's feelings. This is a valid concern. See if you can cloud the event in fiction and if you can't or don't want to, then talk with that person first to let them know what you're doing and get their input.

F. You're afraid that if you write, someone will  critique it. Yes, they will give their opinions. As a professional, you need to ask yourself about the source of those opinions (Is the reader jealous? Is the reader a pro in his own right? Is the reader a valid expert on your type of writing?) If you think the reader is being mean, say thank you for their comments and ignore them. But don't get too attached to your draft and be so closed-minded that the work can't grow. If you respect the reader, listen closely, they are giving you valuable input that can help your writing reach it's potential.

There are many reasons we can create to hold ourselves back. How many reasons can you create to propel yourself forward? 


  1. Like they say, fear is the mind (and writer) killer!

  2. Yes, a writer's mind is a powerful thing! We can be our best friend or worst enemy. Happy writing, Sean, and thank you for your post!

  3. Nice article. Thanks for sharing!! I hope you're books are coming along and can't wait to read them!!