Wednesday, December 28, 2011

List Maker, List Maker, Make me a List

Every year, during the week between Christmas and New Year's, I do a lot of reflecting and planning. Reflecting on the past year and planning for the one ahead. On Friday, I will be posting about my new blogging schedule for next year. But today, I want to talk about writing schedules in general.

It's no secret that one area I struggle with is time management. And with the deadline for my next novel only a few months away, I really need to get a handle on this thing. Having a deadline is both scary and exciting. Scary because...hello...what if I don't get it done on time? Breaking a contract is not acceptable to me. But exciting because I have something to work towards. Something I know will bring me immense satisfaction and joy (and eventually...hopefully... a nice royalty check!).

I'm a huge time-effective wannabe. And one of the ways I try to be organized and efficient is by making lists. In fact, I make lists for just about everything you can think of: groceries, what to pack for an over-nighter, upcoming events, things I want to purchase for the house, repairs needed for the house, articles I want to write, books I've read or want to read, the list goes on...(pun intended). Of course, my main list is my "to-do" list. I go nowhere without my Franklin Planner. Every day is ink-filled with my to-do's, both writing and non-writing related.

Here's the thing. I'm may be good at list making, but could use a crash course in "list following." Sometimes I spend more time making lists than actually doing the things on the list. Oh, I have good intentions, I just get distracted. A lot. Like with that pile of laundry, the movie I really want to see, and that darned Bejeweled Blitz, winking at me every time I sign onto Facebook. Discipline is something God has been trying to teach me for a long time. And I am finally ready - and willing - to submit.

But, I'm convinced there IS a specific schedule that will work for me. If only I can figure out what it is. So, I put out a call to my trusty author friends for help. All this week on, I am posting the tried-and-tested schedules of several other writers and authors. I am even holding out hope that one of their schedules will be the perfect one for me. If not, at least I hope to glean from them, possibly using an idea or two to create a custom schedule for myself. I encourage you to check out the suggestions posted so far on my National Christian Writing Examiner page.

So tell me. What does your writing schedule look like? How do you get it all done every day? Do you have a schedule that works or will you be revising your schedule in 2012?


Patrick Whalen said...

I identify with your post in so many ways. I think part of the issue has to do with how the rest of the family sees my writing. Because I do not make the largest share of our income through my writing, it is viewed more as a hobby. Thus my writing does not earn a premium value in the planning of schedules. I do try to block of time, but with the pressures of faith, family, work and school, writing usually falls in line at the end of the pack. The end result is that when there finally is time for writing, I am usually so exhausted I find it hard to force creativity. The questing is then, how do I/we make it known to the family that our writing is a priority and deserves a higher level of importance in the schedule.

Lynda Schab said...

I have people in my life who just don't "get it." They continue to ask why I'm not "working." Family members have even made comments to my husband about when I'm going to "get a job." It would be funny if it didn't make me so mad. LoL

Family does come first, of course, but it really is a challenge. You're right - the question is how do we carve out time for this "silly little thing" we call our passion? If you figure it out, let me know. :-)

Karina Russell said...

I'm a list maker too and get great satisfaction from crossing things off the list, but there are usually so many interruptions, I rarely get all I planned to do done in one day. I'll be watching to see if you come up with a viable solution.

Kim Russell said...

I too am a list maker. And because I'm a single gal, there are always too many things on it for one person to do.

I've found my iPhone to be a God-send. It has the ability to have several lists going at once so I can prioritize, have one for errands, weekend, or a specific need/event. I've found that since my phone is always near me (except at work where there are post-its that can be transferred) I don't lose my way as much. It always feels so good to check stuff off and makes me woo-hoo with satisfaction.

This tool has helped me immensely. I don't feel like I'm always forgetting something and gives me peace of mind. The end result is that I feel more organized...because I am.

The other thing is that I set my day in small increments. Things I don't like doing (house cleaning) I do a little at a time instead of making myself do it all at once--isn't so overwhelming.

And if I FEEL like doing something at any give moment (like writing) it moves to the top and do it while I WANT to. (Doesn't happen with house cleaning very often.)

Fun is important too. All work, no play, blah blah blah. Needs to be scheduled--and sometimes forced--even when I don't want to.

For me it's all about balance: If I veer too far in any one direction, I get depressed and discouraged. Then I have to pull myself out of it...which has to be put on the list, and falls into the "things I don't want to do" category.

All this being said, I also have to remember to not be too rigid (something I battle with.) My processes need to be flexible yet organized. Sometimes I just need to chuck it all and go play golf!

Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.

Sherry said...

Sorry, I'm actually still working on constructing a writing schedule. I actually just wanted to pop in and thank you for a great year and tell you how awesome you are. Thank you for your wisdom, advice, and autograph. I'm excited to see what comes next for you. I appreciate you! Hugs!

Lynda Schab said...

You're right, Kim. All work and no play = BLEH. :-) Balance really is key.

Sherry...thank YOU so much for YOUR awesomeness. I so appreciate you and your encouragement. :-)