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Mastering Your Time as a Writer

Time management is something which everyone needs to do. As writers, some of you might be brimming with ideas, be it for a particular scene or the arc of a plot, or even a trait of the character. Some of you might also be going through writer’s block and struggling to even come up with a single line that matches up to your liking, trying to fire up the embers of your inspiration, while many of you might be just working under stress of meeting deadlines. Therefore, to keep your sanity and your work in check, you might want to lean towards time management.

There are some ways which might come in handy and which can if not completely, but partially sort your life.

  • Determine Where You Are

In other words, observe how you currently work. Notice where you spend most of the time, or what you do that takes half of your time. Observe whether you are also separating your time for family, we don’t want you becoming a workaholic for something you love. Keep track for a week or so before making a routine or a to-do list.

  • Make a To-do List

Now, not all of us are good at following routines, but making a to-do list will at least give us an overview of what we are supposed to do. So get your pen and paper or hover to your reminder app and chalk out that list. Once you are done, you might be able to add what you have missed or see which tasks have more repetitions.

  • Setting a Goal/Deadline

Give yourself a deadline or a goal that might help you speed up the work. For instance, you might want to finish the character sketches of the main characters in two days. However, keep your goals realistic. The purpose of a goal is to keep you encouraged, not discourage you.

  • Reward Yourself

When you have achieved your goal, reward yourself just to stay motivated. For instance, you can order your favourite coffee or food, or maybe take an evening walk.

  • Tackle One Thing at a Time

Not all of us are multitaskers, those who are, lucky them. If you aren’t one then don’t start practicing it now. Tackle one thing at a time. Before beginning your work, think about what you have to do, that is, whether you should do the research work or whether you should make an outline first. This makes the tasks easier as you have a clear view of what you have to do. Cue the tasks as in, maybe start with the most difficult work, followed by a lighter task.

For instance, you can keep the majority portion of the day for researching and then maybe write a character sketch— hair colour, eye colour, something like that. Or you can keep the whole day for editing and get done with as much as possible.

  • Divide Your Work

Either divide it into small portions for a single day or a week. This is why a to-do list is important for you. Say if you are working on something for 1 hour or so, concentrate on that alone and not stray over to another task. Once that time is up, try to stop doing that task and move on to the next in the schedule.

  • Choose The Difficult Ones First

Opt for the difficult task when you have the maximum energy because if you back away from it and keep it for later then the outcome might not be half as good as you wanted it to be.

  • Choose Your Time

Choose when your mind works the most while writing. It could be at the late hours of the night or early mornings when the sun is just peeking from the horizon. You need to choose when you are the most productive.

  • Steal Some Moments

It might be that you work a day job or you have other obligations to fulfil and it might happen that you might not find a stretch of time for yourself and even if you do, you don’t want to open your laptop. However, you wish to finish the book or have a deadline to meet and in that case, steal a few moments whenever you can and write if possible. Get your phone out and make use of the notes app or any writing apps like JotterPad and type it down, or get a pen and paper and jot down your thoughts so you don’t forget.

  • Take A Break

Even though people commonly say, “You are a human, not a machine”, they don’t realise that even machines need a break. Don’t go on a writing spree and forget that you are a living being. Take a 5 minutes break and then get back. Set a timer to take breaks, but get back when that time ends. Maintain this discipline.

  • Find Your Nook

Find a place where you feel at peace while working, where you are least disturbed. It doesn’t have to be a space that looks right out of an Instagram picture, it can be anywhere. Your priority will be your peace of mind. If the house doesn’t work, but the library does, so be it or if a cafe works, that’s fine too. Who doesn’t want coffee to fuel up their minds?

  • Stay Away From Distraction

Nowadays, our phones have become our major distraction. Therefore, get that device out of sight or at least out of reach while you are writing. Try to avoid other distractions as much as possible. Use extensions on your browser so that it can block off any kind of notification from social media. This is the reason writing at a quiet place is recommended.

  • Use Outer Source

Get done with the stuff that isn’t your headache. For instance, if you have no idea how to design a cover, then just google and find freelancers or professionals who are willing to do it. You don’t have to keep it for later.

In the end, writing is something that flows freely. It’s a passion that some of you have chosen as a profession. The above tips are just a crutch, you are the one in command.

Need tips on tackling a writer's block? Get your hacks here!


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