Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Learning how to schedule your time as a writer — daily deadlines

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Everyone reading this who has NOT mastered the techniques of scheduling, daily “to-do” lists, time management, etc., RAISE YOUR HANDS HIGH.

Yeah, that’s my chubby little paw sticking up right there in the front row.

I’m going to assume that you naturally went to Suzanne Lieurance’s website, The Working Writer’s Coach, after she was a “guest blogger” via one of her excellent articles last week. You did go there, right? And you did sign up for her excellent daily email highlighting writing tips, “The Morning Nudge,” right? If you haven’t done that yet, you can sign up for “The Morning Nudge,” or “The Nudge” as I call it, right at the top right-hand column on her home page.

Go ahead. Go there and sign up now. I’ll wait.

Now. My point about the importance of scheduling is simply a reinforcement to her tip in “The Nudge” today. I quote:

“People always ask me why I’m not stressed out over all the things I have to do every day.

“My answer is simple.

“I schedule everything.

“Once something is on my schedule, I don’t think about it any more until the scheduled time for it.

“That way, I’m able to relax and focus on just one thing at a time.”

See why you need this nifty little daily boost in your writing life? I could drone on here about all the techniques I’ve tried and perhaps you’ve tried, too. I could tell you about spending literally HOURS roaming the Internet over the years looking for just the right Personal Information Manager (PIM) software. I could tell you the many times I’ve been confused trying to use Outlook and trying to use Time & Chaos, and a bunch of other fancy time management software. (If all the time management tips and software I’ve gone through in the last five years were like travel supplies and luggage, I’d be well equipped for a quick three laps around the world.)

But I won’t tell you all that. I’ll just give you the only two tips that have ever helped me schedule and organize my time and efforts as a writer — on those days when I discipline myself to use them. Here they are:

1. Write everything down when you think of it.
2. Look over all that you’ve written down and take it one step at a time.

Be sure to use lots of notecards, stickies, and scratch pads. That’ll create lots of random scraps of chaos to make you look and feel busy.

Seriously, tell us about your system. How do you organize or disorganize your writing life?

Disclaimer: This post has been brought to you at the urging of my Good Wife, St. Shirley the Encourager (I call her “St. Shirl” for short), who has been after me all day to get organized and accomplish something more than sitting here moaning about how in the world I’m ever going to accomplish anything yet today.
[tags]scheduling, time management, organizing your writing, advice for new writers, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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One Response to “Learning how to schedule your time as a writer — daily deadlines”

  1. Deborah says:

    I like using a large day planner. I always have one with either a full page per day or a full column down the page on each day, so that I can make lists, cross things off, etc.

    The trick, as with any time management program, is to LOOK at what you’ve written down later on!


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