Do you want to be a writer? Do you want to write a book people would like to read? I know I do. And on my quest to create a readable book, I have learned many tips and tricks and gained some valuable knowledge on the does and don'ts in writing. I'd love share all that with you.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

How to deal with the lack of time.

No question mark, as you might have noticed.
It is not a question. This post is my answer to the I-have-little-time-DO-NOT-PANIC-and-a-lot-to-do- syndrome.
There comes a time in life (for many people) when we bite off more than we seem to be able to chew.
Sometimes, the only way out of that situation is to let go of a few things and spread the rest of them over the hours that we do not devote to sleeping.
And really, have you noticed how great sleeping is?
I have recently discovered that I need less of it than I thought, and my bed is no longer a sweet, sweet prison in the morning. How awful.
(Then again, I passed out after donating blood and they had to put me on a drip, just to let me go home, so maybe I shouldn't skip sleep that much.)

But what if there is nothing that you can or want to let go of?
Then you have to:
- prioritize,
- divide
- and conquer ;>

I have lately been feeling that I am building a pyramid out of tasks and that the pyramid will mercilessly bury me underneath itself.
A 9 to 5 job, editing my NaNo novel, and a collaborative project that was supposed to be a short story (and will end up as a regular novel in at least two volumes and we already have more than 100k words) on top of a social life, it's a lot. It has made me blog less.

But it also made me realize how much we are able to do in a day, if we really get to it.
I want to share some tips with you. They're not really universal, but then again, I am a very specific, not to say crazy, person and I will never claim that what works for me will work for other people, I might give it a chance, though.
Some of the tips are well know, and they might make you want to say "duh" while reading them.

Ann Marie Scharf's (that's me, kind regards) time management tips
  • don't give up sleeping, tired brain is a useless brain, if your eyes are dropping, what point is there to force them to stay opened; you don't really lose the hours spent on sleeping, you recover them while working and thinking quicker and better the next day
  • don't install software that will block access to selected web pages - why? it might make you want to visit those pages even more, at some point you might crack and remove the software and then you will have a lot of catching up to do, and you will lose more time than you have gained, limit the amount of time you spend on those sites instead
  • use 'goal oriented' software, a program where you can set the time that you need to spend writing (or doing whatever else it is you want to do) for writers I recommend to try out this web application: http://writeordie.com/#Web+App
  • concentrate on one thing at a time, hide all evidence of other things to do; when I am writing my part in the collaborative novel, I put away the printout of my book, when I edit the printout I go to sit at a different desk than the one where I keep my computer, people can multi-task, but it comes a price, single-minded focus is the best thing to have when doing a creative work
  • don't lose track of the time - it might seem like a good idea, just letting go and not worrying about the time, but is there someone among us that does not know the feeling of panic when we look at the clock and see how much time has passed and how much is left to do? (really? lucky you and now shut up ;p)
  • take breaks from work and not breaks to do some work, I know, easier said than done, I have a variation of ADD, I cannot keep my mind focused on one thing for longer than five minutes unless I really make myself focus, it is hard and I lose many times, here's how I write a page of text if I let myself go wild:
 Once upon - CAT PICTURES - a time there was - I LOVE THIS SONG "REJDIOAKTIF AJM REJDIOAKTIF"  - a castle and a princess -GOOGLE PICTURES OF CASTLES - and the princess was - ANY NEW CAT PICTURES? - sad, because - LET'S SING TOGETHER "AJM LOOOOOKING FOR UUUU AGIEN" - she couldn't sit still. - OK, SERIOUSLY WHERE ARE SOME NEW CAT PICTURES?

(I cannot sing, hence the disfigured lyrics. I kid you not I wouldn't be able to sing a clear note even if my life depended on it, sometimes when I sing, my friends look out the window to see where those cats are fighting. It's rude!)

The solution to the "wandering mind"? Discipline and small goals. Write 200 words, look at cat pictures ;>
I know, I am sooo unoriginal. But I want to reinforce those rules. And tell you that they're working (for me at least - ha!).
Plan your day. Know what time you need to wake up and plan your sleep accordingly. Wake up and prioritize things to do in that day (for me - work, the cooperative novel, fun pages, my book - sleep) and from now on I am also putting my blog there on that list.
Do one thing at the time and focus solely on it. Keep the track of time, know how much time you have left so that you don't panic.

And most of all - work on self-discipline.

I hope my NaNo novel Thought Shop will be ready by March. It's possible. Keep your fingers crossed - it all depends on my Time Management Skills.
Here's a sample:

The road looked clear and Lana slipped out from her hideout. Something had croaked behind her.
The girls could not have found her. Lana turned slowly around, terrified of facing her tormentors in a place she thought was safe.

But it wasn't them. There, on the branch behind her, sat a raven.
There's a lot of work to be done to make it readable, so I will really need the time.

And now, I am going to get some well-deserved sleep.
Sleep is awesome! :D

Goodnight to you all!

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