It’s easy to romanticize the life of a writer, but writers know it takes hard work and perseverance to succeed. You not only have to write, you have to research, query, self-edit, and market yourself on a regular basis. Writers often feel overwhelmed when faced with all these tasks. The following tips will help you better manage your time.
Set boundaries. Let your family, friends, and clients know you have business hours, and stick to them, whatever they may be. It may surprise you to learn you won’t lose business by letting customers know you can’t meet with them at 8:00 PM at night, or you don’t accept phone calls on the weekend. And when your friends and family understand writing really is work, they’ll be more likely to leave you alone during business hours.
Group tasks. Emails are a notorious time waster. Check all your emails around the same time, and try limiting it to no more than three times per day. Do it first thing in the morning, before or right after lunch, and at the end of the day.
Send out query letters on specific days, such as Mondays and Wednesdays. Save all your article ideas for the two or three days per week you’re sending out letters. If you write novels, the same principle works. All publisher submissions can be limited to about two days per week.
Make a list. A list is a great way to stay organized. It doesn’t have to be on a notepad, either. Type it in MS Word or list items on your smartphone. Do whatever it takes to note the items you have swirling in your head that need to be completed. You’ll experience a great sense of accomplishment as you gradually check items off your list.
Take a break. This is easier said than done, but it’s just as important as the previous tips. Set aside weekends or certain weekday evenings to feed your mind by reading. Or maybe you just want to go to a movie, join friends for dinner, or spend time with your family. It’s OK to take a break, decompress, and enjoy your other passions in life.
Ophelia Maynard is a Project Manager at Freelance Assistance, LLC. She can help you better manage your time by checking emails, taking care of items on your to-do list, or coordinating author events such as book releases, speaking engagements, and workshops. Writers also benefit from her proofreading and research services. Send an email if you have questions.