Sunday, September 7, 2008

Time Management

This applies pretty much across the board, so whether you write copy, for print, online, or blog - no matter your form, media, nor method - this is for you.

Time management is always a top priority for writers. Though most every text you will read on the process mentions it, and several go into a little detail, the generalities are always the same. Basically, the Golden Rule is "make time to write." Followed, of course, by "write every day," "develop a schedule," and so on and so forth. Decent advice but hardly practical.

In any given day, I have an entire household to run by myself, at least 5-10 blog posts that have to go out (in order to meet advertising deadlines, etc.), two cats to care for who have (as late) stayed in trouble for tearing stuff up, at least one mini-drama, and a website to maintain. Of course, this is pretty typical of most writers' lives, and many even have full-time jobs outside the home they must maintain, families, school - the list goes on; still, this is fairly typical.

The list does not sound that long, but if you get into that "just" mode, I'm going to shut you down real quick ("Well, just break things down and do them one at a time"; "You just need to develop a schedule and stick to it"; "Just anything..."): there is no such thing as "just" doing anything except for crackheads. By that, I mean if they will just stop smoking Dope - however they do it, whatever they have to do to accomplish that much - things will get better; outside of that sub-"culture," no one can just do something to improve their life or station - if they could, they would have just done it already!

Taking only the first thing on the list, household chores, and breaking it down gives you a generalized agenda that would fill any normal person's day:
  • Wash dishes
  • Feed cats
  • Groom cats (fleas, ticks, etc.)
  • Empty litter boxes
  • Empty trash
  • Make coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Shit, shower, shave
  • Wash dishes
  • Vacuum living room
  • Check/handle mail
  • Clean one room or basic utility (toilet, kitchen, organize a drawer or cabinet, etc.)
  • Pay bills
  • Manage finances (check accounts balances, compare budget, budget/balances projections)
  • Usually run to store for something
  • Catch a particular TV show (I include this because it is part of my regular regimen)
You get the general idea - and that is just maintaining the household! I have to do that entire list almost everyday, without fail. Everything on that list takes energy and anywhere from 5-10 minutes, relatively speaking. That alone is a major chunk of the day and a fair amount of energy! You can see why some days, I simply do not feel like working, even if I really need to; many days I work whether I feel like it or not, but on no day do I ever say, "I just have to do it." Why would I? I know this already and were it that simple, it would already be done.

So there is no simple adage, platitude, or Golden Rule to impart here - just a basic concept I wanted to bring up to see what everyone else has to say.

Technically, I try to make at least one post on every blog (almost never happens) and either start a new webpage or maintain one currently published. But that is a whole other story in and of itself; there is marketing, promotion, networking, personal business, maintaining contacts... basically, most days consist of 12-16 hours and 18-hour workdays are not uncommon. And, like everyone, I have my lazy days where I literally cannot be moved to work on anything - dishes do not get done, showers are skipped, sammiches and a largely liquid diet are all the sustenance I get...

This results in a spate of flurried activity about once every month or two, when I literally spend 18+ hours working on everything and several things actually get done. I know that if I would just stick to the program things would get done in a more timely fashion and it would be easier to handle, but that simply is not possible for all sorts of reasons and we all know this.

What is your schedule? When do you find time to write? How do you handle it and what would you do differently, if you could?

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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