Isn’t it a bit ironic that I’ve taken so long to write a new blog post, just after writing a blog post on procrastination? After all, procrastination is the number one enemy of writers.
But, onto the topic of the week.
Moving on from procrastination is something known as time management. In the past, I wasn’t very good at following my own advice, having abandoned three stories (one which had been rewritten three times, adding to about 150,000 words all up) and having numerous unpublished short stories (that I always delayed submitting to journals). Lucky, that’s not true at the moment, as my only vice is that I’ve got a sky-high pile of to-read books…
…and quite a few TV shows I’ve liked the idea of. Who is interested in The Walking Dead and Homeland?
There are always new things to read, watch or listen to. Don’t be afraid if you’ve got a lot of things on your to-do list. If your to-do list largely consists of reading Dostoyevsky’s greatest works and finishing chapter three of your novel, then don’t worry too much. Unless you’ve read Crime and Punishment’s first chapter 38 times and given up or you’ve been working on chapter three of your novel longer than a celebrity marriage. This is where time management comes in.
There’s a good site, not related to writing, where you can learn to turn yourself into the person you’ve always wanted to be. It’s called Personal Excellence. However, you can take tips from sites like these, in a writers context, by following the ‘How to Write a Novel While Living a Busy Life in the Real World For Dummies’ guide provided right here. Note: the book doesn’t actually exist.
If you can’t be arsed writing chapter three, then you have to ask yourself why.
- Did you write a chapter-by-chapter analysis and you don’t want that to happen now?
- Are you sick of your novel 5000 words in and want to give up?
- Are you living a busy life and can’t fit in writing?
- Is there some underlying issue, like depression that stops you from writing?
All of these have solutions, ones that might seem obvious and ones that might not. I’ll still point them out.
- Throw your notes away and write what you want. You can edit it later, but at least you’ll enjoy writing it. If you feel guilty throwing it away, hide it and take it out after you’ve finished the novel to see what you prefer.
- Write another novel. If you’re a criminologist who is writing a kids novel and is tired of it, base your experiences into a book. It’ll be more challenging (in a good way) to write and more realistic.
- Find time in your life to write, if you really enjoy writing. What about in between ad breaks, or preferably, when you’re usually watching TV? TV is a huge waste of time for writers, unless it motivates you to write. Alternatively, write when you take public transport or are waiting for a doctor’s appointment.
- If you used to enjoy writing and can’t muster up the enjoyment anymore, it’s probably time to see a doctor or have a heart to heart with a loved one to get to the heart of the matter. You can even write on your experiences.
If you really want to write, you will write. You will fit time into your life to do what you love, whether it be writing, gardening, spray painting gnomes or singing love songs to zombies.
Just remember, if you’ve got to write a report for work that’s due tomorrow, then writing your epic is not the greatest idea. It’s all about prioritizing. If you’re stuck, find the underlying issue. Once you’ve done that, it gets easier.
That’s it on finding time to write and stopping those nasty patterns that stop you from writing.
Next time, I’ll hopefully stick to one topic, or more likely get driven off topic by… I really want to write a short story now about someone who sings love songs to painted gnome zombies!