Time management and writing

It’s no big secret that most writers also have a full time job that consumes most of their energy and yet we manage to carve out moments to pound away at the keyboard by candlelight. And a life. You know the things that always have priority: family time, household chores, that sort of thing. Then there are the time wasters that drown us: TV, Facebook, and scrolling through Twitter feeds. That’s what this the piece is about.

This is about the parts of my writing life and how I spend the time.

1. Marketing. Get that over with first. I barely market. Begging people to buy my book is not thrilling, although its very important. Most days, I don’t spend much time if at all on it. So 5% of my writing life is here.

2. My dissertation. This is where I have been spending almost all my free time on. I am getting close to finishing it, and that is something I never thought would happen. Now I am obsessed with it. I want to finish it by the end of the year. I am editing / revising the first four chapters and writing the final chapter now. I did a case study on the influence of growing up with a parent who had PTSD, induced from combat. I’ve really learned a lot from hearing the volunteer’s study and think it’s going to worthwhile project. But it takes up a TON of time. I would beg this at about 65% of my writing time.

3. Anthology submissions. I keep scouring the internet for places to send stories, and sending them out. I have eight stories that are stuck in this process and I wish they could be out there for everyone to read. I’ve had a couple accepted. I’ve also had lots of dead ends and rejects, which is to be expected. The hard thing, for me, anyway, is really understanding what the editors are looking for. I have a bad habit of sending a story somewhere, waiting two months, only to be told it does not fit in with what they are looking for. Apparently, I keep getting the guidelines jumbled in my mind. Another thing is I have had two anthologies die off, after a very long wait. One contacted me and said the project was dead, another just faded away. My master plan was to have my stories first published in anthologies, and then later self-published. But that is such a long process, that leaves spans of many months were nothing new appears from me. This probably about around 10% of my writing time.

4. Novels. I finished my second novel and I am trying to get it published by a small press. Still waiting to hear how that goes, but that is just sitting out there in cyberspace not being read by the world. I am halfway done with my third novel, which I am really excited about. I think I will just self-publish the third. I may hit the streets before book number two. Who knows. This problem takes up only 15% of my time, although I wish it were much, much more.

5. Helping others. I like to do this. Retweeting. Reblogging. Sharing posts. Those things. I do that a lot. Its simple and helps other writers out. This one takes up the rest of my time, I think. Give back is important and you can do a lot to support each other without spending much time.

6. Blogging. Eh. I’ve already hit 100% by my count, so you can probably guess how much time I spend blogging!

Not 7. I miss doing the Friday Flash prompts!
What else am I missing? How do you prioritize your writing life?


8 thoughts on “Time management and writing

  1. Your dissertation topic is fascinating. Congratulations on making it this far with it! I lasted approximately 1.25 semesters in my graduate program (Physics).

    As for prioritizing my writing time:
    0. I spend zero time marketing. It only stressed me out and never seemed to make a noticeable difference in sales. I’m planning on trying out conventions or other live venues for marketing/selling… someday.
    1. Writing my novel is the top priority.
    2. Blogging and participating on other’s blogs is a very, very close second (which surprised me, but I really love it).
    3. Like you, I like to help others; I mostly do this by tweeting or being a stop on blog tours.


  2. If you find an answer, please let me know. I’m trying very hard to keep everything together but somehow I just keep wanting to “relax” and do nothing. I’m hoping it’s just the seasonal change.

  3. Pingback: The Perils of Writing in a Modern Age… or …What I did over Summer vacation | Paul D. Dail

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