Friday, November 07, 2008

That time of year again

You would think I’d be better at time management by now. Unfortunately every year around this time my writing gets pushed aside by all the other things that need done in preparation for the holidays. Between shopping, planning menus and creating newsletters to include in my Christmas cards, my regular writing schedule takes a beating.

Not this year. Just like I’m already planning to insure my weight loss survives the party going ahead, I need to make concessions so my writing won’t fall by the wayside until January.

All it takes is a little planning and forethought on my part. Regardless of what else needs done, I should be able to find two to four hours each day to devote to writing. The optimal solution is to focus the first few hours every day on writing. I seldom start a day without a cardio routine. I already know if I don’t exercise first thing in the morning, I’m not going to do it. My writing needs to be a top priority too.

I think it goes without saying that it’s imperative you write something every day. Even on Thanksgiving Day when you’re planning for company and checking the turkey and shining the mirror in the guest bathroom, take a few minutes to write. End your day in the middle of a scene (or even in the middle of a sentence), and you’ll never be faced with a blank screen at the start of your writing session.

Have a target word count to aim for each day regardless of what else is going on. I know you have to be practical that some days you can’t reach that goal. So lower your word count on the days when you’ll be out shopping with friends or wrapping gifts. But still write something.

It’s okay to count planning, outlining and editing as part of your writing. You might find you need to allocate a day for coming up with ideas (brainstorming), a day for planning in more detail, then three or four days to write the first draft. Those activities are good to focus on while your watching the turkey or stuck in traffic on your way to the mall. Take a notebook with you. Instead of focusing on the idiot in front of you who missed the light, think about your heroine and her current problems. They are probably more interesting than yours anyway.

Happy writing. And oh yeah, don’t forget to get in that cardio time. You’ll feel so much better on January 1st.

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