Schedule Your Writing Life
“I Need Coffee” is a monthly column on Huffington Post Books. INC (the initialism is deliberate) covers all sorts of writing topics, with an eye toward how to make a living writing.
Do you remember that song “Respect Yourself” by The Staple Singers? No?
Good gracious go listen to it canada goose outlet vancouver right canada goose outlet in chicago now. Here’s a link to it on Youtube. Starting at 2:21, your life will be changed forever. We give away our work for free.
We could use a little self respect. You can schedule your writing life.
canada goose black friday sale I get a lot done in a day. I also have two small children (ages 5 and 6 don’t ask) and a husband who works long hours in another city. I don’t have a choice but to run a tight ship. Heck, I run a nuclear submarine. The only way I can get anything done is to schedule my work down to the minute. canada goose black friday sale
canada goose factory sale I bet many, if not most of you, are just as busy as I am. canada goose factory sale
Even though I don’t punch a clock or show canada goose outlet canada up at an office at a designated time, by scheduling my work, I show myself, and the world, that my time is valuable. I respect myself by scheduling myself.
canada goose coats on sale Here’s what I use canada goose outlet seattle to schedule my work (and home) life. I use a calendar software that syncs between my laptop and phone, and I use a to do list software that does the same. And, I use them together. canada goose coats on sale
canadian goose jacket When I was searching for calendar software, I knew it needed to have certain functions in order to work canada goose outlet usa for my household and professional life. canadian goose jacket
Here are some other nice features about our software: I’m able to decide which calendars are visible at any given time, which means that I don’t have to view his work calendar all the time. But if I do want to view his work calendar, I just have to check a box and it appears, letting me know if he and I have a conflict, or if he’s going to be out of town or working late. He’s able to do the same with my work schedule.
Using this calendar software, I schedule my work days down to the minute. (I’ll get to that technique in 2 of this list.)
buy canada goose jacket Now, to me, a calendar doesn’t make sense without a to do list. Some people use paper for their to do lists. I use software. The to do list software I use syncs between my laptop and my phone. It allows me to create “projects,” and each of those projects has its own to do list. Each of my books is a project, plus each of freelance article I write, plus other freelance gigs, plus writing coaching and editing projects, plus “home” being a parent is a job after all and more. I can assign each task and each project a due date and a priority. buy canada goose jacket
Next, let me explain how my to do list and calendar work together.
That’s ridiculous. Instead, you need to break the writing of your novel into tasks that can be done in two or three hour chunks. You can even go canada goose jacket outlet uk smaller than that. Try breaking writing tasks into a certain number of words. Or a scene, or a chapter. Or an outlining task. Or the writing of a character sketch.
There are many 2 3 hour tasks that go into writing a novel. Put those tasks on your to do list. And if you use software, you can add them all (and there are many), and the to do list won’t get unwieldy. That’s because good to do list software only shows what tasks you have to do today.
Canada Goose Coats On Sale Now that you have your tasks created, it’s time to schedule them. Here’s how I do it. I create a one, two, or three hour block of time on my calendar and type a task into it. Then, I schedule the next task, and the next, until my day is full. Plus, I always set alarms to go off at the start of a scheduled task so that I know when it is time to wrap up the task I’m working on and move on to the next. Canada Goose Coats On Sale
(The alarms also help me not get sucked into a Twitter vortex once I complete a task. They keep me focused on my work.)
I tend to schedule my tasks for an entire week, or for at least a canada goose outlet couple of days in advance. I do leave some open time in the afternoons for last minute meetings, but not much time. I’m not always available just because I write full time. I have deadlines to meet.
Canada Goose sale When someone asks for a meeting, and I have that time blocked out for writing, I tell her I’m not free. Because I’m not free. I’m working during that blocked out time. I have a job to do I’m writing. Canada Goose sale
I respect my writing, and myself. I never had a enough time for anything.
I ate while running (literally running) down the hall to class. I removed all chairs from my office because I never had time to sit down, plus I was tripping over them because I wasn’t looking where I was going. I was in a constant state of needing to pee because I never had time for that either, which made me very crabby and also made me talk canada goose jacket outlet sale really canada goose outlet phone number fast.
Canada Goose Jackets It wasn’t a pleasant existence. Canada Goose Jackets
A wise professor colleague sat me down (she got me to sit down!) and told me that I needed to buffer my time. I hadn’t heard of buffering before, so she explained it to me. I’ve since searched the term on the internet, and lots of people use newmediadoc it.
Basically, buffering means leaving small cushions of time between scheduled events so that you have time to pee, time to eat, time to take a break, time to check in with the people you love, time to do anything but work. Sometimes, it’s nice just to go stand outside for a canada goose outlet mall few minutes and stretch.
Canada Goose Parka So, as you schedule your tasks on your calendar, leave 15 minutes between them. If you’re feeling daring, leave 30 minutes between them. I leave 30 minutes because I like to live on the edge, and also because that gives me some spillover time for the prior task if I misjudged how long that task will take Canada Goose Parka.