Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Writing Arena

by C. LaRene Hall

If you want to do a better job in the writing arena, you need to control yourself and your environment. For me this means that I need to make time to write – that doesn’t mean finding free time. It means reallocating time from other projects and activities. Before you can do that, however, you must discover exactly where you are "spending" your time.

Unavoidable tasks. Your job, for example, would probably be included here. If you don’t go to work, you might be fired.

Necessary tasks. Obviously you're not going to give up cooking dinner, washing clothes, getting dressed, eating lunch, etc. Although at times, it would sure be nice. However, some of these tasks can be reassessed, rescheduled, or combined with other tasks.

Tasks that make you feel good. Don't give up everything you enjoy; that's a sure way to burn out. If you feel that you would truly lose something of value by giving up a particular activity, put it in this category.

Tasks you perform because you think you "should." Volunteer activities often fall into this category: You may not enjoy them, but you feel obligated to do them. Certain types of housework also fall into this category. This is a good place to look for time that you can reallocate to writing.

Tasks that someone else could perform. Sometimes, delegating such tasks not only frees time for you, but helps others become more responsible and independent.

Tasks that seem to take an inordinate amount of time. Often we lose time through distractions or "make work" without realizing what we are doing.

Tasks that are recreational. Reading, television, and computer games all fall into this category. So, in some cases, does "surfing the Internet", facebook, and handling e-mail. I know that sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all the email I get. You don't have to give up all your recreational activities to become a writer; however, if these are occupying a large number of hours, you may wish to reexamine your priorities.

You'll never have more time than you do right now. Time is never "found," it can only be made, but you can eliminate time-wasters. To me, time is precious, and I try to use it wisely.

If you have any other ideas on how to handle finding more time to write, I hope you will share them with me.

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