Sunday, January 16, 2011

Making More Time to Write - Part 1

We had our monthly ANWA meeting on Thursday and our lesson was given by Connie Sokol. Connie is the mother of six children. She has spoken at BYU Education Week and other public venues, and ran her own life coaching business. She is the author of several non-fiction books and has recently been granted a contract for another book. She gave a wonderful lesson about finding--really making--more time for writing. I wanted to share with you some notes from her lesson. I will share notes from half of her presentation this week and the last half next week.

1. Your 10,000 Hours
She talked about research done by Malcolm Caldwell on successful people--legends like Michael Jordan. Caldwell found that what made them successful was spending 10,000 hours of focused effort. Connie went on to say that as writers, everything we do can count towards that 10,000 hours, if we are thinking. She encouraged us to think of things we do each day that are mindless activities, such as vacuuming the carpet. She said we could use that time to think about our story and solve plot problems or any other puzzle we need to work through with our book.

2. Get a Clear Concept
Connie pointed out that often what causes writers block is a fuzzy idea about what the story is about; what needs to happen next. She recommended writing a query, pitch or just a friendly letter to a friend, talking about the novel, describing the plot.

3. Chewable Chunks
Often we have free time that we don't see as free time. To organize your time better, write down what's essential to your daily schedule, then dig for chunks of free time. She does this in table form with the days of the week across the top and the hours of the day down the right side. Label main daily activies as Vital, Helpful, or Fluff. Next, use ADE (Abbreviate, Delegate, Eliminate) She gave an example of someone she helped. The woman discovered that she spent much more time surfing the internet; answer emails, looking at blogs, etc. than she realized.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I really agree with number 2. I find if I get stuck it's because I didn't plan where the story is going. I find a great time to think about my writing is when I'm mowing the grass. It takes over an hour and I've worked through many plot points.

Michael Knudsen said...

Good stuff, I look forward to the rest of this series!

Canda said...

On the way to the meeting that night, I was complaining about the lack of time I had to write. Ha! Yes, I got it that it was my decision to write or not. Time to reevaluate my priorities.

Kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kellie said...

I know I waste a lot of time instead of writing. Thanks for the tips, can't wait for more!

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