Blog

5 Time Saving Tips For Writers

We all struggle with how to squeeze a writing career between other life responsibilities. Even after we’re contracted and published, most of us won’t be able to quit our day jobs to write full time. In fact, now that I’m contracted, I’m finding l have to shove even more writing responsibilities into my limited time.

Today, debut author, Erica Vetsch will share some of her tips on managing a writing career while trying to juggle a myriad of other jobs. Erica has been writing for five years and has been under contract for the last year. She’s currently working on her sixth contracted novel.

In a typical week, Erica homeschools her two teenaged children, does the books for the family lumber company, and until quite recently was one of the primary care-givers for her terminally ill mother-in-law. She’s also active in her local church leading a bi-monthly women’s Bible study.

Her first book recently released and she is even busier with marketing efforts. I asked Erica how she possibly manages to get everything done in a day! Here are Erica's top 5 time saving tips for writers:

1. Realize I can’t do it all, and some things I used to do I can’t do anymore. Cross-stitching, something I love to do, has fallen by the wayside simply because I don’t have the time. I can’t be a dabbling writer. It has to have a high priority, therefore I have to sacrifice some of the things I love to do.

2. Streamline where I’m able. I make out a grocery list and menu every Monday morning and grocery shop while my kids are at piano lessons. I bunch my errands, so I don’t have to drive into town too often during the week. I try to group appointments all on one day if I can, to save time.

3. Give my children chores to do. I’m a firm believer in kids doing chores. They take so much of the burden off me, especially when I’m on deadline. Laundry, cooking, vacuuming, dusting. They have a daily list of chores they are responsible for, and they also step up when I call on them for extra help.

4. Turn off the Internet. Email, Facebook, Email, Twitter, Email, and did I mention how much I love email? Don’t let the Internet become a tyrant. When I set a word count to accomplish, I always get it done faster and better if I’m not constantly checking to see if anyone loved me enough to send me an email.

5. Prioritize and find a schedule that works. Because I have several things I have to do, I do those first. In the mornings, I homeschool and work on the bookkeeping. In small snatches I catch up on blog reading and email correspondence. I also try to get in my time on the treadmill in the morning. Fortunately, my kids are old enough at 17 and 13 for me to set them to work without needing to monitor them every second. Afternoons are my time to write and edit. I guard that time and treat writing as my job.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Erica! I love the idea of guarding our writing time and considering it a job. If we're serious about publication, then we really do need to get into the mindset of viewing our writing as a JOB.

We show up at the keyboard just like we would show up to the office. We work diligently and productively the same way we would if we had a boss looking over our shoulder. We set working hours and we stick to them.

Sometimes all it takes is a switch in mind frame--no longer seeing our writing as merely a hobby, but as a job--one that is as important as the others in our lives.

Are there any of Erica's tips that you need to practice more? Or do you have other time saving ideas that you could add to the list? I'd love to hear them!

Here's a little bit about Erica's book: Duluth, Minnesota in 1905 boasts more millionaires than any other U.S. city. Tycoon Abraham Kennebrae intends to marry his grandsons off to three of the wealthiest heiresses in town and allow Kennebrae Shipping to gain control of Duluth Harbor. Tempests rage, in the board room, the ball room, and on treacherous Lake Superior. Will hearts and helms survive? Will God prove Himself sovereign over wind, waves, and weddings?

For more information check out Erica's blog: www.onthewritepath.blogspot.com or to order click here.

52 comments:

  1. I feel I do a fairly good job with the exception of four. I have my good and bad days, obviously.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great tips! I agree with the giving children some chores tip...it really does make a difference.

    I'm tweeting this one..

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

    ReplyDelete
  3. These are awesome tips. Soething I need to store away and pull out every month or so. I also love the idea of guarding our writing time. Of changing our mind frame, knowing it's a job and just like we dedicate ourselves to the job of parenting or whatever our dayjob is, we should do the same with writing.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. GREAT tips!!! *sigh* Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like I have so little time TO manage, but I know I still waste some of the time I do have. *sigh*

    SO fun that you're hosting Erica today too! We're... CO-Hosts! *grin*

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent tips! It's so hard to find time to write unless you do treat it like a job.

    And absolutely kids should be doing chores. They live here and help make the mess. They ought to face the fact that no one in life comes along and cleans your messes up for you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE the "give my kids chores to do". I should get me one of those ;)
    LOL

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great tips!

    I wish I could give my kids chores to do, but I have a two-year-old son. Right now he's not much help in the chore department, but maybe some day. :)

    Limiting internet and email time is a definite must for me every day, although I'm not always very good at it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Excellent advice. I'm thinking of scaling back my blog schedule and once my commitment is up in the spring, cutting down on how much online writing I do. My novels are demanding more of my attention.
    ~ Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good ideas!! I need to set my time schedule better.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great tips, Erica! I'm learning the hard way that I definitely must turn off the internet to get anything done! So many distractions.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Routines like Erica has established keep us focused. Used to think a shedule would chain me, but find I actually have more time to do the things I love to

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great tips! I've fallen off of my schedule and my priorities have been a bit askew as of late. I need to crack the proverbial whip and get back into the swing of things. :) This was a great reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks Jody & Erica!

    This is a great list. When you mentioned all of Erica's responsibilities I was astonished.

    Erica you are a woman with a plan!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You're a multitasker, Erica, and a pre-planner! Love it! That really does help with getting the most of our time.

    Thanks for featuring Erica, Jody. I'd love to hear your top five time savers, too. Are any different from Erica's?

    I just recently discovered a timer as my time saver (BLogged about it today). Since I love email and blogging so much, I could never just close them out while writing. But now I can. By setting my timer to one hour, I can close all other windows on my computer and write freely knowing that when it rings, I can have a short break and check email and blogs then, then I close everything up and reset the timer for another 60 min. It's a mind trick that works for me.

    ReplyDelete
  15. and to schedule my writing time. Robyn was just posting on this today and it made me remember how very important it is to mark out specific writing time and force yourself to stick to it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is really helpful. Thanks to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  17. These are a great tips! Thanks, Jody! I'm definitely going to incorporate these!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I've been guarding my writing time a little more these days. I'm seeing the benefits.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good morning, all! Jody, thanks so much for having me here today.

    Another thing I'm working on to streamline my schedule is taking one day a week to write blogs. I schedule them for the week ahead to post each day, so I'm not wondering each evening what to post about the next day.

    That sure helps!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Those are some useful tips. Thanks Jody and Erica! I like the idea of planning specific days of the week for particular chores. For example Tuesday are laundry and grocery shopping days. Thursdays are the days I clean the bathrooms, etc. It keeps me busy during the week but then I leave Fridays as open as possible so I can devote it to writing or "me" time.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Excellent list. I need to grow in the area of organization. Turning off the net would help considerably.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I totally agree that as you start publishing time gets even thinner. Finding ways to streamline and cut out extra activities (no matter how much we love them) are a must if we're going to keep producing.

    Great tips!

    HeatherJustesen.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I agree that #4 is the killer. Maybe that's why literature has changed--those long-winded classic writers didn't have technology to tempt them away from penning their looooooong narratives.

    I was planning a post on this topic. Can I include a link back to yours?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I could not agree more about chores. Kids need to help around the house and chores are a great way to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks Jody and Erica for some useful tips that are practical as well. For me the first one is the hardest.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I'm trying to streamline and declutter my environment so I expend less time and thought energy on extraneous stuff. I'm coming to terms with the fact that I will likely never cross-stitch or quilt again, so that is more clutter I need to let go.

    I'm clinging to a harp purchased earlier this year--but wondering if that enhances my creativity or blocks it. I'm still learning how to play it, and that takes time.

    Sometimes ya gotta let go of the good and the great to grab the best.

    Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for sharing Erica's great tips, Jody. I'm sure you're learning a great deal about managing your time wisely now that you're under contract deadlines.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm good at most of the list except turning off the internet! I can easily become addicted to e-mail, checking websites for latest info of interest, reading all the blogs and commenting. I found that one day I had spent over 3 hours doing all this when I could have been writing! UGH! Discipline!

    Thanks for your always helpful posts!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks so much for this post. Finding balance between writing and life has been a priority of mine over the last few years. There is only so much time in a day, I have bills to pay, so . . . hi, ho, hi, ho it's off to work I go . . . and that work isn't writing. Sigh!

    S

    ReplyDelete
  30. Streamline all of the above! great tips!! I need to make my children way more responsible and turn off the internet. Well said!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for posting the tips. This is the area where I struggle the most. There's never enough time in the day. :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Absolutely awesome tips! Thanks so much for sharing them, Erica and Jody.
    I really love the chore one. *wicked cackle* I already tried to teach my five year old to vacuum, but the poor guy couldn't hold the vacuum up. LOL
    I know that I need to slow down on my reading and write more. That's tough for me, because reading is my absolute favorite thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  33. The Internet is a big distraction, why look, I'm hear now! ;-]

    ReplyDelete
  34. Turning off the internet is SO. HARD.

    I'm trying to use my AlphaSmart more often for exactly that reason (basically, a lightweight electric typewriter with a 4-line screen).

    ReplyDelete
  35. One of my tried and true tips: NO T.V.

    I haven't had a t.v. (cable or any other channels) for a year now and I don't miss it at all. I only have a t.v. for watching DVDs and even that is maybe once every two weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Erica's tips are bang on! Except for not having children at home to help with chores (but DH is wonderful at pitching in!) they are all things I try to do, too. The one point that I really struggled with is the one she doesn't number: treating writing as a job. Before making progress on any of the others I first had to learn to respect what I was doing and treat it as a job and not just a frivolous hobby. It's easier to make time for writing when you believe it's worthy of the priority.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Helpful! And yes, I have given my child some chores. It doesn't free up a lot of time, but some time is better than none!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I've been thinking a lot about this stuff lately. I think one thing that will have to go is reading many of the blogs I love. My blog will become something more for my readers than a way to interact with other writers, which is a shame, but I have a full-time job, household responsibilities, and I write...and once I'm published, marketing will be added to that, as you said. We have to sacrifice now so that maybe one day we can make enough to write full-time. The more you put in, the more you'll get out, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you for sharing these tips! Being at work, in front of a computer all day long, it's hard for me to come home and work on a computer. I try to type at work (in an email to myself) and will then edit later but it's hard to get in the zone with the phone constantly interrupting. I do what I can :)

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  40. I must admit that I don't take my writing as serious as I should... Thanks for the advice, Erica, I'll takethat into account... =)
    cool blog, check out mine.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I am realizing that I need to use every time-saving tip I know, plus some extras, to create consistent time for writing and every other little thing.

    ReplyDelete
  42. No mater who you are or what you do we all make choices with our time. It isn't that we don't have enough of it, it is that we aren't using it to the best of our ability. I am learning in this area. I say no a lot more to a lot more people. :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi Jody & Erica -

    Wow! Erica has a great system. Like you, I try to bunch my errands together. It not only saves time, but also gas.

    I need to streamline my Internet time and become more efficient. I've made some strides in this department, but I can do better.

    Thanks for a super interview.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks Jody & Erica, these are some fine tips that are most useful to me since I'm one to stray away from my agenda.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Great tips, especially the internet thing.

    ReplyDelete
  46. These are just great. I recently moved my writing space back upstairs. I'd been writing on a recliner chair in my living room. But I realized going upstairs to an "office" makes me feel more like a real writer.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks for stopping by at my blog!
    I think maryeastmacott.blogspot.com is the one you'll like the most, because it's the one I write my short fictions in... =)

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm late to this post, but these tips are helpful. I do spend too much time on the Internet and not enough time writing.

    ReplyDelete
  49. So right. I am with you on the kids-chores thing. Mine will never leave home not knowing how to do housework.

    Turning off the Internet is a bit more tricky for me. A lot of my networking is done on FB and twitter, but I have to consider this one carefully.

    Thanks for a very helpful post.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'd been writing on a recliner chair in my living room. But I realized going upstairs to an "office" makes me feel more like a real writer. Work from home India

    ReplyDelete
  51. Thank you for sharing these tips! Being at work, in front of a computer all day long, it's hard for me to come home and work on a computer.
    debt settlement software

    ReplyDelete

© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!