Thursday, August 20, 2015

Guest Post: Time Management for Writers

Today I'm pleased to host Jennifer Roland, author of 10 Takes: Pacific Northwest Writers. When one of the blog tour managers for WOW! Women on Writing first approached me about hosting Jennifer, all I had to do was see the topic "Time Management for Writers" before I quickly joined the tour. I know this is something we all struggle with, especially if we write creatively around day jobs, as the author does. Please join me in welcoming Jennifer.

Time Management for Writers 

For the past eight years (wow!), I’ve been writing around a day job.

Most of my off-hours writing is freelance work, as I’ve been building up a freelance business, too. That means I really need to manage my time to have anything left for my own projects.

Here’s how I make that happen.

I Schedule Everything Fanatically — and I Do the Same Things at the Same Time Most Days.

Mornings before work and lunch hours are reserved for interviews and email.

Evenings are for family time.

Nights are for writing.

On the weekends, morning is for writing and email communication. Afternoons and evenings are family time.

That may shift around for special occasions, but that is my routine, and I stick to it as much as possible. My body and brain know what to expect during each phase of the day, and my family knows when they need to step in and help me get things done — and when to leave me alone.

I Take Advantage of My Rhythms.

That schedule I posted above? I’ve developed it over the years based on what my brain is good at during each period of the day. I’m really proficient at writing in the morning, so I focus on that on the weekends. This past year, I shifted my day job schedule so that my work day starts an hour earlier, but before that I had an hour before work to devote to writing.

I know that I’m not great at writing in the afternoons, so that is when I spend time with my kiddo and husband.

And I get a weird burst of energy around 8 p.m. that isn’t always due to a sugar-free Rock Star, so I capitalize on that by working at night, too.

Take a look at when writing is easy and when it’s hard. Keep a diary if you need to to track trends over a week or two. Try to write more during the time of day that it’s easy so that you can be more efficient and have more fun.

I Ditch Useless Tasks.

My house is not clean. It’s not filthy, but it’s definitely not spotless either.

Back when I was writing my first book, I found a blog called Write First, Clean Later. I made that my mantra. Until then, I’d been making sure I did my chores before I would allow myself to write. As a result, I was not as focused or energetic when the dishes were finally done and I was allowed to do the fun stuff. So, I made sure to interview the writer of that blog (mystery novelist L.J. Sellers) for Pacific Northwest Writers! And I told her how influential that blog was simply because of its title.

Think about the tasks you do that drain your energy. Do they need to get done? And, more important, do you need to be the one who does them? I do the things I love, my husband does the things he can, and we both agree to live without the rest.

About the Author:
Jennifer Roland is a freelance and marketing writer with more than 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine, and marketing environments. Jennifer also works as a virtual assistant to writers, helping them build their online presence and connect with readers so they can focus on what they love — writing. She loves fiction and writes that under the name Jennifer C. Rodland. She hopes to put all of the lessons she learned writing this book into getting more of that published.

Jennifer can be found online at:

About 10 Takes:
From novelists to poets to playwrights, Jennifer Roland interviews a variety of authors who have one thing in common — they have all chosen to make the Pacific Northwest their home. Covering a diversity of disciplines — from comics, fantasy, and detective novels to long-form poetry and illustrated children's series — 10 distinguished authors provide unique perspectives about their craft, provide helpful writing advice and tips for success, and share their passion for living and writing in the Pacific Northwest.

How you make time for writing? Tell us in the comments below. I will choose one commenter to receive a complimentary e-book of 10 Takes on Monday, Aug. 24. Good luck!


Karen Jones Gowen said...

I can identify with these tips, especially the one about taking advantage of one's rhythms. I'm pretty strict about how I schedule my days in order to get things done but I'll also change my routine if my rhythm changes. I think a person is more productive that way rather than being too rigid.

Confessor said...

I agree, Karen. Go with your rhythm whenever you can.

Crystal Otto said...

Excellent guest post Jennifer!!!

Thank you Renee for hosting.

I need to read this several more times & commit to making time!!