Wednesday, August 6, 2014

TIME RESTRAINTS... WHERE TO FIND TIME TO FOCUS ON WRITING....

Hi, All.

It surprises me how quickly the first Wednesday of the month comes around.  Ready for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post? I hope you are... This is my most important post of every month and thanks to Captain Alex we all have the opportunity to voice our insecurities to help ourselves and others. Thank you, Alex. If you'd like to join our group click here.

Today I'd like to talk about time restraints. It has become a problem for me and for many of you, I'm sure. But what to do about it? When I first started writing/blogging, I had endless hours to write. I lived on my computer. And, yes, I did a lot. Kept up with everything and everyone. But it was at a high price. I had no real quality of life. I gave up everything to write. My health suffered and I gained over fifty pounds in two years. Not good. I finally realized I had to take my life back... but then... need I continue.

Now I have so little time to write/blog. I feel as though I'm running in a race with no visible end. There's no finish line in sight. SO how does one take hold of time and bend it to our needs? Sadly it can't be done. But maybe we can at least accomplish most of what we need to do. I've racked my brains for solutions, but nothing I try seems to work for an extended period. They are "quick fixes." Trying to pull a positive out of this conundrum isn't easy, but I have to try...

Making lists. For many it works. I've never really was a 'list' type but I'll give it a whirl...

I've ALWAYS told my stressful friends to breathe. It does help. Take baby steps and concentrate on one task at a time as to not to become overwhelmed. This I have done many times and it does work.

BUT the main thing I need to do is focus.... this is a BIG ONE. If one is focused one can get many things accomplished. But, how does one stay focused when there are a million things whirling around in your head? Anyone know? I have to admit this one stunts me too.

Another thing I discovered that truly helps is talking with a WRITER friend. Believe me, I always feel tons better after my long chats with blogger buddy and friend Melissa Bradley (who is going for another round of Chemo on Thursday, so please keep her in your thoughts and prayers).

This is my anxiety for this month. I hope you guys have some other suggestions for me and for others who are experiences time issues.... THANKS!

Don't forget to drop by our other IW's and lend advice or receive some good tips. If you have a sec... please scroll down to my previous posts, if you haven't read them already... A new book intro and news about Melissa Bradley and the anthology we are planning....

Have a wonderful day everyone.

50 comments:

  1. What works for me is to drop what really isn't that important and realize I'm not going to get it all done, so why worry.
    People matter most to me. And I think it's people who make life meaningful. So the focus of what I do is on others and what will bring them joy. What cool is the things that bring me joy (playing my guitar) bring others joy. That's a big win.

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  2. I feel this pain all too well. Sometimes I have to steal a day and escape to the library.

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  3. I found myself in that position for a long time and only recently returned to writing fiction again. It's all about making a decision - I'm going to write.

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  4. I can so relate. I'm cutting back my blogging through the Fall a bit while I focus on being swim parent captain. And I have to be on a writing break. But I am trying to blog and read blogs once to twice a week. I think the key is still to do it but to cut back and get those other things done so you can write more. Hope this helps.

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  5. For me, I am facing the opposite problem. Since I left teaching, I now am facing a stretch of what seems like boundless time in which I *must* be productive with my writing. And yet I worry that I don't have any more good ideas in me -- that there isn't another book in me, just lots of half-formed ideas that amount to nothing.

    I don't know how to structure my time, buckle down, develop these ideas, and create a work schedule that is made entirely of writing. Time is my enemy too, but where it used to be elusive, now it's a big giant about to crush me underfoot.

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  6. I'm pretty good at structuring my time. As long as I have my priorities straight. I don't try to accomplish everything. I prioritize each day.

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  7. I hang with people who are better at organizing things. When I start a project, I try to enlist their help so the time scheduling gets done. Organization is for other people.

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  8. I find stepping away helps me. It's hard, especially when you like being reliable and responsible. But take a bit of time, focus on you and yours, and then you realize what is and isn't important. Then you can let stuff back in little by little. Take it easy. Take care of you!

    Loni

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  9. Bleh. Time. Lists are good and so are schedules (which is advice I sorely need to take for myself). Divvy out a segment of time for working out, for writing, for social networking, and everything else you must fit into your life, and stick to it. You've always impressed me with your discipline so I'm sure you'll figure this out before the rest of us---and please tell us when you do!

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  10. You choose what is most important, and slack off other things. Everyone needs time to restore their own equilibrium. When hubs had his heart attack, there was a sharp focus for me on what was important in my life.

    I couldn't write or read very much for the whole month of July and only began again this past week. I'm slowblogging for the present to accommodate this change in priorities. I'd rather spend it with hubs than with the computer. I do my blogposts in between and visit when I can. Do what works for you, Michael. Friends don't go away. BTW - I like lists and use them all the time.

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  11. Time restraints and other responsibilities sure put a hitch in my writing in July. I barely wrote in my book because there was too many other things that needed my attention, but I plan on changing that this month.

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  12. So many people are posting about this (me included). I think we're all feeling the pinch.

    Good to see you again, Michael. Be well. :)
    IWSG #184 until Alex culls the list again.

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  13. I understand your pain, Michael. Time is a limited resource. Unfortunately, I'm a very slow writer. One off-the-wall thing that's helped with my writing progress is that my CP and I now have chapter deadlines. Knowing I have to have a chapter complete on a certain day, helps me to schedule other tasks more effectively.

    VR Barkowski

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  14. The time thing gets us all. I've been better at making sure I take time for myself to exercise and spend time with my family.

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  15. The biggest thing that helped me was finally realizing that there is no such thing as balance, only priorities. You will never finish everything, so you have to pick the most important things and not sweat the rest.

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  16. I wish I could offer advice but I seem to have the same issue. Being able to slow down and focus is so difficult for me.

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  17. As D.G. wrote: you prioritize. I sit down in the morning and will myself to wrte just ONE sentence. I read the paragraph prior and write that one sentence -- it usually leads to a full paragraph.

    Then, in the evening I read the last page I've written and see how I can tighten it up. That usually leads at least to half a page of new material! In a year's time of that, you will have written a short novel. How cool is that? And you do it with one new sentence in the morning and one edited page at night.

    We all have to find our own way. I will pray hard for Melissa this Thursday. Always your friend and her, Roland

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  18. What a common problem this is. Lack of time is such a frustration for writers!

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  19. I will keep Melissa in my prayers for sure. I am finding that giving myself "carrots" helps on any given day. I can't use only one thing that works all the time. But I can use different things on different days, because no day is the same and the time spent in each day is differently parceled out. So one day, getting three hours worth of work/words done might garner me a cup of ice cream, or an hours worth of a TV show on Netflix. Another day I might work till lunch, then give myself an hours lunch break. Anything that seems to work that day. Don't know if that helps, but I think the every-time or not- at-all doesn't work... And, I don't carry over. If I miss a day's "carrot" oh well. Just makes me want it more the next time!

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  20. The balance is difficult. Sending a quick prayer for Melissa, and you know my time machine approach was working, until I had to break it so the scientists locked in my basement would stop playing jokes on me. Well, we can't always win, eh?

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  21. I hear you! I was just talking about the unable to focus on just one project without all the other stuff creeping in.

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  22. Many writer's suffer the same. Trying to manage time. I planned on writing all day, and I managed zilch, due to an unexpected visitor! Blog hopping is about all I'm good for today. I like what Steven said about prioritizing.
    I think about people suffering with severe illnesses like Melissa and Julie's mom and some of my friends, that's what grounds me.

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  23. It's so frustrating! Finding balance and time is a biggie. Best of luck finding yours. Mine is at the mercy of my babies, but eventually we'll all work it out. I have to believe it. :)

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  24. Talking to my writer friends always helps me too. And I know just what you mean about running a race with no end. It helps if you realize the publishing business and writing isn't a sprint - it's a marathon, so pace yourself and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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  25. If I could save time in a bottle . . .

    Love,
    Janie

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  26. The more we are connected and the more interruptions we experience, the more we feel frazzled and unable to focus. I did some research for an article and learned that we are reconfiguring the physical structure of our brains by multi-tasking and jumping from one task to the next without a break. Scary. I believe in breathing deeply and taking hikes. Those help me a lot.

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  27. Time has a way slipping away for me. When I started blogging I had time to post two to three times a week. Now I am lucky if it is just once. I find if priorities are in their place then all will settle down.

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  28. Yes, Michael, I always have dozens of things buzzing around in my head -- I'm desperate to get thousands of photographs of my travels categorised, I'm desperate to get a book finished, I'm desperate to get my short stories categorised...probably none of that is going to happen until I stop teaching, which is a big time suck, but it keeps me travelling...

    It must be wonderful to have Melissa to talk to. I'll have Nas Dean staying with me Friday week after the RomanceWritersConference in Sydney. She'll inspire me big time.

    I saw Melissa's fundraising link on facebook today. Will be donating when I can sort out how to do it.

    Denise :)

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  29. I know exactly what you mean. I used to blog four times a week, now I'm lucky to get in eight posts a month. The good news is, it's because I'm writing books! I maintain that focus with outlines and daily goals. It really helps!

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  30. I've learned to get done what I can, and let the rest go. My day job keeps me busy constantly, and after several days of writing court reports, sitting on a computer and writing stories, or posts, or even being social in the blogs tires me out.

    But, I pick something to focus on, work on it a while, and move on if I need to so I feel like I'm progressing. This came about afteer giving up on the famous published author dream however. I am sure I will soon find my writing heart again. This is just a phase, as are all things.

    Hmm, that maybe wasn't helpful Michael. You are such a resilient person I know you will find your groove again.

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  31. I'm going through something similar and am currently working toward getting it all back together and refocusing. The only way I know how is to take it one step at a time, but most especially, to be kind to myself. No more fail mentality.

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  32. My best time to do anything is first thing in the morning. So I'm working on getting up early and doing the writing and blogging early. I'm also trying to write later in the day as well, which I've never been able to do before. It's hard to make time, but writing's my priority right now.

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  33. Focusing is my problem as well, and it's a problem in all areas of my life—not just the creative ones. I'll be doing something, then see something else that needs to be done, but before I can finish the second thing, a third thing will demand attention... It's crazy. I hope we both figure it out soon.

    Have a great Thursday!

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  34. Sending prayers for Melissa.

    I have these same problems, Michael. I agree with everything you say about ways to take control. They do work. The problem is keeping them up.

    I've found one way that helps me is to take full weekend breaks, even when I don't want to or am on tight deadline. I am always 100% more productive for a few weeks after stepping totally away for a couple of days.

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  35. I'm also trying to balance my time.
    For that reason, I have a new blogging schedule. The thing is, I LOVE my blogging and cannot give it up totally. But I have to cut back.
    (I owe you an e-mail, Michael.)

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  36. Sometimes balance isn't so much a daily thing, as a monthly or yearly thing. I write less during the summer. Nothing I can do about that. When the kids are in school I can write more. I was looking forward to more writing time with both kids in school but then we adopted number three and he's only two, and I babysit another two year old three days a week so right now I have no writing/blogging time. For these years my balance needs to be heavier on the child care. In a few years It can be heavier on writing. It's frustrating somedays but when you look at the life overview the balance is there.

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  37. Hi Michael - please send Melissa - my thoughts and best wishes - a really difficult time. I'm sure she's really happy to have you around to talk to - that's something I've read when someone's ill we don't need to run away and let them recover without us .. they need a degree of normality ...

    I'm like you trying to do too much - but I'm going to schedule my time in batches ... and thus make sure I do concentrated batches of all the things I need to do ... a walk will allow me to mull things over ... exercise too, as I stretch the 'old' limbs ... and I'm going to eliminate some of the time-wasting things I tend to do ... so I can improve my life and thus achieve more in a more organised fashion ...

    Good luck with all you're doing ... cheers to you and to Melissa ... Hilary

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  38. I'll definitely be keeping your friend, Melissa, in my prayers.

    I know exactly what you mean. When I was working (even though it was only part time), it kept me hopping enough to cause my blogging/writing to suffer. I've since quit that job and am helping with the family business....no, not -that- family business :P.... and have quite a bit of time, now. I just need to organize things better. I'm a huge list guy and I think I'm much better with planning than improvisation....except for novel writing :)

    Best of luck, Michael!

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  39. You are juggling so many different projects that it must be difficult to set aside time for yourself. It's also hard to stay inside working when we're finally experiencing nice weather. Hopefully, you'll be able to find the right balance soon. Sending lots of good thoughts and well wishes to Melissa.

    Julie

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  40. I have discovered the same thing with having writing friends. I have come to the belief every writer needs one. They understand the problems we go through, and we them, so we can help one another in ways no one else can.

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  41. Rooting for Melissa. She will conquer!

    I'm entering my busy season: two books about to be published next month, a new job, kids start school, and a pretty tough convention schedule. My plan is to just chill out whenever I get the chance.

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  42. We are brothers of the same pain. I've never been able to organize my time effectively. Either I do something and neglect something else, or I don't finish anything in an attempt to do everything. If you come up with a solution, let me know!

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  43. I feel ya! I feel the same and most probably do. we just don't wanna admit it. but I say - just do what u can. people will support that honesty more then a tweeker trying to do it all and driving themselves insane!

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  44. Hi, Michael,
    I'm facing some of the same challenges and I actually gave up my full-time job to be able to have more time to write, but that hasn't improved things much. Lists works for me, but I need more discipline and focus.

    In terms of writing, I came across an interesting quote today from John Steinbeck. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day. It helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

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  45. Hi Michael, I feel this time restraints all to well. I have cut down my blogging from twice a week to once a week. But I am trying to strike a balance by doing the things I consider important for each day. On blogging day (the day I post), I try to visit blogs and on other days I catch up with my writing and researching for my book.

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  46. we want to do so much! great ideas for managing time and stressing less about things - prioritize with lists, talk to friends and focus!
    praying for melissa, she's such a strong person!

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  47. Life gives us so many challenges. I've learned it is hard to trust people....So glad we connected on the phone. I may need your support next week. We drop Katherine off at college on Saturday. She has auditions on Sunday. I'm praying she gets a part....The theater is her life. I know the whole purpose for going to college is to learn about the craft, but I want/need her to get a part.....

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  48. Oh, time ... there never seems to be enough. When I feel stressed, I make a list, and at the top of the list it says: Remain Calm. ;)

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  49. I find lists work for me mainly because they get all the niggling thoughts out of my head and onto paper - hopefully clearing up headspace for story ideas!
    Time seems to be running away from all of us lately, I don't know where it goes! I try to catch up on blogs and turn around and find myself behind again when before I had such a great rhythm going. Not sure why this is.
    Maybe when winter comes we'll all hunker down again!

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  50. This blog is so apropos for me right now, as you know. I think the only answer, at least for me, is one day, one project and or crisis at a time. It's how I'm trying to move forward. I realize I can't do it all or control anything but me. Coming back, I'll go slow, knowing the unexpected always takes the lead.
    Your support for your friends - beautiful - there's noting like it!

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