Time Management Tips—The Ultimate Time Mismanagement

As some of you may know, I am an aspiring writer. Now, I won’t sit here and detail my creative writing process (or lack thereof), but I will share some oddities real quick. I started novelizing in high school, which is remarkably weird considering I hated reading until after I graduated. The results, needless to say, were abysmal.

But I continued pouring my ideas out on paper (or rather, a word processing program, i.e. Microsoft Word) because that was the way I knew to release them. It wasn’t even until I finished my first serious (as-of-yet unsolicited) novel that I started paying attention to the “how-to” articles and the “5 Things You Need to Know to be a Great Writer!!!” essays. Even today, I take these with a grain of salt because I have a process that works for me and other writers’ suggestions are just what works for them.

But one article in particular has always struck me as odd and, frankly, hypocritical: the “time-waster” articles.

I don’t mean articles you read that eat up your time. I mean every third article you read on writing advice that drives home the point that if you want to be a serious writer, you have to manage your time, meaning stop wasting time on the Internet when you should be writing.

You could read this. Or you could spend the time you would reading this writing instead.

It wasn’t until earlier today as I was trying to finish up a chapter that I realized the irony. There I was, type-type-typing away, and then I see a new email from BookBaby. The top featured article was titled “5 Time Management Tips for Writers Who Work From Home.”

Okay, let’s stop there for a second. If you truly are a writer who works from home, you either already possess excellent time management skills or you’re living on a diet of Ramen Noodles and tap water. That is to say the article was poorly targeted. Should it have been titled, “5 Time Management Tips for Writers Who Want to Work From Home” or “5 Time Management Tips for Aspiring At-Home Writers,” it would have been more forgivable.

All right, back to the premise. The first “tip” is to minimize interruptions; the proceeding paragraph went on to talk about screwing around on the Internet. And that’s about where I stopped and solidified the nascent thought in my mind: This is a time-waster! Not that it’s not good advice—because it is—but it has been said a hundred times over and, worse yet, anyone pursuing a stay-at-home career in writing should have already conceived this. It is one of the most basic, common sense concepts for writers. And pretty much everyone else.

Alas, the plague of writers who crave advice and help from the Internet is a ridiculous array of articles listing the “X Number of Tips to be a Successful Writer,” 95% of which overlap in common sense, largely unhelpful tips, unless you’re literally just starting out and haven’t given a thought to what that career might entail.

My advice? Again, what thousands of others have said before: do what works for you; and, what none of the authors of these articles say, stop reading generic “X Number of Tips” articles and get your ass to work! Which is what I’m going to do now.

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2 Comments

  1. I know for me at least that interruptions are the biggest time wasters I come across. It seems to take me forever to get back into the same groove of writing, working, thinking, etc that I was before an email came in or the phone rang. Sometimes I have to shut everything else off to really give myself a chance to get things done!

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  2. I think I’m going to have to disconnect myself from the Internet when I’m reading my textbooks and typing out my assignments on the computer. As you know, I’m way too ADD to work on something without distractions.

    Reply

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