Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Time to Learn

Over this past week, I discovered two new things about myself. Perhaps I’ve always been this way, and never noticed, or perhaps this is a fairly recent development (ie since I’ve had kids). Either way, I have just now come to terms with these realizations, a little late for the ACFW conference, but in good time for post-conference goals!

1. I am NOT a SOTP type of person. I must have order and organization when it comes to my writing (this doesn’t necessarily apply to my house, by the way, which is almost always in a state of chaos).
2. I DO NOT work well under extreme pressure. Some pressure is good…it motivates me to get my rear in fear. However lots of pressure (like 20K in five days with no husband at home and a list of non-writing chores to finish before I leave).

Like I said, this will be a lesson learned for the future. Chances are I won’t be quite as prepared for the ACFW conference as I would like to be, but instead of beating myself up about it, I’ll choose to learn from it and apply it in the future.

Some things I’ll do when I get back from the ACFW conference:

1. Make better use of my calendar. Not only will I write stuff on my calendar, but I will look at it—daily. Yes, I know that sounds silly, but you’ll be surprised how often I write stuff down, but then never review the calendar. Many a birthday cards have been late/not sent because of this. (sad…very sad)
2. Make better use of my time. As a stay-at-home mom, which comes with a set of stipulations of its own, with a military husband who is home as much as he is gone, majority of my time is obviously spent on my kids. In return, my writing time can be very restricted. So, as I figure out the best time for me, I need to make sure I make the best use of it…balancing fresh writing with CWG Apprentice homework, freelance work (which I hope to start), and reviews. A new schedule will be written up when I get back.
3. Set deadlines for myself and make out a plan to reach that deadline. How many words per day? Per week? How much time will I need for editing/revising?
4. Spend adequate time during the week dedicated to learning/honing the craft and researching the business.

I think that’s a start, don’t you?

A writer is basically self-employed. Unless we are under contract, it is our job to set standards for ourselves—deadlines, work schedule, etc. No one is going to do it for us. No one is going to call if we are thirty minutes late to the keyboard. No one is going to care if we call in sick. No one is going to miss us if we don’t finish our novel.

No, no one will miss us because the next big thing will have taken our place.

So, upon return to reality after the ACFW conference (and a short visit to my sister’s), I will revamp my writing lifestyle to accommodate the discoveries I have made. But what about you? What can you do to improve your writing time? Do you need to be more conscious of how you use your time? Do you need to learn to write even when you don’t feel like it? Does your writing area need a thorough cleaning and redecorated to help the muse work?

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Ralene! I like to have my "ducks in a row" so-to-speak. i.e. My chores done or mostly anyway before I sit down to write. That way I have no guilt or other things pressing on my mind so much. Having it scheduled into my day helps too. Obviously, with homeschooling my daughter, my writing schedule does not always go as planned -- but I think it's helped me a lot. Kudos to you for finding out what works and what doesn't. You'll get more accomplished once you implement the strategies that work for you. Have fun at conference!


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