Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Time management.

When your brain is bursting with ideas it seems hard to get anything done. You may plot, think, take notes, make sketches, busy yourself with all manner of 'work' but nothing gets completed, nothing gets a result. So how do you manage your time to write "THE END"  when it is all done and dusted.

1. Set a goal.
 Whether it be 100 words a night or a page a day edit. Set a realistic target for your lifestyle and STICK TO IT. If it is realistic then you still have time to dabble in other things ie. competitions, postings, twitter, facebook etc. Don't make it to the exclusion of everything else unless you know you have that stickability to carry it out.

2. Motivate yourself.
 This can be with a treat at the end of the week/month/word count or what ever.
Tell yourself that if you finish the set task you will allow yourself a two day stint of nothing but reading. Make the treat something you yearn to do, but never find the time. One hour to plot out that short story, surf the net for competitions, scan twitter for fun or just eat that chocolate. If you know you have something waiting at the end of your writing stint then finishing will be even more delicious.

3. Schedule your time.
 This is a vital tool and one you should learn and put in practice. If you have little in the way of self control and get distracted easily then schedule every 10 minutes. Write the increments down and fill every box on what you plan to do. Then as the minutes tick off just think how good you will feel. They soon add up. If you have willpower in baskets then your schedule might be for a few days or even a week. The idea is that if you see it all written down and then don't complete it the guilt will make you try harder to get your procrastination under control.

4. Value your work
This may sound like self affirmation rubbish, but if you don't believe in what you are doing and treat it with the respect it deserves then how do you expect anyone else will. You are carrying on the business of writing. It is a job, albeit a very enjoyable past-time. Don't say 'it is just a short story, a bit of writing, a dumb manuscript. It is your work. It took time, dedication and skill. These attributes will shine through your writing. I liken it to smiling on the radio. When I was reading the news on radio I used to smile. The tone changes and the listener can feel it too. If you value your work it will show. All your effort won't be for nought. The buzz you get from seeing your words take shape will spur you on to complete your writing.

5. Don't sweat it
Don't try and flog yourself if it isn't working. Go and write something else, do a crossword or take a walk. The laboured effort involved in trying to write when it won't work will show in your work. Write a bit of poetry, flash fiction, a tweet, a facebook post or a short monologue a vignette. Those creative urges will return. There will be times... don't beat yourself up about it but realise the hiatus for what it is and get on with something else using the tips above. I often have two or three projects on the go and then if I become stale I can flit to something else.

6. Just do it
It is the incurable itch, so go scratch.

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  1. Good stuff, Hettie ... now if I can just get past step one ...

  2. A cattle prod is a useful tool...


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