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I answered her question in such detail that she ran my answers as a guest post on her own blog this week. You can read Balancing Your Business and Creative Writing here. In thinking some more about this topic, I decided to touch on it a little more here on my blog.
First, let me tell you how I spend my writing time:
- I work full-time (40 hours a week) for a nonprofit organization, writing fundraising letters, donor reports, encouraging stories of how the organization is helping people, and so on.
- I also freelance anywhere from 1-5 hours a week, both for other nonprofits as well as for-profit businesses.
- I write three blog posts a week (3 hours a week).
- For creative work right now, I'm writing flash fiction stories, as well as the novel I'm currently working on in my spare time. (This is where my time varies greatly, depending on what else I'm doing and whether I "feel" like writing.)
- I also occasionally teach for the local college, which amounts to 10 hours a week when I do it. It's a fair question to ask when I sleep or spend time with friends. But that's for another blog post.
It's also fair to say that I may over-schedule myself, which makes being balanced a heck of a lot harder. I like to be busy, and perhaps I like it too much. But when it comes down to time management and writing, I have found that the busier I am, the more motivated I am to get things done. It seems to boil down to the deadline. The pressure. If the only time I have to get a blog post done is in the next 30 minutes, then I'm more likely to write it and get it done now, even if I don't have to post until tomorrow. But if I have all night and tomorrow morning too, with nothing pressing, I'm more likely to procrastinate. It seems to be how I'm wired. The busier I am, the better.
But that means I have to be anal with my time management to make my schedule work. I write to-do lists every day, so nothing falls through the cracks. I stay on a blog schedule of three times a week, posting in the mornings, to keep consistency. I carry a notebook and a calendar wherever I go. And I try to make time daily to write for myself, no matter what, even when it isn't easy, which is often.
I'm still learning what works best for my creative writing. As I told Lynette, I give myself a little break between the end of the day job and the start of my evening. The brain needs to clear. But to be most effective, I just have to put butt in chair and write. And it's best to do it when I'm alone. Once my roommate comes home, we tend to start chatting (she's a good friend too). And then I get distracted. So I have to find a good way to stay focused for the creative writing, and that's my biggest challenge.
So... What do you do to manage your time? If you write for a day job and then write creatively in the evening, how do you make it work? And even if you don't write for your day job, do you use a schedule to stay more on task for your creative writing? Share, share, share!
Copyright (c) 2011 by M.A. Chiappetta. All rights reserved.