This week, a few people contacted me to ask about time management when trying to finish a writing project. In fact, over the past several months, I’ve been hearing the question more and more. How do you find time to write? How do I finish my project? Tell me the secret!
Since, I’ve published eight books, written four novels, completed a dissertation and two thesis projects, I can offer some wisdom. Below you’ll find Practical Tips for Time Management and then a bonus tip for ways to motivate yourself as a writer.
Practical Tips for Time Management
Write during your most creative and alert hours. For me, this is in the morning. I write from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM on my non-teaching days. If you feel most creative and alert at night, write then. Save all the activities that don’t require creative work (errands, cleaning, other work responsibilities) till when you’re exhausted and don’t need creative thinking. I do all this boring stuff in the afternoon and evenings.
Schedule your writing like it’s an appointment with yourself. Don’t take any phone calls / texts / social media messages during this time. Make it a great time, too. Fix a delicious cup of coffee or tea, have snacks on hand, etc.
Don’t wait to feel inspired or ready to write. Those feelings will come as you get into the writing each day.
Always keep the document open on your computer, and feel free to dip in wherever you feel inclined. You might only have 5 minutes. And you might feel like writing a scene in Chapter 10 instead of working on Chapter 2. I often don’t write chronologically or work on just one chapter at a time.
Try to achieve a word count if that helps motivate you. Aim for just 500 words a day and see what happens. You’ll often pass this goal easily.
Bonus: However, as I’ve coached many writers over the years, I discovered that it’s not really about finding more time. The real issue? Confidence and calling. In other words, writers who feel confident and a sense of calling to their project work differently. They find the time to write; they stick to deadlines; they finish projects. So remember: You’re the one to write this project. And you can do it.