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Scheduling Time to Write

May 3, 2011

Most writers, especially those just starting out on the path of writing "professionally" cannot rely on our writing as our primary income. It takes time to make money writing. So writing is like a side job... a side job without set hours or set deadlines... and for your loved ones, a side job without a set pay period. It makes it difficult sometimes to help them understand why your "hobby" is more important than anything else they want you to do.(Such as watching them on the wii, wiping fingerprints off the wall, making them do their homework.)

 

And as people are wont, sometimes it is just easier to give in to their immediate need and postpone your dream. Don't! If you are truly passionate about writing, you cannot let this happen. As Diana Sharf Hunt said "Goals are just dreams with deadlines." Take your writing passion out of the dream category and set it in the goal category. In order to do this, you must set some time aside for this goal, you must set some deadlines for yourself, and above all you must educate yourself on this business. Yes, writing is a business. A very exclusive and very viable business.

 

Now, I am not suggesting you go out and quit your job. (At least not until you have your first publishing contract!) Nor am I suggesting that you put this above everything else. Kids gotta eat. But you do need to devote time and energy to it. Start by carving out a set amount of time each day for writing. The wheels get rusty if you don't. For those who work real nine to fivers and have family and other obligations, you may only be able to carve out an hour a week. For others it may be more. Do the most you can while still maintaining balance in your life. You cannot become a closet case and devote your whole life to writing. No one works any job 80 or more hours a week for long without suffering from burnout.

 

Maintain balance. I am currently a stay at home mom. I know that there is no way I can write while the kids are running around screaming and running amok. Once the kids are off to school I start a load of laundry and sit down to slug it out. Every hour or so I take a twenty minute break and get some cleaning in. I have several projects running at one time and I keep them all going by devoting a certain amount of time to them. I'll spend a couple of hours working on each one. Some get allotted certain days. For example Monday is blog day. After I am done with the blog I hit the other projects. Tuesday and Wednesday are book reviews and fiction days and Thursday and Friday are book reviews, marketing and non-fiction days. Weekends are for family, but often in the evening I will write.

 

 

I am constantly balancing my desire to lose weight, my desire for a clean house, my desire to spend time with my family and my writing career. There are some things that my family has taken shared responsibility for (chores) and some things that cannot be compromised. (dinner before 6:00, Scouts and school activities.) Although the balance is a slippery slope, it is worth it. With my first contract out there, even my husband sees it now!

 

If you believe in yourself and do the work, you can become a writer. It isn't really any harder than any other entrepreneur's work. And being an author is just like being an entrepreneur. As long as you have the discipline and commitment, you can do it. By setting attainable goals and deadlines (such as writing for two hours a day and having a first rough draft in six months) you can be on your way.

 

Until Next Time, 

 

Keep Writing!

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© 2013 MEGAN ELLIOTT