One of the biggest hurdles authors face when writing a book is time management. Oftentimes, authors go through the writing process wondering how and when they can find the time to sit down and write. But time management affects us all. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serial procrastinator, working author, or just a person who simply could use more time, time management skills can help you in all facets of your life. In this post, we’ve outlined 5 time management tips to help you be more productive in your writing and accomplish your goal of self- publishing a book.
Here are 5 time management tips to improve your writing…
1) Plan Ahead
One major stumbling block writers face is not knowing what to write about. You’ve probably experienced it at some point yourself. You sit down to write and your brain seems to be shut off. Figuring out what to write can take only a few minutes or what seems like forever! And just sitting there seems like such a waste of time. In a previous blog post, we highlighted 7 ways to overcome writer’s block, but here are two more methods that can help.
Take 15 minutes or so at the beginning and end of each day to list out some story ideas. Simply figuring out what you want to write about before actually writing will help you be more productive during your writing time. Set aside separate time, either early in the morning or after your day of work to do some brainstorming. This will give you fresh thoughts and help you plan out your story line.
You should also set separate time aside to conduct research online or in a library to compile all the information you need so you don’t need to fact-check constantly. When you’re in a writing groove you don’t want anything to stop you, and pausing to research something can ruin your momentum. After spending time researching everything you need, by the time you begin writing for the day, you’ll have an informed mind so you can knock out a specific chapter or section in your book.
2) Outline Your Work
When you first started writing in school, you were probably taught to create an outline for your story or essay. This should still be true in your writing today. By creating an outline that builds your story, you can clarify what you want to include and overall plot lines to keep you on target. You’re essentially creating a road map to direct your story.
You can then you focus more on your writing and character development, instead of what should happen next. This will help the clarity of your book.
3) Set Small Goals
Setting small goals in your writing makes accomplishing it seem more doable. This may sound counterproductive, but let me put it in perspective. Imagine you had to climb a massive mountain, and you had two ways of getting to the top. The first option is to climb the mountain in two hours moving swiftly the entire time. The other option is to move slowly but steadily, like the tortoise, planning breaks throughout the climb while conquering the mountain by the end of the day.
To me, the latter option sounds much easier than the first because I’m able to pace myself throughout the process. Large tasks can feel daunting, so giving yourself bite sized goals makes it feasible and gives you a consistent sense of triumph throughout your writing project.
As you’re writing your book, don’t think about it in its entirety. Plan your writing day by day to successfully plan out your writing timeline. Imagine your writing process as “I’ll write one chapter a week”, “Today, I’ll write an awesome introduction for Chapter 4”, or “my goal today is to write 500 words”. Your small victories will propel you through the largest hurdle; finishing your book.
4) Eliminate Distractions
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing the next best novel or a research paper for your English class, one of the most important time management tips to improve your writing is eliminating all forms of distractions. To put this into perspective, count how many times you try to grab your phone when you are writing. There’s always something to check on social media platforms, a friend to respond to, or a new hilarious video that just went viral. Your smartphone can be extremely distracting and can significantly reduce your productivity while working.
Start breaking this habit by simply turning off your phone or leaving it in a room where you won’t be working in. It’s easier said than done, but once you make the habit of disregarding any form of technology, you’ll stay focused and finish your work earlier than usual! Differentiate your work time from your free time and you will reap the benefits.
5) Reward Yourself
Good writing is rewarding in itself, but you can use other rewards to stay motivated throughout the process. Have you ever felt a lack of motivation? You aren’t the only one. Lack of motivation greatly slows down your writing and can even halt it altogether. By using rewards to motivate yourself you can actually ignite yourself to work harder. Since you have an incentive you might push yourself a little harder to accomplish your goal. Maybe you get to pour yourself a nice cup of green tea after you finish writing a paragraph. Or maybe you can watch an episode of Supernatural once you hit 1000 words for the day. After a long day of writing, always reward yourself!
Find Your Strategy!
Now that you know some more time management tips, put it to use and get to writing! Don’t worry about sticking exactly to this guideline because not all methods will work for you. Try some of these out and see what you like! Once these time management tips become a part of your writing routine, you’ll finish your written project in no time. It’s never too early to start preparing for publishing. Download our free self-publishing guide and learn if that’s the best option for you.