Time management is an important skill that can be difficult to achieve for authors. You can’t just hope it will happen, you need to work on it. This can be difficult when you have a busy schedule and you’re trying to balance work, school, extracurricular activities, and family.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to traditional time management. We’re told as writers to simply “make it happen,” and while there are times we need to push through, we shouldn’t force our creativity all the time.
In this post, we’ll be talking about how you can create a system that will cater your time to writing. It’s called “No Time Writer,” and it is a practical approach to help you set goals, meet deadlines, decrease writer overwhelm, and organize your time. This system is perfect for authors who feel scrambled!
No Time Writer offers a different perspective on time management because it has you start with your daily tasks. Map out everything you do in your schedule for the week. Once your tasks are completed, what’s left over? This is what I call your “time pockets.” Time catered to your writing. Go from “I should be writing” to “I get to write!”
Customization empowers you to take back control of your hectic writing schedule. No more comparing yourself to another author. Your process doesn’t have to look like theirs.
With customization, you can blaze your own trail and get your book done your way!
2. Uncover your writing average
How many words do you usually write in a session? 200? 400? 1000? Why is this important to know? Knowing your average takes out the guesswork and you know what to expect. No more “how many words should I write?”
Now that you have a customized schedule, you can backtrack how many words you need to finish your first draft.
Don’t know your writer average? That’s fine. Start with writing at least 500 words in twenty minutes. Once your time is up, take a break and try again.
What’s the number that keeps repeating for you? Even if it’s low, you can increase with practice as you develop your writer muscles.
This process is not uncommon for writers but not always used. You can write more in less time by sprinting. Once you finish for the day, you’re done. You don’t have to sit at your computer for four hours when you can finish your goal in two hours or less!
How? Set a timer for 30-45 minutes.
Why use a timer? This keeps you even more accountable and your focus increases versus trying to write without one. You’re less likely to browse Facebook or Instagram when there’s a timer going.
Again, because you have your customized schedule, you can write in the morning, midday, or evening. Whatever works best for you!
4. Know your limits
Some of us have huge goals as writers. Write 10,000 a week or 50,000 in a month.
It’s great to have ambitions and goals to challenge your writer skills, but is it possible it may be too far-fetched? What if you can only write 7,000 words a week? 5,000 a week?
What if you have an off day and can barely write 500 words? Does that make you a terrible writer? Of course not, but knowing your limits is crucial. Never overdo it and don’t exhaust yourself.
If 1500 words is all you can do in one day, that’s perfectly fine. One word is better than none and every word you write gets you to your goal.
Take breaks when necessary, realizing pressure and exhaustion might stunt your creativity.
5. Regroup when necessary
Distractions are bound to happen when writing. Your mind wanders, emergencies come up, or worse, you don’t “feel like” writing.
What do you do? Wait to finish your first draft “another time?” How many of us have said that and our books sat untouched for three weeks? Two months?
No sense in beating yourself up.
When this occurs, there’s nothing wrong with regrouping. You may have to adjust your goals or push back your completion date.
Keep in mind if you’re going the traditional route, reach out to your agent or publishing house and see if deadlines are negotiable. You never know if you don’t ask.
If you’re self-publishing though, you have more say over due dates. The date may change, but the goal remains the same.
6. It doesn’t have to be perfect
I know some writers deal with perfectionism. We want our first drafts to come out perfectly with little to no errors. However, we all know the first draft never gets published.
By the time a book goes live in stores, it’s been through many revisions. How many drafts did it take for you before realizing your story was ready to query or publish on Amazon?
So, another way to save time is to just write! Get the thoughts out of your head first. Don’t worry about grammar. That’ll come in the editing. Don’t worry about having the perfect book. There’s no such thing.
Just let your creativity flow. This saves time instead of nitpicking every sentence, which only prolongs your writing sessions. This is only your first draft, so have fun and let the writing process happen!
In closing, writing is a time-consuming task, and it’s tough to juggle your life and your creative side because of it. If you’ve been strapped for time wondering when you’ll finish your first draft, you’re not alone. Writing is difficult and not for the faint of heart, but hopefully by incorporating these tips on time management, you feel empowered!
Now what if I told you that there is a tool that helps you stay on top of your writing? Write more in less time! No Time Writer is an online course that helps you with your writing and lets you concentrate on what matters most. It helps you get your writing done efficiently, so you can be one step closer to publication. No more taking decades to write your first draft! Learn more at dariawhite.com or at our online school WIM Plus 2.0!
Daria White is a fictional author (sweet romance, cozy mysteries, and Christian fiction) based in Texas, a writer course creator, and host of the Writer in the Making podcast. When not writing or reading, she’s watching classic Hollywood movies (1930s-1960s) or listening to her eclectic playlist ranging from Gospel music to country.