With the beginning of fall and everyone returning to a more normal schedule, you’d think there would be more time to write. Not necessarily so when you consider school prep, after-school activities, errands that still require running. And, for the writer who works outside the home office, it can be even more hectic. As pesky as those family members were to have around all summer, fitting writing into a busy fall schedule can be just as daunting.
Here are few simple suggestions that can apply both to the writer and to the busy, working mom.
Make Lists. Whether it’s first thing in the morning before anyone else is out of bed or last thing the night before, prepare a list of the things you need to do the next day. Whether work related or writing related, a list of tasks gives you a starting point for everything you need to accomplish within a given time period. Keeping yourself organized is key to finding the time to write. As well, there’s an added benefit in the satisfaction of ticking something off the list once it’s completed. Accomplishing even a few small tasks can keep you motivated to move onto the next.
Celebrate those Small Achievements. Set smaller, more easily attainable goals that can be completed throughout the day. Then, once that goal is attained, reward yourself. Maybe with nothing more than an extra cup of coffee, a short walk, a few minutes to read. Just be careful to balance the celebrating with the actual work.
Stick to the Easy Stuff. A long list of tasks can be overwhelming. Unless there are specific time requirements, begin with the smaller tasks first. Clearing off half the list will not only encourage further completion, but also will help prepare you for the bigger tasks that still lie ahead.
Mix Things Up. Don’t follow the same routine every day. Boredom is a killer of accomplishment. If your usual routine calls for writing in the morning and errands in the afternoon, change it up. Reverse the order. Run those errands and then return to your computer with yet another task removed from the dreaded list. Mix up your writing habits as well. If there’s a task you ordinarily put off, e.g., the dreaded blurb, do that first. The rest will seem easy.
Group Work. Whether it’s a writing critique group, or the assistance of your family, don’t get stuck in the rut of thinking you have to do everything yourself. Ask for help if necessary. When the task of making the evening meal comes up, don’t assume you have to do all the cooking. One of the things I enjoy most is cooking and yet I welcome the help of others even if it’s something as simple as prepping a salad. It’s the same with writing. Brainstorming with others can lift the burden of a difficult scene and cut your writing time in half.
Evening Recap. It’s always nice to sit back with an evening cup of tea, put your feet up and review those lists. Rejoice in what you accomplished, reconfigure what didn’t work out so well. Gear down. Don’t go to bed thinking about the chapter you didn’t finish or the blurb you didn’t write. Or the load of laundry that’s still sitting in the hamper. Instead, occupy your mind with something that will relax you. Play a word game, read a few chapters of someone else’s book, watch something totally frivolous on television.
Sometimes the best way to improve productivity is to think less about being productive.
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It’s time for me to check “blog column” off my list and get back to my current work-in-progress. For those of you who might be looking for an entertaining read for that gear-down time, may I recommend…
Publicist Teri Hunter has her hands full promoting Professor Joshua Cain and his new non-fiction book, The Pharaoh’s Mummy. She’s not convinced it’s even possible to turn this absent-minded, modern-day, Indiana Jones into a best-selling author.
Dr. Cain’s PhDs in archaeology and art history have prepared him for almost anything on the lecture circuit and among ancient ruins. He’s just not sure about a book tour…or the sexy publicist sent to monitor his every professional move.
When an odd request falls in their laps while in New Orleans, Josh and Teri find themselves transported to 1920’s Egypt where they must resolve an ancient curse in order to be sent home. Will the dangers facing them hinder their success and threaten their very lives? Or will help from an ancient guardian keep them on-track and safe?
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Until my next turn on the blog, happy reading, productive writing, and best wishes!