Where Does All The Time Go?

January 14, 2008 at 10:08 am | Posted in Jessica, time management, writing | 2 Comments

When I looked at our blog schedule and realized that this week’s topic was ‘time management’, I let loose an inner groan. I really have very little else to impart on time management, and could, quite frankly, use all the help I could get on the subject. Try as I might, I mightily struggle to manage my time.

Meg, Bria, and I are all involved in the planning of a writing conference, which is the first of two conferences I plan to attend this year. I go to conferences to meet new people and to take in the workshops that most interest me, but I have yet to go to any with a super polished project in the hopper and the determined intent to sell it.

Well, this year is when I want to start thinking in those terms and by December 2008 I want to have two new books done – one polished and ready to go and one at least completely drafted.


It sounds like a lot when countered with work, home, health, and other commitments . . . until I think about how to best manage my time.

As I post this blog on Monday, January 14, I have 87 days until the first conference and 192 days until the other. That 192 day point is as good a half-way point in the year as any, so if I think about completing a 100,000 word book between now and then, I have to write approx 520 words every day just to get the draft done.

Reality Check #1:
Factor in the whole conference planning and execution, and there are at least 8 days in there where I will be wholly consumed with conference stuff.

Reality Check #2:
I need to give myself the flexibility each month to have a few days off with no writing at all . . . just to try to plan for unplanned things. So, I should give myself a cushion of 18 days where I won’t force the words to come.

And there are a number of other realities that I need to plan around, but I think that giving myself the outs mentioned above are about as lenient with myself as I should be.

In losing those 26 days, I now have roughly 166 days to write 100,000 words. And when I boil it down again, it means that I have to invent roughly 602 words a day to make the goal of finishing by the third week of July.

When I put it like that, it sounds totally doable. (But feel free to check my math . . . it’s been one of those weeks.)

I like to work with two spreadsheets while I’m writing – one is the NaNo spreadsheet that NaNo participate Erik Benson created (and one I don’t mind sharing again because it is just the greatest resource) and the other spreadsheet is a Blank Page Generator that I believe I got from my friend, Donna Caubarreaux.

For me, they have been decent tools to help me with my struggle between writing time and time management. When I don’t see the totals changing on the spreadsheets I don’t like the way I feel, so the visual cues help quick-start the fire I need to somehow find the time to write. If you are interested in receiving either, post a comment to today’s blog with your request and I will email one or both to you as an attachment.

I wish I had some sure-thing tips to share when it comes to creating and managing writing time. All I know is I have to figure out a way to do it and use whatever tricks I can to help boost me along, hence the spreadsheets. I’d love to hear about any tools that you use to help muscle you through the process!

Keep writing . . . whenever and wherever you can!




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  1. I’ve always been uncomfortable with this notion of setting daily word limits. I would much rather have 50 good words than 2,000 that are destined for someone else’s trash (to paraphrase William Burroughs). So you have a great big gob of words at the end of a month (or six). Then what? I’ll take quality over quantity any day–makes editing a (slightly) less distasteful task.

    Interesting post, thanks…

  2. Nice Jessica!

    Cliff, welcome to our blog. That’s the great thing about creative processes – everyone creates differently and is motivated by their own inner self.

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