“The average businessman or woman spends 20 minutes a day looking for various pieces of information,” says Marcia Ramsland, President of OrganizingPro.com. “This amounts to six weeks a year!”
So what’s a writer to do to get that time back? Here are five suggestions from Ramsland—try them for two weeks and see the changes.
Track your use of time
Set aside one day and check every half hour to list what you did for the past 30 minutes.
Example: 10 minutes for coffee and bagel; 10 minutes chatting with friend; five minutes making doctor’s appointment; five minutes surfing Internet.
Evaluate and make necessary adjustments.
Phone calls and ideas
Take 15 minutes to group your phone calls before making them. Write down your ideas for query letters. Complete one a day or two a week until you’re finished.
Check your cash flow
Where should you spend time to boost your income? Consider joining a critique group, checking publishers’ Web sites, studying markets, and sending queries. Save less important tasks for the end of the day when you’re too tired to write or edit.
Take one major step each month.
This month, shorten your phone calls and emails. Next month, tighten your query and cover letters. Audit your Web time and trim the fat.
Then, try to meet at least one new person who can contribute to your writing career—a published writer or an expert in a subject you’d like to write about.
Make time for fun
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, suggests that creative people go on a solo date each week to nourish their creativity. When I’ve spent a couple of hours walking the beach, attending a concert or play, or hiking, I come back to my writing refreshed and inspired. “It’s a personal choice,” says Ramsland. “Every one of us is only 10 minutes and 10 papers a day away from excellence.”
Karen O’Connor is a mentor for Christian Writers Guild and an award-winning author of books and articles for children and adults. Visit her at www.karenoconnor.com