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Writing a Novel? Time Management

By Joanne Reid

This is a compilation of some things I have already said to you. But it's about this time when some people realize that time management may be a problem. It's also about this time that you need a break from more input on what should go into a novel. So here is what I know about time management.

NOTE: You should manage your time on a daily basis as well as within each writing session.


If you decide every day when or if you will write, you will have problems. You will waste time and energy debating with yourself whether to write this morning, or leave it until the evening or whether you should watch Oprah instead and write after her show is over. You become wearied by the debate and put off writing for yet another day. Do that enough times and you'll never finish your novel.

Establish a regular writing time. Once the decision is made for you, you can use your time creatively -- writing.

Treat your writing time as an appointment with yourself. A side benefit of this is that your family and friends will begin to respect your writing time. Be careful not to blame other people for distracting you from your writing. It is up to you to place value on your writing and the time it takes and make it clear to others that you have a commitment to yourself which you must keep.

There are the distractions you cannot ignore. Most of us have a household to deal with and obligations to other people. Chose a time that works for you -- a time when other people don't absolutely have to have your attention.

I'm a morning person and when the children were at home, that is when I wrote. I got up at 4:30 and wrote until about 7:00. All my children liked to sleep in and for years, this was a guaranteed time for peace and quiet. It is still my favorite time to write. I usually write all morning and make the afternoons a time to enjoy life. In the evenings, I plan. It's a good time to think things through because sometimes the subconscious takes over and gives you insights while you sleep.

Within each session

It is essential that you not try to write a novel in a day. When I began, I suffered from this syndrome. I'd have the entire novel in my head. Needless to say, it is impossible to write a novel all at once. Like any journey, it has to be done one step at a time.

I like to break the job down into manageable bits. I figure that my novel will have 300 pages, 100 scenes, 20 chapters. Of course, this is just a guideline -- the end result can be quite different. But I need a starting place.

I write a description of a scene on an index card and when I begin, I like to write the first chapter and the last chapter. I pick out the scenes that belong in these chapters. So when I sit down to write, I take one of the 10 scenes for those chapters and begin. All I have to do that day is write that scene.

Of course, in writing a scene, other thoughts come to mind and over time, the book does grow. The original plan is necessary to keep you writing. Otherwise, you're staring at the blank page wondering what to do next.

You don't need to make a list of 100 scenes. But you do need an outline.

If you don't have time to write, take a look at how you are spending your time now.


About the Author:

Joanne Reid has written everything from short stories to custom articles to technical manuals. Of all her writing, she likes novel writing best. Everyone has a story to tell. You might even have more than one story to tell. At http://writeyournovel.info find a great way to start telling those stories.




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