Focusing on Writing: Cutting out time wasting activities

Surprised woman in front of clock uid 1271830I will be the first to admit it – I am not always the best at managing my time. I too easily get sucked into time wasters. You know what I am talking about – those tasks such as checking email and Facebook or surfing the web take up more time that you realize. Unfortunately, those time wasters are stealing my writing time.

Here are some tips to help avoid those time wasters.

1.) Set limits on time suckers

Facebook, Twitter, email and the Internet easily can take up a lot of your time. Now I am not saying you should not work on building relationships with other writers or fans, or you shouldn’t market your other books but you need to set aside a certain time to do it – preferably after you have met your writing goal for the day.

It may help not unplug your network connection if you can’t resist the temptation to surf the web. And while you are at it, turn off your phone.

2.) Write when others aren’t around

The best time to write is when you are alone. It may be during lunch at your empty office or early in the morning before everyone gets up. But people – especially children – can be a great distraction. If you can’t write when no one is around, work on finding a time to write where you can hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your door. If your children are old enough, they can be taught to give you some alone time to write.

3.) Focus on your goal

Know what you want to accomplish when you sit down to write. It could be writing a set number of pages or words, editing a chapter or two or developing a character. Refuse to become involved in anything that doesn’t move you closer to accomplishing your goal. If it helps, let others who will hold you accountable know of your goal. (Next week I will cover how to set realistic writing goals.)

4.) Be Prepared to Write

Authors often talk about finding time to write, but really it isn’t about finding time as much is it about making time to write. Finding time means you are squeezing writing between other activities. The problem with this is that depending on how busy your schedule is you may or may not actually get any writing done.  I am so guilty of this.

Making time to write is proactive. It means you build your schedule around your writing. Knowing that you are going to sit down and write needs to be a conscious choice. Knowing that you are putting writing first makes it easier to ignore things that pop up to interrupt your writing time.

Remember that your writing time should be just for that – writing. You only have a limited amount of time for writing so get to it!