Special Guest Post from Dave Chesson, Creator of KDP Rocket
As an independent author, there are endless demands on your time and attention.
Even authors who are able to write full time are faced with a never-ending array of tasks to take care of. Things are even tougher for writers juggling their creative pursuits with a day job.
As a result, it’s essential to respect time as the precious, scarce resource that it is, and make the absolute most of it.
Today, I’d like to share tips focused on two particular approaches: taking back time and maximizing efficiency. The first is about finding and creating extra time to write, the second is about getting the most out of the time you do have.
Taking Back Your Time
In spite of the fact we all have 24 hours in a day, it seems like some people have a lot more time than others. The people who seem to do inordinate amounts with the hours given to them are actually just skilled at managing their time effectively.
Often, we are not making the most of the time available, and are not even aware of how our time is spent.
To start the process of taking back your time, try the following tips –
- Begin by tracking your time. You could do this manually, such as by journaling at the end of the day and writing down how your hours were spent, or you could use an app. RescueTime is one of the best. It tracks exactly what you do, offers detailed reports, and even gives you a productivity score.
- Once you understand how your time is spent, look for wasted time. Could you cut back on TV? Social media? Another hobby? Often, by making reductions here and there, you can free up a big chunk of time for writing.
- Consider cutting back on commitments. The author marketplace is crowded and becoming increasingly so. If you block out periods of time on your calendar in advance, you have carved out creative time that you won’t allow other activities to intrude upon.
Now that you’ve reached an understanding of how your time is spent, and allocated as much time as possible for writing, let’s consider how to make the most of those hours.
Maximizing Your Time
Finding the time to write is only half the battle.
To truly win the war, you need to be efficient, using your time in the most productive way possible.
Thankfully, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Authors have long sought ways to achieve more in the hours they allocate to their work. To be the most efficient author possible, consider putting these tried and tested methods to use in your own creative life –
- Switch up your writing environment. The place you choose to write in has a big impact on your work. JK Rowling wrote in her favorite cafe, while Charles Dickens insisted on having his writing desk shipped around the world with him!
- Try different writing tools. Many writers are inspired by using Scrivener, as it has an incredible level of functionality, while others prefer more minimalist solutions such as Zenwriter. Sometimes, switching software can make a big difference to your efficiency.
- Use apps to do the heavy lifting for creative work you are less proficient in. For example, if self-editing is a struggle, let Grammarly do the initial work. If you need some graphic content for your author platform, but aren’t a visually creative person, use a Canva template.
- Experiment with the time of day you write. This will depend upon your wider schedule, and also whether you tend to be a night owl or a morning person. Stephen King and many other authors write in the morning, while Danielle Steel and her fellow night owls prefer to burn the midnight oil. Find what works for you.
- See whether setting a word count target or a length of time target works best for you. Successful authors have advocated both approaches.
- Block out distractions. This involves finding a focused environment, perhaps finding some music that gets you in the zone to write, using apps to block out distracting notifications on your phone, and letting the creativity flow.
Time To Get Writing!
Hopefully, you’ve found an idea or two here that will allow you to find more time to write, and make even more of the time you do have.
Have you got a favorite time management tip to share with your fellow writers? Do you have a time management anecdote from a famous author you’d love to share? Please feel free to comment!
Dave Chesson is the creator of KDP Rocket, a powerful keyword research tool that can help you improve the marketing and ranking of your books on Amazon and beyond. Find more at kindlepreneur.com.