3 Tips for Managing Your Time as a Writer
by Zoraida Cabrera-Mieles
A very popular myth about writers is that they only work when they are inspired. While inspiration is important, every writer knows that waiting around for the muse to answer the calling doesn’t always work. The truth is that making time to write is just as important as inspiration. If you always wait for the muse, you can go for a long time without writing. However, making time for writing can help eliminate any excuses that stop you from writing. Of course, since inspiration is still key, it’s important that you choose the right to write. Here are three tips that can help you make the time:
- Consider Commitments and Establish Priorities
Unless you live in absolute isolation, chances are you have more to do than just writing. You likely have a(nother) job and social and family responsibilities. Think about these and make a list of them. Then look at your list carefully and decide what’s more important than writing and what’s not so important. Having a list of priorities will allow you to be realistic about how much time you have in your hands. It might also give you an idea of what the most stressful times are for you and the times when you are likely to be more inspired. If you have too much work on Mondays, then maybe Mondays won’t be the most inspirational of days.
- Set Long-Term and Short-Term Goals
Goals can help in two important ways: a) they keep you motivated by giving you something to look forward to, and b) they keep you organized by giving you an endpoint. The best way to establish goals is by dividing them into long-term and short-term goals.
First, think big. Where do you see your writing going in a year or two? Do you want to write a novel? Have an edited poetry collection? After you’ve considered your long-term goals, you need to make them manageable. This is where short-term goals come into play. Decide when you want to finish that first novel chapter or establish a weekly word quota. Come up with a system that works for you. Think of these small goals as steps that will lead up to achieving the big goals.
- Make a Schedule and a Calendar
The best way to make time for writing is by setting specific times and dates. This is easier to do once you have taken into consideration the tips above. You can use Google Docs or the calendar your mom gave you for Christmas–whatever works for you. Make a daily or weekly schedule in which you set aside your time for writing. But don’t just stop there! Establish dates for beginning and ending your projects.
As you may have noticed, these tips do not establish any strict rules. Making time for writing may require some experimentation, and not all writers use the same methods. You need to find the system that works best to organize your writing time. What’s important is that you make the time and get those words on paper.
Zoraida Cabrera-Mieles grew up in the little tropical town of Hatillo, Puerto Rico, only to move to the cold land of Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in English and History of Art and Architecture. Many still ask her why she would ever leave the warmth of the Caribbean, but Zoraida wants to discover as many places (and probably also climates) as possible. She enjoys writing stories about everyday life with a strange touch or a magical twist. Besides writing fiction, her passions include going to museums, rambling about art and architecture, and drinking coffee. Zoraida enjoys writing about art almost as much as she enjoys writing stories. Sometimes she muses at Arts & Thereabouts.
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