2014-08-31

Time Management

Most writers have day jobs and that means a writer must struggle to find time to write. Time management is a primary requisite for being a successful writer. I get up for work at 0500 and I typically begin my workday at just before 0600. I sit in front of a computer and write code, attend meetings, read programming books, and sometimes just sit and think about how I'm going to solve a particular problem. I have no time for writing while at work. I am home anywhere between 1500 (that's 3:00 PM for you non-military time fans) and 1600. If my wife is not home, I write until she arrives. Often, she is over visiting her mom or out of town seeing a movie or spending time with a friend. If she's home, I spend time with her. My wife is usually home in the evening and that's family time - the writing computer remains closed.

Weekends and vacations are when I get most of my writing done. I always get up before my wife and the 2 to 3 hours in the morning before she get's up is when I do the majority of my writing - this blog included. I continue to write while she goes through her morning routine. Most Saturdays, we drive to the Barnes & Noble store (about a 30 minute drive) where I get more writing done. I usually go with her to visit her mom (she's in a nursing home across the street) and sometimes I will walk back to the house to either write or do household chores (mowing, cleaning, fixing, etc).

If I'm working on a new project, I think about the upcoming scenes pretty much any time I have a free moment. I think while driving to work, showering, mowing the lawn, and almost any time I have a few free moments. Putting those words into the computer happens whenever I can find the time. I have a laptop that is synchronized to my desktop via Dropbox. If I happen to find myself with 15 minutes of free time I pull out the laptop and start writing.

When you add up all the little times available throughout the week I probably manage to log about 10 to 15 hours of writing each week. This has allowed me to write one book every 8 to 11 months. So, when you hear an aspiring writer say "I just don't have the time to write", tell them they're wrong. I do not watch hardly any television other than in the evenings with my wife. I do watch Falling Skys. My computer records this show and I watch it when I am eating or 10 to 15 minutes at a time while my wife is out doing something else. She is not a fan of science fiction. Reading is often done in the bathroom (isn't that the favorite secondary activity that takes place in that room?). The books I read are on my cell phone and I read when I have a few minutes (waiting in line, bathroom, etc.).

The bottom line in all this is that there is time available to do things -- you just need to know how to properly manage your time. I am rarely idle. Even when someone might think I'm just sitting around my brain is working on the next scene of my current book. I don't spend hours on the internet, I get my news on the way to and from work. I read my Twitter while eating breakfast and then catch up in bits and pieces during 2 and 3 minute breaks throughout the day. I don't check my Facebook page and Google+ is pretty much for outgoing stuff only.

I will be out of town in a couple of weeks for work-related training. Instead of joining the rest of the group at the bar in the evening I will be spending my time in my hotel room working on my writing. You have to set your priorities. If you want to be a writer, you're going to have to give up something to make that dream come true. Find the time to write. Find the time to read (because reading helps a writer become better). Manage your time.

And now I'm going to manage mine by closing out this entry and getting back to editing Peacekeeper 2. I have about 100 pages of 1.5 spaced type left. My wife is making a dent in her portion of our editing process. The book is nearing completion. I'm still waiting on a decent cover from the person who does my artwork. I will keep you all informed of the progress.