By Christina Yother
Screenwriter William Goldman once said, “You have to protect your writing time. You have to protect it to the death.” I imagine most writers feel the same way. The time needed to be creative and put fresh words to page is precious and delicate. It’s much easier to embrace the distractions than it is to block out the world. Life often finds its way in to that time we’ve worked so diligently to safeguard. Learning to protect the time necessary for writing is just as valuable a skill as the writing itself.
Give yourself permission to say ‘No.” - Learning when to accept and when to reject is a tough lesson. It doesn’t matter if it is a lunch date or a favor for a friend, you must learn how to bow out gracefully so that the time you need to work is not inhibited. It doesn’t mean that you never agree to things, but learning the power of ‘no’ will help you manage the valuable work time, you do have.
Avoid Distractions - I recently changed the settings on my phone so that the only call that will come through during my work hours is the children’s’ school. This limits texts and calls that pull me out of the zone. I don’t have issues with being distracted by the Internet, but there are options to turn that off while you work as well. Give yourself a clean, uninterrupted slate!
Make a daily plan - Writing a to-do list of what you need to accomplish not only keeps you on task, but also helps to establish a routine to begin the workday. It doesn’t matter if you revisit the previous day’s writing or spend time outlining. It only matters that you have a plan.
Make writing a priority! If you don’t give your creative work precedence than no on else will. You must admit to yourself that your writing is important and commit to making it happen. Once a week, every afternoon - it doesn’t matter! Just make that valuable time a priority in your life.
Make yourself accountable - Setting goals, whether it is a daily word count or monthly page count, sets you up for a personal challenge. Taking it further and forcing yourself to be accountable for that time will help to keep you on target. Find a writing group or a critique partner and exchange with them on a regular schedule. Knowing you must send someone your chapters will help keep you focused on using your writing time as efficiently as possible!
Christina Yother is a historical and contemporary romance writer. She has been involved with writing, blogging, and social media for several years and earned a PhD in 2012 by writing one of the first dissertations to explore how women build community through writing online. She lives in small-town Georgia with her husband and three children. You can find her writing at www.christinayother.com or athttp://projectunderblog.com where she runs a submission-based collaborative writing blog that celebrates the smaller voices in the blogging community. Her first historical romance series, Hollow Hearts, is available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. Social Media links, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccyother Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccyother