Okay, first of all, I’m not as prolific as I used to be – writing. I’ve found as I’ve gotten published, my production has fallen off. I don’t tally that to the reason I do not have time, though, but mostly because as I get older, I find myself distracted by other things. Even frivolous pursuits such as Facebook, or Twitter, or even blogging like this. Luckily I’ve denied myself the presence of the boneheaded Cyclops that is television.
I have a degree in business, and one of the main instruments in being successful in any career is wise time management. The second most important facet in a successful career (any career) is organization along with a clear direction on your compass.
When you write a novel or short story, fiction, you probably have the same desires and ambition that I do. To create it. To craft it. To delve into the world as the reader will hopefully do. As writers, we are gods. We dare to create fabric out of nothing but thought and perspective. We do entertain business success in writing, yep, how to make cash out of it. Who wouldn’t want to hike on the dream of JK Rowling, EL James, Stephen King, and James Patterson? Known to be a BESTSELLING author. A FAMOUS author. A WEALTHY author. Yet, these conditions are not goals; there are too many nuances that govern those states of being. As such, success as an artist, as an author, is arbitrary.
Anyhow, writing short stories can be as time-consuming as writing a full-length 90,000 word manuscript. Well, somewhat. I’d heard that Ernest Hemingway could take up to 6 months writing and rewriting one of his Nick Adams short stories. Now, let’s say you want to write a novel. Did you know that many great authors were happy to complete one or two novels in their lifetime? Nowadays, in the fast-food media-hungry I-Want-The-World society we live in, authors are more prolific nowadays then they were on average 50 years ago. Series works are common. In the case of some, the novels aren’t dime store serials as they were; they are now 100,000 word chunks of marble.
If you are one of these marathon writers, consider these basic tips on wise time management in completing the 10 War & Peace installments for your teen vampire series:
- Set up a schedule for writing. It’s an illusion that creativity just bursts in at 3am. Set up work writing as a part time day job. Be prepared to devote 3-4 hours a day, 3 days a week. Look at it not as a glorious burst of creativity, but as a job. Once you are familiar with your habit of scheduling, your inspiration and creativity WILL follow suit.
- Tell loved ones about this scheduling. Do they burst in on you when you are at your regular day job as an accountant or marketer or lawyer or whatever it is you do? Not always. They know that you will say “I’m working.”
- Do not set up a word-count goal. I know this seems illogical; however, many novice writers put themselves through a grind to make personal word limits a day, or a week, or a month, to meet their goals. This will stymie your creative flow and invariably raise writers block. Writing a creative work is a journey, not an outcome. When you are demanding quotas, you are demanding results. Unless someone is paying you for a deadline, TAKE YOUR TIME. Write and create, but don’t bust your ass thinking that as soon as it’s finished, you are on the way to becoming Mitch Albom.
- Turn off distracting media. This is difficult. I often play video games. I’ll goof off on social media like Facebook. Luckily I’ve made it difficult for me to just jump on the Internet by denying myself wi/fi access using a NetZero device that I have to physically plug into a USB port to hook up. When I’m done with the Internet, I unplug the device and put it in its case in the closet. This makes it difficult for me to get up, walk across the room, and plug the thing in, have it boot up, and then surf my time away.
- Meditate on your daily work. Before you begin typing, meditate and think about what’s next in your book. Spend a few minutes listening to appropriate music to get you into the mood. When you finally put your fingertips on the keys, you will be ready to rock and roll.
- Make certain you have a nice drink and maybe a little snack. Get some non-fattening crackers and cool water. If you can handle it, maybe some wine or a little beer – but nothing that will distract you.
- Work to the time frame and not a word count. Do not worry if you’ve only written 1000 words in 3 hours. 1000 words is better than 0 words.
- Walk away. After you’ve reached your allotted time, walk away – EVEN IF YOUR CREATIVITY IS FLOWING LIKE A FAUCET. Leave some pools for your next session. In other words, do not write until you are spent and the well of inspiration has run dry.
With a little practice and perseverance, you will find you are far more productive than you realized, and the work is nearing completion!
M Cid D’Angelo’s novels can be found at ~
A few of his short stories are published by various for print and online literary magazines. Here are a few:
“Thumbs Up” (Midway Journal): http://www.midwayjournal.com/Oct10_Fiction-ThumbsUp.html
“Don Quixote de Las Vegas” (Moronic Ox): http://www.moronicox.com/don-quixote-de-las-vegas-dangelo.html
“In the Garden” (decomP magazinE): http://www.decompmagazine.com/inthegarden.htm
“Chad and Willie Break a Leg (March, 2013 – The Legendary): http://www.downdirtyword.com/