So you want to be a writer. It’ll be fun, they say. You can write in your spare time, they say. Write after work or school. Or on weekends. You have time.
That all sounds great until you try to write, and all those people start texting, messaging, and inviting themselves over, or inviting you out. Guarding your time to write is hard. Technology makes you more accessible than ever, so you need to make a plan.
Here are five behaviors I’ve adopted to maintain control of my writing time.
- Time Management through Scheduling
I’m a task list nut. I make and revise my to-do schedule on a daily basis, it keeps me on top of what needs done and when things are due. Lists also reduce time wasted wondering what to do next, and they make the most of my very limited time. Saying no to friends and self is hard, but it’s also necessary on occasion. When something is a priority, it has to be treated like one. I think of my time as if it’s money, limited and inevitably going to run. I can’t afford to be left empty-handed when it’s gone.
My love of outlining is pathological. I do workshops on the subject. I could write multiple posts on this topic. Pantsers? Feel free to skip to number three. Plotters: outlining will save you HOURS of wasted time. A few days spent on a rich, well-plotted outline is time-saving gold. I write a chapter a day using my outline. I don’t waste time re-reading yesterday’s words to find out where I need to start. I don’t waste time wondering what I’ll write today. I don’t waste time thinking up transitions or flow. The plan is in place, and all that’s left to do is write. Time saved. Huzzah!
- Setting fake appointments
Pathetic? Yes. Super lame? Absolutely. Does it work? YES. Unequivocally.
I write a number of random appointments on my calendar each month that are meaningless. They are pre-made excuses to say No. Can I meet for lunch? Not that day. I’m going bungee jumping. Watch your kids that night? Nope. I’m stuffing turkeys. Writing doesn’t make a lot of sense to people outside the industry, and that’s okay. If it’s easier to tell confused friends and family you can’t make dinner because you’re collecting pine cones, tell them that instead. Do what it takes, with love, and eventually, they’ll get it.
- Coffee-In = Words-Out.
Writing should probably be listed in medical journals under Main Causes of Sleep Deprivation. Sad, but true. Writers have busy minds. We cram for deadlines like college kids prepare for finals. So, find your coffee. Or tea. Or jogging. Or whatever it is that perks you up and keeps you going, because the nights will soon be long for you, my friend, if they aren’t already.
- Ask for help
I saved this one for last because it’s the hardest. Writing is exhausting. Completely mentally and emotionally draining. It’s not uncommon to get up from your keyboard feeling as if you’ve run a marathon, or been hit by a train. So, please, ask for help. Find a babysitter. Put an extra chore of yours onto the kids’ chart. Find a critique partner or other writerly person online to encourage and support you. Don’t try to do it all alone.
And that’s how I do it! Three kids, 10 years, and 42 published novels later, these five things have stayed true. If you’re in the market for a new cozy mystery series, I hope you’ll give Burden of Poof, available now!
You can download a free prequel to the series and see where it all began in When Bonnie Met Clyde, available here: https://outbound.julieannelindsey.com/g9UWwY7815kgbDCo
Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries: Book 1
Publication Date: September 15, 2021
An amateur sleuth named Bonnie and her kitty companion Clyde, with names like those, what could possibly go wrong?
Life hasn’t sparkled too brightly for Bonnie Balfour over the past few years, but a heart-breaking divorce has brought her back to her small rural hometown of Bliss, Georgia, and things are starting to shape up.
The proud new owner of Bless Her Heart—a second chance dress shop and boutique on the town square—Bonnie thinks thirty-eight might not be too late for a fresh start in life after all.
Until a grouchy old widow turns up dead in a pile of donations meant for Bonnie’s shop, and the town’s new detective pins her to the top of his suspect list!
To save her shop, dream and reputation, Bonnie must coordinate clues and stitch together the truth about her innocence, but the unreasonably handsome detective and prying eyes of the local gossip mill are fast fraying her nerves.
When a series of anonymous attacks begin to hem her in, Bonnie fears the real killer is fixing to make her his next victim. Can this amateur sleuth measure up?
Julie Anne Lindsey is an award-winning and bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published more than forty novels since her debut in 2013 and currently writes series as herself, as well as under multiple pen names, for Harlequin, Kensington, Sourcebooks, and Crooked Lane Books.
When Julie’s not creating new worlds or fostering the epic love of fictional characters, she can be found in Kent, Ohio, enjoying her blessed Midwestern life. And probably plotting murder with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Learn more about Julie at julieannelindsey.com
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