Sunday, April 05, 2015

6 Ways to Protect Your Writing Time

Why are we so busy all the time?  Yes, our lives are fast paced, drive time increasing. Gone are the days households can function on a single income, writers without a day job.  I am also convinced that there is another factor.  We want to be busy--we want to complain about, too.  Is this because the more busy you are, the more important you feel?

By worshipping busy-ness, you may be avoiding, or missing out on, writing time.  Do you fill your day with the distraction of being overcommitted?  Remember it is quality, not quantity that is the measure of self worth.

Yes, we have the day-to-day events that make up our lives and our work--things that must be handled.  We also have free time, vacant moments of time in our lives.  Before you jump in and commit this time evaluate the 'busy-ness' with the loss of writing time.

Important.  Is this a mini-ego trip?  If you do not contribute 3-dozen cupcakes to the PTA fundraiser, it will not be the end of the world.

Included.  Are you experiencing a case of FOMO, (fear  of missing out), so you shove your writing time to 11:00 PM?  Is this really in alignment with you career plan?

Productive.  Is watching the episode of Downton Abbey live, instead of capturing via your cable recorder to watch later, the best use of your time?

It is difficult to say no.  But being busy isn't necessarily being productive, or making the best choice for your path to publication.

Are you saying yes because you feel trapped?  Do you really wish to take on this task?

Often in the past, I felt like a terrible employee, mother, friend, etc.  I felt obligated to take-up the slack, finish that report, chair a church committee.  Yes, sometimes my abilities are really needed, but sometimes I wondered if I agreed out of habit.  Surely, not because I felt that the event would fall into ruin without my presence.

The truth: you are in control of your time. Only you can set your boundaries.

Six easy ways to snatch back your writing time by saying "no".

  • Blame it on the budget:  "unfortunately, that event does't fit into my budget this month."
  • Blame it on your schedule:  "that sounds like a great idea, but I really don't have the bandwidth to add anything else to my schedule."
  • Blame it on your priorities: "I'm on deadline on that magazine article, blog post, etc."
  • Blame it on family night:  "We are reading Jane Eyre, my fave novel, and trying a new English tea.  I can never skip family night."
  • Blame it on exhaustion.  If you are like me, you'd rather sleep standing up in the hallway like a Shetland pony, than admit to exhaustion.  "I need to relax and recharge," is an acceptable response for me.
  • Just say no.  After all, if you plan on a career as a writer, you must find time to write--and keep writing.  


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Connie,
Great blog. Yes I can relate to all you have written. We all like to think we are "super" people, but of course we aren't.



Connie Vines said...

Thank you Margaret. I am glad you could relate to my topic :-).

The Word Place said...

Oh, yes, I'm very protective of my time. I never mind saying, "I'm just covered over with stuff to do..." and it's true. I'm busier in retirement with my new writing "career" (tongue in cheek) than I was in a full-time job! Great post! (And I love the title of your blog, btw!)