BLOGGER: SARAH SUNDIN
Historical novelist Sarah Sundin will serve as a mentor for the Morning Mentoring Clinic, teach an Afternoon Workshop, and serve on the Critique Team at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016.
“How on earth did you find time to write a book?” a friend asked.
Perhaps it was my ability to type at the speed of light or my complete lack of a personal life.
Um, no. Snails type faster than I do, and they don’t have fingers. I’m a mother of three, teach Sunday school, and have a part-time job. But I make time to write.
Four tools for increasing productivity are herding up goals, corralling blocks of time, lassoing the on-line beast, and harnessing snippets of time. Honestly, I don’t write Westerns.
Herd Up Goals
We’ve all been there—we finish a busy week and have nothing to show for it. Setting goals is the best way to prevent this. Even if you aren’t published yet, make deadlines. Set yearly goals, then break those goals down by month. At the beginning of each week, set daily goals. My goal sheet hangs over my desk. Staring at me.
Corral Blocks of Time
“I am a professional. I am a professional.” Repeat until you believe it.
Now, act like it. Keep office hours, no matter how short, and use them well. Review the day’s goals and get to work. No excuses, no distractions, no phone calls.
Having children at home complicates things, but even a toddler can learn to respect office hours. Despite what parenting blogs say, a child does not need constant entertainment—in fact, a child who learns to entertain himself becomes imaginative and independent.
Lasso the Internet
E-mail, blogs, Twitter, Facebook—they’re necessary, but they can drain away that time you corralled.
Designate a time for the internet, working with your schedule and personality. Reserve your best time of the day for writing and your less-productive times for the internet.
Then set strict time limits. A kitchen timer works wonders.
Harness Time Snippets
A great way to boost productivity is by using snippets of time while waiting at the soccer field or doctor’s office. Why not use that “wasted” time?
Here are some things you can do in ten minutes:
As a writer of historical fiction, I always have a pile of books to read. A book and note paper, and I’m set.
- Market Research
Study magazines or websites you’d like to target or read a book in your genre.
Outline an article or chapter, fill out character charts, or write a synopsis.
Editing is my favorite on-the-go activity, well suited to interruptions.
Time snippets are great for reviewing your critique partners’ work.
With a smartphone, you can tackle e-mails and social media on the run—and free up time at home.
Public writing means free publicity. People will ask what you’re doing. So tell them. Make sure you always bring business cards or bookmarks.
Use a time snippet to write. Really. Try it.
How can you improve your time management?