We all struggle to find time in the day to do all the things we need to do. This is no different for writers, particularly those of us that moonlight as writers, but have day jobs that pay the bills. Finding the time to write that next book–let alone market your previous book, socialize with other authors, and all the other tasks we face as indie authors–is next to impossible.
We have to be incredibly diligent with our time. If we want to effectively write, we need to avoid procrastinating and organize our time. Here are the 5 Ineffective Habits of Authors. Avoiding these can help in maximizing your writing efforts.
1. Failing to Budget Time to Write
Once upon a time I thought I needed to write in a particular time and place. I would typically write at night and I would need to be in the perfect mood. With a very demanding job, however, and a lovely wife and two-year-old daughter that I love spending time with, I quickly found that I was not finding much time to write at all. I had to begin writing anytime I could find a free 30 minutes. I was lucky I did too.
Young writers always wait for the moment of inspiration to strike. These moments are amazing, but they are a great luxury. The truth, in my opinion, is that writing is as much about editing and revising as it is about the writing itself. I have so many pages of Pieces Like Pottery on the cutting room floor. Maybe editing is a beautiful and inspiring process for some people, but for most writers I know, it is painstaking. There’s nothing inspirational about it for me.
Having very little time to write each day helped me to begin taking my writing to the next level, to learn to hone it as a craft, rather than writing simply being an inspirational hobby. I budget time for writing throughout the week, regardless of whether the circumstances are perfect.
2. Failing to Write
I know what you’re thinking: “Didn’t we just go over this in number one?”
There’s budgeting the time to write and then there’s actually writing. All too often we sit down to write and we don’t utilize that time for writing. We putz on previous chapters we’ve written. Or we spend far too much time trying to write that perfect sentence. There will be time for all of that later in the editing process. Right now is for writing. If you’ve budgeted time for writing, then write. The first draft is never good. Don’t worry about it.
Don’t spending the time you set aside for for writing with tinkering, or even worse…
3. Wasting Time on Email and Social Media
Keeping up with emails and social media is necessary, especially for indie authors. It is our avenue for creating a community around our books. Without it, the few sales we do get quickly turn into just that one copy of your book that your parents bought.
But how often do you check your email? How many times do you flip through your Twitter feed or Facebook updates? Did you really need to know that Linda’s dog ate a cookie today? (I don’t know Linda or her dog, but I’m guessing it’s not that interesting. We don’t care, Linda! Shut up about your dog already!)
Unless you are making a living from being an author and have time all day to focus on writing, you have very limited time that you can dedicate to your writing. Do yourself a favor, be a serious writer. Don’t waste your time online.
You have very limited time that you can dedicate to your writing. Do yourself a favor, be a serious writer. Don’t waste your time online.
4. Reading Pointless Blogs
I’m obviously not talking about Nothing Any Good. This blog is a necessary part of your day, right?
Just look at this infographic from Digital Buzz from 2012 on how many new blog posts go up each day. It’s likely doubled since then, at least. There are literally millions of posts to suck up your time.
2 Million posts go up every day!!! We all waste far too much time skimming blog posts that we don’t even care to read. Was it really necessary to learn about the 5 Celebrities That Secretly Wish They Were Authors? (Number 3 will shock you!) Stop wasting your time on them. Focus on the blog posts that will inform your writing, not the blog posts that will distract from it.
5. Too Much Screen Time
Turn off the TV! Stop watching YouTube! Shut down Netflix!
I love television and movies as much as the next person. (Did you see Making a Murderer?!) But stop watching so much! You love to write. Spend more time writing. Besides, TV could literally be killing you. Don’t believe me, watch this over-sensationalized video on how videos could be killing you.
If you want to be a writer, start fostering the habits of a successful writer. Get rid of the ineffective habits that prevent you from exploring your craft the way you want to.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.