Essential Writing Skills: time management is everything for writers

Writing is hard work. It’s a lot of work. But all that can be made easier with proper time and project management. When it comes to writing, time is everything. Not least because one mark of professionalism is being able to deliver as promised, to schedule.

My Adler Gabrielle 25 - on which I typed maybe a million words in the 1980s.
My Adler Gabrielle 25 – on which I typed maybe a million words in the 1980s.

Looking on a book as a project also means you can control the time spent on it and so get a reasonable return on your hours – you do want to get paid for your time writing, don’t you? The usual principles of project management apply. This means:

1. Breaking down the writing task – not merely into ‘chunks’, but also into ‘process’. And by analysing process, it means I don’t get caught out very often with dead ends. More on that soon.

2. Identifying the critical time factors. Is there something – like getting copyright permissions – that will hold everything else up? If so, organise the writing plan so that delays won’t hold up the whole process.

3. Writing the plan down – OK, maybe it’s OTT to use Gantt charts, but they DO highlight those critical time factors. And having a schedule is pretty important. Set your own mini-deadlines relative to process.

4. Sticking to the plan – but being ready to adapt it if needed.

This works for fiction and non-fiction alike. Writing is writing. So where does the muse fit in all this? More on that soon…suffice to say, writing isn’t just inspiration. A lot of it’s hard work. And having a plan eases that workload.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014


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2 thoughts on “Essential Writing Skills: time management is everything for writers

    1. Thanks. It’s amazing how often writing ‘appears’ to be inspiration – and maybe it is for those who use writing a as a pastime, but for anybody doing it seriously there’s a lot of metaphorical sweat involved. Years ago, Isaac Asimov penned a brilliant short story, ‘Galley Slave’ that pivoted on the very issue, – I have a copy floating about somewhere in my book collection. A brilliant expose of the ethics of third-party editing as well as a classically Asimovian take on an optimistic future.


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