Protecting your writing time.


Lately, I’ve been running into some pretty big revisions in the completion of the third book in my Allies and Enemies series. (Allies and Enemies: Exiles)

While I love spending time in this universe with the characters I’ve created, I’m really ready to complete this series and move on to the next group of writing projects. I’m finding it difficult to edit/revise my manuscript and write new material at the same time. Throw the whole indie-author self-promo/marketing wrinkle and you’ve got yourself one stressed out writer. (Oh, and did I mention the “day job” too?)

The purpose of this post isn’t just my little bitch fest. Although admittedly, it is kinda cathartic. It made me seriously consider what methods are there “out there” for an indie-author to balance his or her time commitments. I see others of my ilk pumping out books just about every month while I struggle to complete a manuscript in under a year. Also, I see these folks manage to cruise through promos and blog posts? I consider myself a pretty smart person… well, I know enough to be dangerous about many things anyway. For some reason, this perfect balance seems to be eluding me.

So, here a few tips and tricks on how to help with the distractions and help protect your precious writing time:

  1. Establish a set schedule to block out your writing time and stick to it. Physically write it down on your schedule and make an appointment with yourself. Make yourself keep it. It doesn’t have to be a fancy app; even an old fashioned calendar would work. There are even free templates you can print out for Office.
  2. Take control of interruptions. Make sure that other members of your household understand that your writing time is sacred “butt in chair” time to keep the interruptions to life-threatening emergencies. Turn your phone off, if you can.
  3. Stake your claim. If you don’t have a dedicated writing space to yourself, consider carving one out. Take the laptop to the local library and camp out there. Noise reduction headphones or earplugs can drown out the noise if your best option is a coffee shop.
  4. Kill the distractions. The deep black hole of the internet is a huge time suck. (I mean you wouldn’t be reading this right now instead of writing if that weren’t true.) If the temptation to sneak a peek at Twitter or the Facebook is great enough to lure you away from writing time, leave your phone in the other room. Consider using software like Cold Turkey or Anti Social that allows you to block access to social media sites for set periods of time. You can also temporarily disable your wifi access if you don’t trust yourself.

What do you do to help protect your writing time?