1. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    Time management

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Nervous1st, Aug 16, 2010.

    I would like to know how everyone divides their time when it comes to their writing. Research, reading, writing, any study to do with writing etc. I’m interest to hear from those who have limited time.

    Sometimes after work, I’ve cooked dinner, put the kids to bed and I have a spare hour, I try and divide my free time. Sometimes I waste an hour and other times I’m more productive. I’d imagine everyone would be in the same boat.

    It’s easy to say ‘I write when the inspiration hits’ or ‘I write whenever I feel the need’ but for those with busy schedules, how do you manage your time?
     
  2. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, once my schedule gets busier next months, I might not be able to write any more. In the past, I basically just did what I had to as the need arose for it.
     
  3. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I waste too much time myself, but many writers would favor using at least three-quarters of that hour writing, only 15 minutes editing (if you must) and none researching. Why? Because once you click on wikipedia, it's hard to drag yourself away, and it's much better to just put NTFO (need to find out) in the paragraph, write a little note on a separate piece of paper, and look it up later.

    Alternately, spend 6 days a week writing, and use the 7th to edit / look up the NTFOs. Or if you write 5 days a week, use 4 to write and 1 to edit / look up NTFOs.

    If you have very little time to do business research - meaning, looking for short story markets or getting advice about how to write as a job - then use a two week schedule. 8 days writing, 1 day editing, 1 day looking up Kris Rusch's Freelancers Guide or your favority writing blog.

    The writing is the important thing.

    One last note: be wary of writing that isn't productive. (Obviously I'm a total bloody hypocrite here, but anyway.) By that, I mean be careful that you're spending more time writing your stories than writing on WritingForums. This place is great, but it's also a great excuse and a timesink.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    This = Truth.
     
  5. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Well, my writing time I spend writing. Writing is my job, so most of my "work" time is spent doing the actual writing. I probably also kill at least half an hour a day on admin type stuff (making sure stories and novels are all out on submission, updating files, etc.). If I'm in the stage of editing something I set aside non-writing time to do that as well.
    As for the thinking about stuff time, that's all the other times :) I wish I could shut my brain down on occasion.
    I also spend probably too much time reading about writing, networking, etc...
    And I spend easily twice the amount of time reading books that I spend on all the rest of this. Reading is my haven, but now also a nice tax write-off part of my job! :)

    I think time management is very important if you want to be a professional in any field, but especially a freelance field. Even if it is your second job at the moment, it's good to develop some time that is scheduled so that writing doesn't get shoved onto the "do it when I find a spare moment" burner. Figure out how much you want to get done to reach your goals, and then figure out how many hours/days/etc it will take to get that done at your writing pace. Then carve the time out and make it important. My two cents.
     
  6. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    For me, this is how it works out;

    *1 day researching
    *5 days writing
    *1 day editing
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do whats needed it depends where I am at with the book, I don't edit first drafts at all unless I am deleting to alter the story or to work in new inspiration. I personally don't see the point in editing work that could be deleted. My subsequent drafts of my first novel were not remotely similar to my first ones. Right now at the start of a new one I am just writing. Once I have a chapter that is staying I edit it everyday before starting to write, usually by the time the next chapter is at that stage the editing is mostly done and its just a quick scan through the chapter before. Research I do as when needed, but doesn't take long for mine most of it I can just makeup if necessary.

    I home educate so my kids get a lot of my time I try to work whereby I give them 15-20 minutes of my time every hour. I am getting more time to write right now because my husband is helping me prepare my first one for publication. Next week I need to start packing for moving house so it won't be so much lol
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i started writing seriously [my own stuff] and for money [private clients of my writing consultant business] while still single-mom-raising the youngest 2 of my 7 kids [daughters 4 and 10 at the start], and running our huge [6,000 sq.ft.] 3-story beachside home as an upscale rooming house [minus meals], to meet the mortgage...

    at the same time, i was overseeing much repair and renovation work on the house and grounds and supervising the housekeeper [often brazilian with little english] with whom i traded free living space for a weekly cleaning, plus schlepping the girls to ballet/acting and riding lessons respectively, as the youngest had her heart set on dancing and dabbled in acting on the side, while the older was olympic riding/jumping material, according to her coach, so that also included having to own her own pony...

    i was also very active in the town's [westport, ct] cultural life, serving as board member on the arts council and often entertaining in our home for both that group and the westport country playhouse... and writing occasionally for the local newspaper...

    so, between [and whenever possible, during] all the lessons-schlepping, toe-shoe/costume-sewing [i was the ct ballet company's costume lady on a couple of tours], dance-performance/horse show-attending, famous-folk-feasting, client-coddling, divorce-mess-court-wrangling, et al., i wrote!

    needless to say, in such a life, 'managing' or 'scheduling' time to write was simply not possible, even if i was one to 'schedule' things, which i've never been... to cut down some on the schlepping time, i had a ballet barre and mirror installed, so lessons could be given at home, when the dancer got beyond what she could get out of group lessons [until she was accepted at SAB in NY and we had to move there, till the dorms were completed, with me commuter-training back to the house weekends to keep that running]... and i kept a pad and pen stuck on the dashboard, so i could jot down things while i drove, even resorted to using a voice-activated recorder, so i wouldn't lose ideas/dialog/whatever while driving here, there, and everywhere... i was never without paper and pen, worked on my writing no matter where i was... and i paid a typist to do up my mss cleanly, which saved more time, but got to be too costly, which is when i took the terrifying leap to a computer [this was in the 80s, when they weren't ubiquitous yet]...

    my kids knew mommy was a writer first and foremost [after being a mommy, naturally] and would bring me food when i was working 18-20 hr days for weeks, on a book or screenplay, or rush job and lost track of time, forgot to eat... they'd leave me alone otherwise, a trade-off for me supporting and enabling their own 'professional' needs... i slept with a notepad and pen next to me on the bed and could write pages and pages in the dark, when i'd wake in the middle of the night with an idea... i'd write in bars and restaurants, on the train, in the middle of shopping, in the dark during dance performances, at the hunt club while waiting for my own jumper's turn, and in the tub [with an ice-bucketed bottle of chenin blanc within reach]...

    so much for managing and scheduling one's writing in a busier-'n-bleep life, kids!
     
  9. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    I dedicate only very little time to anything but writing. Editing as a post-writing process for catching typos and stupos comes quite at random depending on length and importance of a story.
    From my work of editing movies I know that one can't keep editing forever. It's all about finding the right time span and then just cut it right at the end. Perfectionism doesn't pay.
    I have a lot of free time so it happens often that I write more than 8 hours a day.
    I also try to read but I don't read daily. Mostly for like an hour or two a day. I don't have kids so my time schedule is as flexible as a rubber backbone.
     
  10. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    Thanks for your replies everyone, there's some great advice there, which I'm going to try. I think about the story all day, so I'm going to give the voice recorder a go, that's a great idea, thanks!

    Must. Not. Open. Internet browser.
     
  11. Bad_Valentine
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    Bad_Valentine Member

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    Just replying to this because you mentioned this thread in another related thread, Nervous ... but have you tried Dark Room? its a free little program you can download thats specifically for writing without distractions. It looks like the old fashioned black computer screen with the green text. Useful and nostalgic. ;) There's this great website called "Work Awesome" that has one entry on July 13 called, "5 useful tools for productive online writing". I'm assuming I can't post links here ... hopefully this is enough info to find the article, website and software download online without the link.
     
  12. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That depends. I work full-time and then spend a lot of 'free time' playing music.

    I spent a lot of time writing was when I was just out of Uni. I guess it took a good 6-7 months of frantic work to write the first draft of my would-be-book. The editing came afterwards and (due to lack of commitment & life) took a long time, and was pretty much on and off.

    Research, very little. I guess reading a lot is my kinda research.
     
  13. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    My time is limited, where my resources are broad. To give myself time to write, I normally do my homework a few hours before my class start (I go inside the school's library). Then, the spare time gives me more time to write. I often stay up late at night to write, because I don't often need sleep (I sleep for about 6 hours per day, which is normal for me). On big projects like final exams and research papers, I would put my stories to the side and work on it until my final exam or research paper is complted. I have finales this coming Monday, and I have about 4 days to study. This gives me enough time to study during the weekend (which I start my stuying on Sundays because my readings for the test is fairly short). On Fridays and Saturdays, I could work on my book those two days, while Sunday would be the day of study time. That's how I manage my time.

    I hope this kind of help you a little bit, and wish you the best on managing your writing and school time.
     
  14. Masli
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    Masli Member

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    My tip is to use a computer without Internet connection. Yes internet can be great to 'quickly' look something up, but before you know it, you're also checking the news, your email, some helpfull forums (like this one) etc and you're writing time is up. :(

    Ever since I bought an old laptop, wich definatly can't handle Internet or any other games or distracting programs, I find that the time reserved for writing is actually spend writing.

    Luckily though I have a office job which allows me, during slow days where there is little work to do, time enough to do my research. I copy it all and send it to my email or print it out and bring it home with me.
     
  15. Hartnell
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    Hartnell Member

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    yep it can be difficult when you are a working person or in study. And the problem is that writing ( until a publishing contract flies through your letterbox) doen't pay the bills. So it can be a balancing act.

    I work as a staff nurse and am also building up my own business and trying to go for my writing. I am just trying to go for all three. It is no good being a pennyless writer if you have got a family to feed but at the same time you need to concentrate on your writing. I am on a weeks holiday at the moment so it isn't an issue but usually it is not easy. I do like to get up early and get some writing done before I go to work.
     
  16. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can make a living working one day a week, and still I feel I have too little time for my own projects. They're always huge, I work slowly and my obsessive perfectionism always sets the scope of things. If it's easy and quick, it can't be good. It would be nice if I could change that and spew out tons of work with all the time I have available, but my way of doing things is my way of doing things and it got me where I am with my profession, also.

    So, what's my point with this ramble? Perhaps that no matter how good we have it, we want more time for the things we like best, and that whatever work process that works best for us should be the one we stick to. Sometimes it just has to demand its rights.
     

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