I think it’s safe to say we are all guilty of some degree of procrastination. You set a goal and the deadline tends to get pushed back again and again because you just run into roadblocks along the way. Sometimes the roadblocks are in the form of writer’s block, or other priorities simply get in the way. As an author, you do have to be a little flexible with yourself. So for example, if you have an event that you would like to present your finished book at, maybe allow yourself 2 months longer than you think you really need to complete your book. Give yourself some wiggle room so that your quality of work doesn’t suffer from feeling pressure to finish writing. Here are a few tips to manage your time as an author:
Everyone has a time of day that they tend to be most productive. For some people, such as myself, they can wake up, have a coffee, scan the news, and then sit down to work by 8:00 am. It’s the afternoon where productivity begins to decline as distractions arise and the mind begins to wonder. For others, however, the evening might be the time when they are most productive. Maybe this person feels a creative spark after dinner, when their day is calm and there are no competing tasks to eat away at their time. Either way, figure out your best time of day to be productive and creative and schedule your days around that.
Once you have figured out your prime time of day to write, plug it into a calendar. I personally like Google Calendars because they sync to all of my devices and are user friendly. So if I’m sitting on my laptop I can pull up the calendar and update it, and then it will automatically update on my phone as well.
I color code my calendar based on the activity. So I use pink for hours working, blue for appointments, green for reading/downtime, red for dinners and time with friends, and yellow for volunteer work. This makes it easy to read and set up my days. As an author, I would suggest blocking out time for writing first, and scheduling the rest of the day around that. You have to prioritize based on what is most important for you. Writing shouldn’t feel like a chore, so you don’t want to squeeze in a session among everything else you have going on in a day.
A good idea would be to attach a to-do list to your calendar. It feels great to cross things off as you complete them. If you want to take it a step further, you can use a number system of 1-5 to determine the level of priority or urgency of a task. this way you can organize your tasks and not feel overwhelmed.
Humans tend to respond well to being rewarded for their work in some way. Something that I used to do when I was in school would be to set a goal such as a textbook chapter I want to complete and then decide that when I accomplish the task, I will reward myself with something such as a nice relaxing bath, or a piece of cake, etc. Not only does this system subconsciously train you to willingly accomplish your tasks, but it also gives you enjoyment so you feel like writing is less of a chore.
Writing a book is an exciting and rewarding endeavor, but it requires strong commitment and determination. Using some of the suggested tips to manage your time as an author and will help you feel in control of your book and all-around more organized.
We have plenty of resources available for authors throughout our website. Additionally, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions about self-publishing.