Back to School and Your Writing Schedule
Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved
Back to school season is upon us and that means it’s time to get your writing schedule back on track now that the lazy days of summer are almost behind us.
Even if you don’t have kids going back to school, it’s a great time to get serious about your writing career so that the last two quarters of the year are productive.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Clean Up Your Work Area
Nothing puts the stops on motivation quicker than a messy work area. Clean out everything you don’t need to make room for all those exciting new projects you want to tackle.
Stock Up on Office Supplies
If you have a child going back to school you’re probably going to be visiting an office supply store anyway. Why not make a list of everything you need to stock up your home office for the next month or two? This will save you an additional trip to pick up envelopes etc when you’re ready to submit that next query.
And don’t forget to swing by the Post Office to buy stamps.
Create or Revise Your Contact List
Every writer needs to have one of these. Yes, it’s a time consuming task, but once it’s done all you have to do is add new contacts as you make them or update the information for your current contacts. I keep all my contacts in Microsoft Outlook. It sure beats looking for one business card in a pile of hundreds. And my contacts automatically feed into my electronic Address Book so I don’t waste time looking for a person’s email address when I need it. Just one click, and it’s done.
Now that you’re ready to start writing, here are a few ways to stick to your writing schedule:
Review Your Goals
Summer usually means we don’t set as many goals or try not to stress when we don’t meet them. It’s time to figure out what you’ve accomplished and what is still outstanding. Make a new to-do list and post it over your desk so you can keep it in plain sight.
Track Your Time
As a writer, you’re probably juggling multiple projects, performing research for assignments, and balancing all that with your home life.
Knowing where your time goes can help you accomplish more.
Whether you use a spreadsheet, time-tracking software, or a pencil and paper, record how you spend your day.
A sample of my day might look like this:
9 - 9:30AM: Answer/send emails
9:30 - 10AM: Eat breakfast
10 AM - 11AM: Marketing/Promotion
11 - 11:15AM: Short break
11:15AM - 12PM: Marketing/Promotion
12 - 1PM: Lunch and Laundry
1 - 1:30PM: Get Sarah down for a nap
1:30 - 2PM: Research Writer2Writer article
2 - 2:15PM: Short break
2:15 - 3PM: Begin first draft of Writer2Writer article
3 - 10PM: Family Time
10 PM - 12AM: Work on next chapter of memoir
12 - 12:30AM: Read books that need reviewing
Not only will this help you know where your times goes, it will help you get a handle on where time is wasted.
Write When You Feel Most Productive
I’m not a morning person. So, I don’t try to write in the morning. Ever!
If you look at my schedule above, you’ll notice that I do research and write for a short time in the early afternoon and then again late at night.
Each person has his/her own time of day when he/she is the most productive. That’s when you need to write. It might not always be possible, but do try to schedule your normal routine around your peak writing time if you can.
It might feel right to forgo a break to get more work done, but it’s not a good idea.
Regular breaks are important to keep you focused and healthy. Our bodies simply aren’t meant to be sitting down for long periods of time. And a short break might help you figure out what role that secondary character plays in your latest novel.
Make this back to school season a time to commit to your writing. With these few simple steps you’ll be ready to make the most out of your writing time.