Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Do you have 25 hours or 15 minutes in a day?

What would you do if you had an extra hour each day? Would you write? The extra day isn't going to happen, but you can make time to write in the 24 you have — even if it is in 15 minute increments.

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:
Track your time for a week or two to get a real picture of what you are doing. She suggested writing it down in 15-minute increments. During various times, I have used the same method to track daily food intake or my daily spending. After you do this, you can find spots to carve out time to write.

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?


  1. With all of my doctor's appointments, it's hard for me to find time to actually schedule writing. I should try some of these tricks and see if I can stick to a schedule...

  2. Sometimes, when busy, I was using a Dictaphone and then when I had more time, I could go back and get down on paper what I wanted. Having good options is necessary when time seems to boggle us down.

  3. Anthony, Sorry to hear about all of your appointments. I had one on Tuesday and took a notebook (shut off the iPhone). I wrote down some ideas for a story while I waited in the lobby.

  4. Logan, A digital recorder has been a good friend at various times. I typically email myself notes from the iPhone while out and about, so I don't forget ideas.

  5. I can always count on you for a great recap of the Springs Writers meetings! Wow, I wish I could have gone. Those sites look fantastic.

    Would you be open to having this be a guest blog on my site? I'd have to run it by Scoti to see if she'd be ok with it, too. What do you think?


  6. That's fine with me. We were talking about you and your blog on Monday after the presentation.

  7. Excellent recap, thanks so much! Scoti and I are longtime critique partners and I admire her so much! I hate that I have to miss SpringsWriters--but I haven't mastered the whole "Two places at one time" dilemma.

  8. I'll email Scoti and get back with you.


  9. Thanks for stopping by Beth. Sounds like you are very busy. I'm glad Debbie mentioned the Springs Writers group so I can visit when able. And, Scoti is awesome!

  10. Thanks for the tips. I don't have a writing schedule because I get sinus/migraine headaches off and on. I try to write as often as I can though...

  11. Jennifer that sounds like the perfect writing schedule — seize the time you have.

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