Amused Authors

Letters To Amusees (As I plan to call my imaginary audience from now on) by ~ Me ~
November 8, 2008, 6:22 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Dear Amusees,


There’s a subject that’s been on my mind lately and that some of us at LPI have been discussing lately.  TIME MANAGEMENT.  Yes, the capitals are intentional.  This is a topic I consider important enough to merit shouting. Feel free to shout back in the comments section. J


Maybe before I launch into this, it’d be helpful if I explained my situation, since its sort of what started me on this obsession about time.  As of a few weeks ago, I belonged to eight Yahoo groups (some for readers, some for writers), five forums (again, mostly for writers), and I blogged in three different places.  I also frequented some favorite blogs run by other writers and by editors and literary agents.  When did I write?  Ah, that’s the question, isn’t it?  Most of the groups I belonged to were related in one way or another to my love of reading and writing, and yet in a cruel twist of irony they actually prevented me from writing as much as I wanted to.  Maybe you’re getting the gist of where I’m going with this.


Things couldn’t go on this way for ever.  I was making the rounds to over a dozen online hangouts per day. Oh, it didn’t start that bad of course.  In the beginning it was just a couple of hours per day spent on the computer. But then as I began feeling more at home in various forums and loops I found my problem was growing.  What had started out as tiny habit had morphed into a Godzilla-sized addiction.  I loved the forums. I loved the groups.  I loved…I loved to write most of all though, and I was losing serious writing time on all of these other ativities. That’s when I realized it was time to take action.  I sat down and formed a plan.  That plan involved several decisions I was going to have to make and stick by. 


Resolution #1.  I was going to have to put the breaks on joining new groups.  Yes, I love them and no, I’m not saying they’re a bad thing, in reasonable numbers.  Only that one person can only keep up with so many and still be a regular participant in all of them.  I join groups so I can be involved in them, not just duck my head in once a month to say “hi”, and then disappear before anyone can ask, “Who was that stranger?” I realized I was being as unfair to my groups as I was to myself in trying to split my attention in so many directions at once.


Resolution #2. No new forums and, for the sake of all the goody gumdrops, no more blogs!  I do three now after all.  The same reasons for the “no more groups” rule apply to the forums, blogs, and other online communities. 


Resolution #3.  This was arguably the most important one.  If I intended to keep up with the commitments I had already made and remain an active participant in each of my communities (to say nothing of still finding the time to keep up with my personal website, my webzine, and my newsletter!) I was going to have to start scheduling my time.  That’s right, painful as it was, I would have to sit down and drawn up a schedule, parceling out bundles of my time to various activities on different days.  No more daily rounds, trying to check up on everything every day.


Want to know how I went about setting up my schedule?  Well, since I’ve run on a bit long here, it’ll have to wait until next week.  In the meantime, feel free to drop a comment and tell me how you lay out your schedule, or if you use one at all.  Until then, happy scribbling…or reading, I’m not really sure which you do. To tell the truth, I don’t know you Amusees that well yet.  J


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Dara, great post. I’m reevaluating where I spend my time these days as well. For me it’s more of a where as to a when or how long. Gotta find the lucrative avenues!

Look forward to the next installment.

Comment by Aubrey Leatherwood

*snort* ONLY 8 Yahoo groups? *rotflmfao* *G* I cut down to about 80 a few weeks ago, from over 100. *LOL*

No, they don’t all get read every day. Many of them I haven’t read in a loooong time. I use Mail Washer to pre-sort/delete mail from my server before downloading. Some of them are professional lists (non-writing) I must stay a member of if I want to use them in the future, because if you deliberately unsubscribe, they have stupid ban rules. So on many of them I’m at no-mail status.

I have found I cannot tightly structure my day. It doesn’t work, and when the schedule gets blown, it shoots my whole day. I use blocks of time/days. I tend to decide what gets my priority based on what’s going on at any given time, deadline requirements, ongoing writing projects, etc.

I cycle through certain things, whether it’s blog updates or email updates or promos or what have you. Some of it comes organically, if I don’t have a couple of hours to devote to writing I get sidetracked into non-writing stuff.

If I’m in a writing cycle, especially if the story is really buzzing inside me, come hell or high water I AM writing the story and everything else can just wait. Fortunately for me, I am not a very social creature by nature, so it’s not like I’m missing out on other things. To me, a great evening home is spent in front of the computer working on a wip. *LOL*

Yes, *sigh* I have no life.


Comment by Lesli Richardson

No! Don’t Make me manage my time! I might get something done!

Okay, fine.

I had a system. A system that worked really well until it went to heck in a handbasket. It was a nice handbasket with pretty bows and matching ribbons, but to heck it went, with my schedule tucked inside. My simple system was mornings for business and correspondence, afternoons for editing and evenings for writing. Loads of room for flexibility. Should have worked, but alas, I have no will power and forums beckoned.

But starting tomorrow, I’ll be back on track. Right?

Comment by Charlotte McClain

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