My writing journal for Thursday, October 23, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.
No meetings today, thank goodness. That means that I can focus on catching up with my schedule. Lots to do.
I started with the mystery novel, as usual. It’s still going well. Although I’ve always thought that the expression: “the book wrote itself” was ridiculous, this book seems so easy. Maybe I should write a few mysteries under my own name. If they they all turn out to be this this much fun, it would be amazing. Words: 2,200.
Onward with the two nonfiction books. I send off more material to the designer; this will be the final batch of graphics. Words: 2,600.
Honey’s in a happy mood today. She can’t wait for her breakfast. I feed her, then eat while reading email.
I add most of the messages to which I need to respond at length to the “Today” folder in my email. I tap out brief replies to others, following the “two minute rule”.
Read that article, it’s excellent: if it takes less than two minutes, do it NOW. I tend to stretch two minutes to ten minutes occasionally. If something takes less time to do right now, and more time to enter into my schedule, and track, I do it immediately, if it’s practical to do it. Sometimes it isn’t, of course: you may be out and about, and all you can do is make a note of the task.
Writers always ask me how to get stuff done faster, and for processes to manage their writing time. Scroll down for some easy time management tips.
Next, it’s time for my walk. We’re heading into the warmer months, so I need to walk earlier. The temperature’s predicted to be 30 degrees today; that’s 86 in Fahrenheit.
Back again. I’ve got some copywriting projects to work on, for holiday sales. I like to create in batches. On one day I’ll plan, develop concepts and make notes for several projects. The next day, I’ll draft them. So I set my timer, and get to work.
Lunch at my computer, while reading social media. The challenge with social media is that it can get away from you. I’ve started to track everything I do, because if you don’t track, you have no idea about what’s useful, and what isn’t. I use a combination of Omnioutliner outlines, and spreadsheets to track.
Next, back to the copywriting projects. I work on them for another couple of timer sessions, then it’s on to blogging.
I’ve received a collection of images from a client. I open Photoshop to tidy them up, and get them ready for scheduling.
The afternoon’s flown by; it’s time to deal with email again, and catch up with phone calls. I do my daily review, and the day’s done.
Now, those time management tips.
Three easy time management tips for writers
We’ve all got the same 24 hours in our day. In the time you have for writing, you need to be as efficient as possible. Here are three easy tips.
1. Write it DOWN!
You’re a writer, so write everything down. At first blush, what seems like a silly aside can trigger powerful ideas for your novel, your Web writing project, or an exciting copywriting concept.
Writers think on paper. It has to be that way, because you can only keep a limited amount of information in your mind at any one time.
If you’re a slow writer, it’s because you’ve failed to acquire the habit of writing EVERYTHING down, and that’s unproductive in two ways:
- You’re not keeping up with the speed of your thoughts;
- You’re allowing your logical left brain to take over. Your left brain is not creative; it’s your inner editor, if you like. It complains too much, and hates your creative right brain — your left brain wants to be in control, and is power mad.
I know the left brain/ right brain theory has been debunked, but it’s a good way of thinking about complex brain functions.
The only way to calm your left brain is to write, even if you think you have nothing to say.
2. Use a timer: it forces you to concentrate
I usually work on somewhere between five and 12 projects concurrently. Without a timer, I’d choose the projects I love, and procrastinate on the rest. With a timer, I know that even if I’d rather be mowing the lawn, I’ve only got 25 minutes, and then it’s on to the next project.
Most importantly of all, a timer forces you to write. You’ll find that as soon as you set your timer, you start writing. Ideally, we wouldn’t need a crutch like a timer. I don’t always use a timer, but I often do, because it’s an efficient way to get stuff written.
3. Trust yourself. You know what you’re doing even when you think you don’t
It’s hard to learn to trust yourself.. Partly this is because your logical left brain wants to KNOW. Its primary aim is your survival, so it watches for threats constantly. If your intuition says “no”, your logical brain wants to argue about it. It doesn’t trust intuition, or creativity.
I know that trusting your creative self is difficult. No one achieves it completely — witness the fact that I’m kvetching about the mystery novel “writing itself”. All I can tell you is that if you trust your intuitions, you’ll be glad you did.
Trust is a huge time-saver. For example, over the years I’ve learned that if I get a “no” feeling about a client or a project, it’s in my interests to say no. Yes, I may miss out on some work. But if I persist anyway, because I want the money or the credit, or whatever, at some stage I’ll bitterly regret it.
Anytime I get a “no!” intuition from my subconscious, I pay attention. As we’ve said, it saves time. Always go with your gut.
Tip: a real intuition isn’t connected to any particular emotion. If you think “no!” and you’re scared, that’s just fear. Real intuition has been called the “still small voice”, because that’s what it is.
Try these three tips. You’ll get more writing done. :-)