Friday, August 16, 2013

Writing On A Busy Schedule

Yesterday was a very productive day, not only in the Djen world, but also with my friend, Jodi's manuscript. Without even realizing it, Jodi brought up an issue that effects a lot of new writers, trying to come up with time to write.

When you have a busy life, writing tends to get put on the back burner. Suddenly you have a deadline for your critique group so you try to get in some writing and, without a clear head, (because your mind is on a million other things) you send it on in hopes that it will not get too many markups. And of course, that's not the case.

Sometimes trying to write on a busy schedule seems down right impossible, but the last thing you want to do is not write. You love writing and can't wait for the opportunity for some quiet time, but it never seems to happen. This is when putting aside certain hours of certain days is paramount. 

We humans get caught up in day to day life and forget to set aside time for ourselves. To do the things we like to do. Whether it's reading, walking, taking a hot bath, whatever it is that we enjoy. Unfortunately, that includes writing. True, it is a joy for us, but it is also a necessity, if you are a writer.

Just like a painter or musician takes time, so should you, especially if your goal is to write a book.

She and I devised a plan for her to have that time to write, and without unneeded pressure. Jodi figured out when she could set aside a few hours on certain days and now she won't have to feel like she needs to squeeze in a whole chapter to send me. I told her if she only gets a few pages done, so be it. If, for some reason she has nothing for me on the week she's coming over, well, we cancel and reschedule. 

But if she finds she wrote extra pages we can always plan extra days to work on those, no pressure. Life's to short to not enjoy your love of writing.

There's been plenty of times where my critique partner's don't have a chapter and we just work on who did have one. You should never feel hurried when your new at something and are learning the skills to be successful.

Creative writing skills can be tough to master and until the new writer gets it, they need space. Take the time to allow yourself to learn what you need to learn. Before you know it, it will become second nature.

Are there any of you that are new to writing? I would love to hear your thoughts and know what obstacles you've come across. Drop me a line and we can surely talk about ways to help you.

Until then, have a great weekend! Take care, Lisa

6 comments:

  1. I've always found that two very difficult skills for people are writing and time management.

    Take for example the insurance brokers who work in our office. These are licensed individuals. They have to take courses and receive provincial licensing to do what they do. Unfortunately, none of that education involves writing or time management. It's always multiple choice because to do anything else would require far too much time to grade.

    The consequence is I see some of the letters and e-mails that the brokers send and I cringe. Horrid, horrid writing. We were recently (well, not so recently, since it's been nearly a year now) purchased by a large B.C. insurance company and we were provided this letter that we were to send out to a certain pool of clients to explain why their property insurance deductibles have gone up (the answer being that we live in one of the worst provinces for windstorms and hail).

    This was the company-approved letter. It had gone through many, many hands. Because we weren't up on the agency management system (a computer system that allows us to look up policies and fill out form letters with the click of a button), we got a copy of the letter and had to type it up ourselves so we could send it to our own clients. I took the liberty of making six corrections. I can't recall them all, but I do recall there was a comma splice and apostrophes used to make acronyms plural (it's ATVs not ATV's).

    This letter from a professional corporation that had passed through God knows how many hands. And still, it was rife with errors that I've known were errors since before I began college 11 years ago.

    Writing is a hard skill for many, unfortunately. And that's not even creative writing, but professional writing. There's a slight difference, though not much. It's all bullshit anyway, right? :D

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    1. haha! so true! It's amazing that some people have a degree and still can't write a paper professionally. I don't know if it's a hard skill or that they just don't care about it. It was the one class, besides history, that I excelled in, but I love it, that makes all the difference.

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    2. thank you Lisa for this discussion. Time to write ! It is always time to write...but then again.... a million other things to do...The morning just after waking up is the best time for me...or after morning sport : hitting the ball against the tennis wall, yoga...housework !
      I've just come back from Sunny Colorado.. (Denver, Glenwood Springs, Montrose, Red Mountain, Durango...) among other places in the States (Utah, Arizona, Nevada...San Francisco and New York) where I snapped a million pictures, on camera and in my mind's eye...all great inspiration....the time to work on all these splendid slices of living...that's tricky.
      I can't phone you and..just pop around to see you but if you leave comments on my blog..that would be great !
      http://writingsusanb-rouch.blogspot.fr/

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  2. Time management.

    In my experience, people really are terrible at figuring out how much time they waste in a day. I know I spend about 2-3 hours every day on social media. Does it benefit me? Probably not. It certainly isn't real marketing. It just takes up a lot of my time up, especially if I feel inclined to post a response (as I take a lot of time considering my response and often have to work around a blog system's arbitrary length limitations).

    One of my co-workers is a lot like that. She spends a lot of time browsing news sites when she should be working. She manages to get through a day's worth of mail in one week, while everyone else has dealt with each day's mail plus the stuff overflowing from her in-tray because we can't stand to see files heaped up all over the places.

    When others take a quote, they take the information and tell the client they'll call back. Then they plug in the information into our rating system, get the quotes, and call them back. This particular co-worker will keep them on the phone the whole time chatting them up while she should be paying attention to what she's entering. The end result? The other brokers do a quote in 15 minutes, she does one in 45.

    She also spends a lot of time chatting with clients while doing applications. And there's nothing wrong with being friendly, but one of the other brokers can do up a home, auto, and trailer app all in about an hour. It takes her 90 minutes or more just to do an auto app.

    Time management. It's not that hard to teach. You just have to make people aware of the various things they do that is consuming their time. Keep a diary of when you start and when you finish daily tasks. If you find gaps, figure out what the heck you were doing in those gaps. Maybe you were wasting time. If you can shift those blocks of time wasting around, you might be able to carve out a nice little pocket for yourself. Me time. Writing time.

    I tend to do my writing in the evening. Since I've been in the office for extra hours this week and next, that hasn't really happened, since I normally take care of the publishing aspects in the morning. Right now, alas, I have deadlines to make and so the publishing is taking priority right now, so there has been no time I have been willing to give up to right. Plus, I've been ill on top of that, so even the publishing stuff hasn't gotten done. Unfortunately, shit happens sometimes and you just have to accept that it does and get back to it when you can.

    And that's an important lesson, too. You have to understand that sometimes things happen beyond your power and that you just have to live with it. If that means you don't get much writing done .... c'est la vie.

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    1. Procrastinating is no excuse, either you want to write it, or you don't. either you care about your job, or you don't. Obviously the people that get the job done in a timely manner care for different reasons. Either money, or pride, but something motivates them. Some people would rather visit I guess.

      I have written about time management a few times on here. How to organize your life, but in the end, it's the person who chooses to follow a calendar or not. yes, things pop up, like the extra work you have been putting in, but at some point you have to do for yourself.

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    2. That co-worker would drive me crazy, Ryan. And unfortunately, as long as y'all continue to handle her overflow, she won't change. But I understand why you do it. :)

      Lisa, it's nice that you take the time to help newer writers like Jodi. ((((hugs))))

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