Tips to Organize Your Writing Time

If there’s one commodity everyone gets equally, it’s time–24 hours every day. No one gets any more nor any less than the next person. The challenge comes in determining how each of us spends our 24 hours. Whether you write part time or full time, it’s good to organize your writing time.

Consider using these tips to help you get the most out of every day.

  • In your word processing program (or with pen in a notebook if you prefer), create a landscape oriented (lengthwise) table. Make one for every week and date the week at the top. Example: “Week Ending __________,” so you can track hours for each week.
  • The first column to the left should be wide and labeled “Project.”
  • The next seven columns should be labeled “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,” etc. (the days of the week). Use abbreviations is you like since you’re only entering numbers in these columns.
  • The final column should be wide and labeled “Comments,” so you can add comments/reminders, etc.

Once you’ve created your time sheet template, you’re ready to use it and here are some tips for that.

  • In the first column, list each project you actually work on that week. Each project gets its own line so you can enter the hours spent on that project under whichever day you worked on it. For example, you might work one hour on your novel on Monday and one hour researching which periodicals you’re interested in sending article queries to on Tuesday. You’d enter the title of your novel on one line and enter a one under Monday, then enter something like “Query Possibilities” on the next line and enter a one under Tuesday.
  • Be sure you count your research time, your record keeping time, your bookkeeping time, etc. on your time sheet, so you know how much time you spend on your writing career each day.
  • You can get more sophisticated by estimating how much time you intend to spend on each project by simply adding a circled number on the project line. For example, if you intend to work four hours on your novel, add a circled four to that line to remind you. Then you can see how well you estimate how long a project will take and whether you’re staying on track with your time estimate.
  • Track and record hours every day and every week. The old adage about time being money has some truth to it, so see if you’re using your time wisely. If it takes you 15 hours  to research and write an article and you’re paid $100.00 for that article, you’re working for $6.67 per hour. You need to decide if you’re okay with that.

The new year is here and there’s no better time to get organized and make this the best year for writing you’ve ever had. Happy writing!

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