By Linore Rose Burkard, Historical Novelist
I did it by getting the kids into bed and then sitting up at night working. But the by the time I needed to finish my second book, THE HOUSE IN GROSVENOR SQUARE, the kids weren't as young anymore, and weren't going to bed as early. Writing at night wasn't happening. What gave me success for one book was no longer the "right" way.
Life is like that, isn't it? One year, we can drop a few pounds by going low-carb, when the following year, the
weight won't budge without adding exercise. Things change, schedules change, and it can affect how or when we write. For this reason I've used numerous time-management tools to help me get work done. I've followed methods given by experts such as Brian Tracy, and stream-lined my day with productivity tips from Mike Hyatt. Most of the tools I pick up here or there have proven useful in their way, and for a time, but I have yet to find one that can take the place in overall effectiveness of sheer determination. I speak only for myself,
but the very creativity that makes me a writer is the same force that prevents me from sticking to the same rules, the same schedule every day, no matter how helpful it might have been while I did. When life changes fast, it is really only your determination that can keep you productive through the changes.
Nevertheless, I encourage every writer who has difficulty focusing on a project to experiment with various time-management tools. When you find one that works, use it until it no longer fits with who you are and what you're faced with at the moment.
Some writers find challenges useful. Next month is NaNoWriMo, or, National Novel Writing Month. This is basically an organized writing challenge in which each participant decides their own parameters, and helps many writers kick their creative juices into gear. It's a solid month of meeting a daily writing goal, and it's fast and furious. The very fact of its lasting only one month is what encourages many to get on board and give it a shot.
What about you? Do you follow a hard and fast writing schedule? Do you use time-management tools? And what about NaNoWriMo? Will you be participating?