Originally posted on July 8, 2014. Knew I wrote about this once before.
One thing we always wish we had is more time. In the day, in the week, in the year, in life, etc. This runs amazingly true with authors. This is why you see so many people using word goals or chapters per week. We decide on our progress by the speed that we get through a product. Slow and steady can be good, but there is a sense of urgency for the career author. For traditionally published, you have deadlines. For indie authors, you have a fear of fading away if you take too long. Look at your authors who release a 99 cent novella every month and you can find that time is a part of the equation.
I’ve gone on about the distractions in my life a lot and received a lot of suggestions. Also, people tend to point at the toddler as the main distraction. We seem to think kids are the root cause of author parents, but that’s another story. Something I’ve noticed is that nearly every writer is in a unique situation. Some are parents with great support and have all the time in the world. Retirees, 9-5ers, single parents, college students, and the list can keep going on. Each person has different time management methods and mentalities for handling these distractions. We’re not all the same, so you have to find a way to get the time you need or accept delays. Though some delays are more acceptable than others, but I digress.
One important point about time and writing is that you shouldn’t rush. Go at the speed that the story evolves and flows from you. Too fast means you have a higher risk of making continuity mistakes or simply writing a bad story. Never fear to take a break for research on something. For example, I took 30 minutes off from writing Book 7 to find out what peacocks eat and how well they are at flying. Answer: they will eat snakes and not the most graceful things. This is part of the process of writing and it’s a good sacrifice of writing time.
On the other end of the spectrum, you could take too much time at one stage. There are times where you simply have to go. Moving on from idea to outline to first draft to edits to publish is scary. Each stage has authors stuck in a quest for perfection, which can last decades. We all want to write the best, but getting that first draft down will be a boon of confidence and open the flood gates. Same with hitting that publish button. Once you do it, the fear dissipates and you realize you’re in debut mode. So, try very hard not to fall into the trap of thinking you have all the time in the world. It is a finite resource and very precious.
Are there any tricks to making time work for you? Yes, but it depends on your situation. I have a lot to contend with in this house. Some days are better than others, so I’ve had to utilize late nights, begging, screaming for quiet, zoning out on music, and hiding in the room when the chaos is high. Other people I know rarely have distractions or are more hard-pressed than me. Location can factor into it if you don’t have an office/desk, but you just have to try whatever you can think of to get that writing time. Though I hear accepting writing breaks is a method. I haven’t willingly tried it due to my ‘3 day of no writing depressions’, but if you’re not insane like me then give it a shot.