Targets, Goals, and Scheduling
By Annette Rey
I’m always pressed for time. How about you?
Most writers have a real life they must live before they can nurture their writer’s life. And the tasks required to engage in their writing life are many and demanding. How do we find a workable slot in which to fit these tasks?
First, you really need to stop and evaluate exactly what you want to accomplish. Give each item a name. Blog. Study. Read. Write.
Now give each a period of time you’d like to give to each. Blog – once a day. Study – Two times a week. Read – 30 minutes every day. Write – a total of seven hours a week.
Look at the calendar of your life (a calendar can be a real writer’s tool). Where can you plug in the time required for each task?
Can you write a few blog posts at one sitting (taking advantage of flow) and schedule them to be automatically posted over a period of days?
Can you study writing-craft articles while commuting? If you drive, can you listen to audio instruction?
Can you read stories, articles, magazines, blogs on your lunch hour?
Can you rise earlier and write while the house is quiet? Can you write late at night? You might invest in an audio recorder and speak your ideas and drafts into it as you are driving or cooking dinner.
To visualize these things and to make a plan are most of the battle. Once you get these things into a concrete-mental format, they become relatively tangible, and manageable.
Try your plan realizing you can tweak it any time. Also, be forgiving of yourself when you fall outside your original plan. Just approaching a way to achieve your goals is an accomplishment. So give yourself credit for moving this far.
In order to know I am covering all the bases necessary to run a blog, educate myself, and write any of my personally desired works, I must schedule each item in a week’s time. If I don’t, I will overlook any one of them. And each is an important component of my goals.
To build my blog I must post as frequently as possible, at least daily. So far, I have not managed that, but I’m working on it.
I strive to know more and more, to plug the holes of knowledge where I lack. I’m continually checking word usage and punctuation to an almost paranoid state. So, I spend a great many hours a week, studying my reference books, assessing other writers’ works, and assessing my own.
Another goal of mine is to read a book a week. I do an immense amount of reading as detailed in the prior paragraph, but my educational reading goal is to completely finish a book. That may sound boring, but I find it an accomplishment. I have so many reference books and I love them. But some I have not opened, so it’s a real thrill for me to actually finish one.
I take notes as I read and put them in a notebook. For me, rewriting a finding makes it become part of me, and I can more easily recall it, and apply it to my writing. This enables me to pass the fact along to other writers as they ask me for advice.
If you live your writing life in a helter-skelter way, it’s likely you will not advance at the rate you’d like. Try this calendar idea. What can it hurt?
Tell me how this works for you. Tell me how you divide the necessary tasks in your writing life. All of us are different, yet all of us can benefit from the experience of others.