The beauty of this whole writing life, is that it happens at my home, on my time, right? So, despite the fact that I’m not getting paid for any of this time, otherwise, it’s a pretty sweet gig. I couldn’t agree more, except it’s really not as easy as you think. (Well, not YOU, because if you’re reading this then there’s a good chance you know what I’m talking about… I’m talking about non-writing folk). I realized over the course of the past couple of weeks that I hit a wall. Not a writer’s block kind of wall, one of those little brick half walls that takes some effort to climb over but allows you to see the other side? My day job right now is also one that I do from home. I’m a great self-motivator. I’m goal oriented and I love deadlines. I’m fairly efficient and feel confident that I can be effective at whatever is in front of me. But I struggle so much with applying those same principles to my writing. I decided enough was enough, I needed to traverse the wall and make some adjustments. Over the course of the past few days, I had some ‘Aha’ moments, that I think will prove to be significant. In no particular order, here they are:
- I account for the time I get paid for from my employer, every minute of it and I can tell you how I spent my time and what I accomplished on any given day… looking back on my time spent writing, and I have no idea how much, or when, or what I’m working on. I am not keeping track of anything when it comes to my time spent writing. In fact, though I feel like I’m writing every day, I haven’t worked on a new manuscript or revised one of my WIP in quite some time. Which leads me to my next revelation…
- Social Media is sucking my productive time! I don’t get on Facebook when I’m ‘on the clock’, I’m careful not to check Twitter or Instagram while I have a project to finish, but as soon as I start ‘writing’, I do. And not only that, I waste such precious time and scrolling mindlessly through that it zaps all of my creative energy and leaves me restless and unsettled.
- I used ‘writing’ in quotes just earlier because I’m actually not writing! I’ve not written anything in the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking of writing… intending to, planning on it, and carrying around a notebook, but except for a weekly blog post, nothing creative or productive has made it onto paper.
Mixed up in all of this, is a self-proclaimed ‘identity crisis’; but more on that another day. (Trust me, it’s not nearly as dramatic as it seems.) With all this new awareness came the understanding that if I continue down this writing path, I need a process. I can’t keep shooting from the hip, that’s not how I operate. I don’t shoot from the hip in any area of life, (except parenting, I guess, but don’t we all?) my writing life should be no different. I’ve established new rules for myself and am trying my very best to hold myself accountable to these…
- Set a goal each week for time spent writing… this week I aimed for 8 hours. I finished nowhere close, but I know that because I’ve started,
- Keeping track of when I write and what I’m doing, generally speaking at least. And now I have an idea of what I did accomplish and what I need to work on next, not to mention I have a goal to keep aiming for. And finally, probably most importantly,
- Limit social media time! I gave myself a very small allotment of time (2 hours/week), and I’m keeping track of how often/how long I spend on social media. On top of that, if I’m going to spend time perusing Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, I must be productive. In some way, I must be building my network, watching a webinar, posting a critique… something productive, no mindless scrolling allowed.
So, here’s my time card for the week:
Monday, I spent 30minutes on Social media & 1-hour writing (which was actually, catching up on Storyteller Academy webinars)
Tuesday had 20 minutes of Social media time & 30 minutes writing (revisions of a manuscript, recording myself reading other manuscripts)
Wednesday looked a lot like Tuesday. (Completed my Master Studies homework for Storyteller Academy)
Thursday, unfortunately, had similar Social Media time, 30 minutes and ZERO writing minutes. (so, nothing to report here)
Friday, well I wrote this post on Friday, so that’s a good chunk of writing time, I also finished some major revisions on a delicious little manuscript I’ve been working on, and spent ZERO time on social media. I’m giving myself 2 hours of writing credit and a pat on the back for staying on track.
That’s a grand total of four hours writing… 2 hours on Social Media, and the rest of it spent working, mom-ing, and wife-ing. Next week I’ll do better… I hope. It takes two weeks to create a new habit, right? Wish me luck.
*Important footnote- There is so much wonderful benefit to social media, the entire Kid Lit community resides there and we’re all just the click of a button or the touch of a screen away from each other. I’m grateful for it! I just need help with my own boundaries… I need more time being productive and less time perusing. I think there will be a post expanding on this in the not too distant future. Also, stay tuned for more on Storyteller Academy/Master Studies, my Querying Conundrum, Developing a Process and the above mentioned, Identity Crisis.
Thanks for reading, come back anytime!