Thursday, April 14, 2011 | By: Karen Bishop

Justifying Your Writerly Time, Make the Most of It

Leaving the brick and mortar workplace, either because you want to, or had no choice, doesn't mean you don't have to justify your time any longer. Being your own boss as a freelance writer does give you a lot more leeway in what you do with your time, but on the other hand you can't fritter time away if you expect to make money to buy food and pay the bills.

You don't have to make up a rigid schedule and justify every single minute of the day, but you should plan your day to make the most of the hours you do have available. Sometimes things happen in life that's out of our control and can derail even the best schedule in the world.

Keep in mind that everyone is different when it comes to their writing needs. None of our schedules are going to be the same. As an example, I'm a night owl and tend to do best when I write at night. Even us night owls have different times of the night, late night, or early morning that we find most productive. Determine when your best writing hours are to make the most of your writing time.

Don't force the words or the time. Trying to write at the wrong time of day leads to frustration. It may also have you producing craptastic articles that make you cringe. I tried writing during the day one time, a whole article, I'll never do that again unless my muse moves me to write during my "off" hours.

Use your "off" hours to outline or do some research. You may not be writing, but you are doing writerly activity. That's making the most of your writerly time, allowing you to be ready to write that article when actual writing time rolls around. I lay out my how to's with my "Things You'll Need", steps, tips, warnings, references, resources and notes to the CE and notes of what goes in each step done. For section type articles, I give them headings and if there's something I particularly want to say, I make a note of it.

Always carry a small notebook, small recorder or something around with you to take notes. Life can be so hectic and that brilliant idea you had while standing in line buying groceries will vanish into the ether if you have to wait to jot it down. Make a note of whatever pops into your head right then and there. Later you can flesh it out on virtual or actual paper.

Reward yourself. I find the reward system is working for me. I must get x articles researched and outline, or x written before I'll allow myself to take a break. I get to peruse FB, check on a game, go clear the crap out of my email and leave the stuff I want or need to read sitting there for later. Some of you may go for a short walk to get the blood pumping, or grab a snack. Whatever you do, always make the most of your time, while rewarding yourself for all the hard "work" you're doing.


Anonymous said...

I love little rewards! I can justify any extra work with, say, a trip to Starbucks! Great topic, btw.

Tracey said...

This is great advice. Unfortunately, my day job conflicts with my best time to write.