Springs Writers Director Scoti Domeij spoke Monday night at the May workshop on how to get a handle on your schedule and find time to write. Her program: Edit Your Life: Setting Realistic Writing Goals helped me this week.
Before I ever stepped foot in the Stone Chapel at Woodmen Valley Chapel Church, I typed out a list of all my immediate and upcoming commitments (family and church), then deadlines for in progress writing projects and a variety of events I want to attend such as the monthly Springs Writers group, toddler story time at the library, etc.
At the meeting, Scoti gave us a seven-page handout and a whole lot of real life examples of how to get our writing life organized.
We talked about things that sabotage our writing dreams? Lack of inspiration. Lack of trying. Lack of energy. Lack of persistence.
We identified excuses that sabotage our writing dreams? Mine. Well, almost a year after my son's birth, I haven't found my routine. I have a list of things I want to do, but haven't figured out when to do them.
Scoti shared a great chart — Sunday through Saturday with a block for each hour of the day. She encouraged us to make writing an excuse not to do other things. On the chart, we blocked off non-negotiable times that's scheduled each week. I marked off times for sleep and meal times. There is a lot of time left over for me to schedule for writing.
She shared a whole sheet on ways to track the time we spend online. Social networking is a drain for me as well as the internet research. Three sources to help you self-control:
- LeechBlock http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html — use it to block sites during your writing time.
- Time Tracker http://formassembly.com/time-tracker/ — Track the time you spend on tasks
- Rescue Time www.rescuetime.com — Allows you to set goals and block sites
Other ways to find time include taking an inventory of what you do and what you'll trade off to write. Scoti suggested looking at our excuses for not writing, our time wasters, obstacles that keep us from writing and ways we procrastinate. Then, look at things we love to do that we'll say no to so we can write.
We looked at areas we need to focus on to achieve our writing dreams? Like the number of hours we write, the genre we read, the queries we make and ways we advance our writing skills through books, conferences and critique groups.
Another big topic is WHO distracts us from writing. Do you have a Debbie Downer among your friends? Scoti shared 10 ways to deal with people who distract you from writing. My favorite: Set boundaries.
She also gave us a chart to track our goals. The rules: Create no more than three goals. Write each one in the positive. Make the goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
So, you don't need a whole new hour in the day. I'm glad Scoti shared all her time tricks. I'm using the 15 minutes (here and there) that I already have to write.
When do you find time to write?