It may come as a surprise to you, but there are only twenty four hours in a day.
I know, it’s a shock.
Unless you are a superhero (or villain, I don’t want to discriminate), you probably struggle to find enough time in those 24 hours to get everything done. There never seems to be enough time to go to work, look after your family, clean the house, (insert required activity here), let alone find time for hobbies or socialising.
I love writing. Struggling to get a story out of my head onto the page might drive me mad, characters not behaving as I want them to might have me pulling my hair out and I may have been known to compare writing with pulling teeth, but I actually really enjoy sitting down and making worlds come alive with words. It’s a creative task that gives and grows the more I do it. I could write all day long if I didn’t have other things requiring my attention.
However, I also want people to read my work. It’s easy to share my stories with family and friends, but I want to share them with a wider audience. That means I need to find a publisher – book, magazine, audio or anthology – which means I have to do research to find markets where my work will be a good fit. How long does that take? How long is a piece of string!
Even after being accepted for publication, I have to make sure readers, and potential readers, know that I have new work out there. That’s where blogging comes in, or sending out a newsletter, or contacting bloggers to read and review, or going on tour and signing books (haven’t had to do that yet!) . That takes up even more precious writing time.
With only a finite number of hours in the day to devote to writing, and not being able to get rid of the need for sleep – believe me, I’ve tried – how can I manage my writing time most efficiently and productively?
I love making spreadsheets and charts, so I have decided to break up my writing time into percentages. This makes sense, because I already do this when I’m writing a story. My ideal percentage is 70% creating and editing work, 10% finding markets and submitting and 20% marketing and networking.
Have I reached this percentage? No, not yet. I’m a work in progress, but thinking about it helps me to remember that I have a need for balance and that creating work is the most important part, because without it I have nothing to submit or market.
I know there are a lot of super humans out there who can juggle family life, working, studying, writing and doing lots of other awesome things in between without breaking a sweat. If you are one of those amazing people, please share your secrets with us. If you are more like me, and struggle to get everything done, please share your time management secrets with us as well.