Home > Thoughtful Thursdays > guest post: time management with Rachel Horwitz

guest post: time management with Rachel Horwitz

Today for ONI’s Thoughtful Thursday, we have a guest post from Rachel Horwitz!

I’ve always been a pathological planner. It’s not that I’m obsessed with organization, one look at my desk and you’ll discover papers strewn about and a vortex of missing items behind my printer. What I do is plan. I write my plans on calendars; I tell them to my friends and family; I pace around discussing them with myself. Even after I obtained a planner, I still felt the compulsion to manage my time perfectly.

As a busy person, the need to plan is a curse. Appointments and projects to schedule on top of that nagging meeting that always changes times. As a writer, it’s a blessing. I’ve noticed how plenty of my creative peers struggle endlessly to find time to write without other priorities getting the top billing. New writers have it the worst. They flounder about their commitments, gasping for air, when in reality, time management is one of the simplest things an aspiring author can do. And you don’t have to be in a state of constant planning like me. Here’s how in five easy steps:

  • Step 1- Review Your Schedule. Take a look over your current obligations. The times you work. Your dates with friends. Bringing children to sports practice. Whatever your current plans are, be aware of them, but not afraid of them. Even if your time seems full, there is also room for writing.
  • Step 2- Make a Writing Strategy. Stick to it. Time to plan writing into your routine. Do you only have room Saturday afternoon? Pen it in. Yes, in pen. Once you choose a time to write, much like exercise, keeping to the schedule will eventually build the habit into your life and it will no longer feel like a chore.
  • Step 3- Treat Writing as Priority #1. It is easy to complete the first two steps and fall off the wagon. If you treat writing as a hobby, a relaxing little game, then you will likely have trouble finishing your book. Writing is now your job. You don’t skip out on plans to write, just as you wouldn’t miss an important conference at work.
  • Step 4- Responsibility and Accountability. The story won’t write itself. As awesome as that would be, it won’t happen. You are responsible for achieving your dream. And since your adventure in wordplay is a solitary quest, don’t be afraid to find support and accountability in friends and family. With others cheering you on, you’re more likely to stay on track.
  • Step 5- Commit to Deadlines. With all your brilliant planning, finding time to write and keeping at it should be second nature at this point. Marking when you will write is one thing. What you must do now is choose your own deadlines. Want to finish that chapter by next week? Or the book by Thanksgiving? Do it. Don’t make excuses. Set your deadline and see it through.

Keeping your writing schedule up-to-date and revising it for new deadlines will ensure your work-in-progress is accomplished in a timely manner. Not only will managing your time organize a realistic plan for your writing, but it will facilitate the juggling of your various other commitments. In the end, you’ll have brought the kids to soccer, made lunch with your college roommate, bought groceries and presented your quarterly figures to the board. Let’s not forget, finished your book.

Author Bio: Rachel Horwitz is a recent graduate who weaves tales of sci-fi, spec and fantasy. Her current project is a young adult fantasy series that is being queried. She also blogs about the delights and challenges of writing at rachelhorwitz305.blogspot.com. You can find her on twitter @rachelhwrites.

Categories: Thoughtful Thursdays
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