Less is More
It can be said that a writer's work is never done. There is always so much to write about and never enough hours in the day to do it. Life can get frantic and, more often than not, it's our writing time that is the first thing to go as our time is pressurised by family commitments and emergencies or work deadlines.
It can be tempting, after disruption to our writing time, to try and cram as much writing as we can into the remaining time available. But is burning the candle at both ends and playing catch up the way to go? It used to be for me, until I realised something; the more I tried to catch up and the more I worried about what I hadn't written, instead of what I had achieved. I became more and more frustrated, unable to think clearly and rationally or enjoy what I was writing and my productivity and the quality of my work plummeted.
I was stuck in a vicious cycle and my worries about not being able to write enough and being behind on my writing schedule actually stalled me even further. The situation had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Enough was enough! It was time to stop fretting, moaning, pulling my hair out and gnashing my teeth because I wasn't achieving what I wanted with my writing. It was time, instead to stop, take stock and formulate a plan of action on how I was going to get out of the rut.
The first thing I changed was to re-design my writing agenda. I write around my day job in a school, so writing for me is not an option. I was writing part time but scheduling as if I was writing full-time. It was no wonder I was falling behind. I realised that I had inadvertently set myself up to fail!
So I allowed myself 15 hrs a week to write. This would happen in the evenings for 2-3 hrs per evening and then a few hours over the weekend, with a full day off a week. I also reduced what I expected myself to do during my allotted writing time from working on three items to two.
By doing this, the pressure was off and, quite often, I now find that I am actually ahead of myself most weeks. If this happens, I don't pile more pressure on myself by adding new tasks - that would just bring me back to square one! Interestingly, though, my productivity has actually gone up, but because I'm spending more time and effort on my projects, the quality is better. So next time you're fretting that you're not getting enough writing done, think of it in terms of quality rather than quantity and remember that less is more.
Thanks Julie! I can certainly relate to this: I also have a full time job and lots of other demands on my time. I don't manage 15 hours writing a week, so I take my hat off to you for that. But I do try to make the writing time I have really count.