Photo courtesy of Robbert van der Steeg

I know I’ve posted about time management before, but since it’s slipping away from me again, I figured it might be slipping away from you again as well.

Managing your time as a writer

Now that summer is upon us, it seems even more difficult to manage my time. The winter was pretty dreary, so now I want to enjoy the sun whenever I can get it. Plus, I’m a bit sick of staying indoors. But I’ve also missed my self-imposed deadline, so something has to give.

The good thing about the summer is longer days and bad t.v. Because the days are longer, I feel like I have more time to get things done. But I also feel more inclined to go out instead of hanging around. When I am hanging around the house, there is little television distraction because, let’s face it, with the exception of Doctor Who and HBO’s new series Game of Thrones, there really isn’t that much going on in the world of the boob-tube. But the warmth and long days call me outside with a book and I find myself losing my entire day to reading or taking walks or dreaming up summery things to eat.

Reimposing the 15-minute rule

OK, the 15-minute rule doesn’t mean that everything gets only 15 minutes of my time. It’s more the general principal, meaning I have to give myself time limits for things. Example: I can read for an hour or x-number of chapters. I can watch 1 television show. I can spend 1-hour at the gym. And, most importantly, I must spend 30-minutes minimum each day writing. Of course, fitting those 30-minutes in is hard – I want to read outside. I have to eat dinner. The fiance comes home and wants to watch Dr. Who. And then it’s time for bed.

And this is where looking at writing as a job comes in. Because I want to get a book out there, I have to treat it like I treat my 9-5. Sure, some days I would rather sit home and read a book or hang out with friends or take a vacation instead of going to work, but I go to work because I have to. I have people to answer to and I commitments I made. I have deadlines and people that are relying on me. So I put aside the things I want to do and take care first and fore-most of the things I have to do. And that is how I have to look at writing. Even on the days where I feel drained of creativity, I must write. Because if you aren’t writing, you aren’t a writer.

How do you manage your time? Do you set up appointments with yourself? Do you treat it like a job? Do you have someone who holds you accountable for your time?