2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006: Named one
of the 101 best Web sites for writers by Writers Digest Magazine.
The Write Time
As a writer, not only are you a creative producer--unless you're very lucky, you are also your own publicity consultant, secretary, accountant, and all around administrator. In fact, there are so many talents and skills you need to possess it's a wonder you get time to write at all!
Administration is a time consuming, but necessary part of being a writer. And if you aren't thrilled by keeping up to date with record keeping and paperwork, you'll need plenty of self discipline to get it done. Let's be honest--what would you rather do--complete your tax return or finish work on the short story you just know will win that competition? No contest, really. So how do you free up extra writing time by being more efficient with your paperwork? Here are 10 ideas that could make all the difference.
1. Choosing the right time
Notice when your writing flows and when it feels like more of a chore. Choose your least creative time to do your administration. Then you won't be tempted to leave it to write the next chapter of your novel, or feel frustrated because you're not being creative.
3. Don't put it off!
4. Planning makes perfect
5. Sort that mail.
6. File that pile!
If you love scraps of paper, rather than leave them scattered around the house, put them all in a box file. Or keep them organized in a series of clear plastic wallets, properly labeled. For instance, one labeled 'ideas for novel', another 'feature on bell ringing', etc. I'm sure you get the idea. Or keep a hardcover notebook to write your ideas in. For the more technologically minded, a computer file simply called 'Ideas' can save on paper and at least you know exactly where to find it.
7. E-mail getting you down?
Conversely, people can e-mail you, too. Which is great, of course. Communication is what makes things happen. However, there is nothing worse than opening your inbox to be confronted by 129 new e-mails. You can easily spend an evening's writing time trawling through to find the ones you want, besides being a highly inefficient use of the technology. So set up folders. File your e-mails in appropriate categories, by subject or publisher, whichever suits you best. Or better still, set up folders for 'deal with today' and 'deal with later.' Delete non-essential messages before reading them (like junk mail). Try to keep your inbox as empty as possible. Don't get side-tracked. (I know that's easier said than done because, being a writer, you just love procrastination....)
8. Productive record keeping
To get the best use of your writing time it's vital to know what kind of work brings you the most positive response. It's important to regularly review and evaluate your output and productivity. You can be so busy sending stuff out that you don't stop to think about this. If you don't keep proper records how will you know how productive you are? Apart from anything else, how can you chase that editor if you can't remember when exactly you sent your idea or story?
Decide which books you definitely couldn't bear to part with. Then honestly consider which books you will never read, that are merely gathering dust. Pack them into boxes or bags and take them to your nearest charity shop. Oxfam have special charity book shops, which are an excellent resource for cost conscious writers.
They'll be delighted to receive your gifts of unwanted books. Then attack your magazines and journals. Again, what you don't want, take to a charity shop. The rest, organize. Those you are likely to access for research or information, file in magazine racks which you can get from most stationers. They only cost a few dollars each and are worth the investment. You can even color co-ordinate by subject and they can then live on your considerably tidier bookshelf...and make good bookends.
The magazines you don't want to give away, in case they might be handy in years to come, put in box files and label them. Then store on the top shelf.
Never throw out unwanted books and magazines...they can still bring pleasure to other avid readers. And as a writer yourself, how would you like your words consigned to the bin?
10. Now get writing!
Jane Seaman was born in 1962 and had her first short story published at age 14. She enjoys writing articles, fiction and, sometimes, poetry. In addition, Jane also teaches in a college.