You hear about it in school, you hear about in your day job, you hear about it on Oprah. “Balls to time management!” you might say. “Balls I say! I know what I need to get done in a given day! I will write as the muse carries me! BALLS.”
I used to work that way. Or, worse, I went through a phase of saying, “I’m going to get up at 5am! Real writers get up and do their writing right away, shaking off the sand of their sleep and bringing with the dawn prose! Poetry! Maybe I’ll even go for a brisk run! And have a real breakfast!”
This goal was short-lived.
Decide when you’re going to write and do it. Keep track of what exactly you do. Make goals of what you’re going to do with your time, whether it be, “Spend a half hour on a short story, and a half hour on my novel” or “Spend a half hour networking on my platform and a half hour revising what I wrote on Monday.”
Last month I started keeping a spreadsheet. I did 60 hours of writing work. It has put me in a very, very good mood.
Also, figure out what time works for you when writing. If you’re a morning person, don’t try and tell yourself that you’ll be burning the midnight oil. Write in the morning. If you’re a night owl…work in the evening. The evening. Let the late nights come to you — don’t force them. You’ll just cry in the morning when you wake up with your nose crushed by the YGHB collective on your keyboard.
And eat your breakfast. Trust me on the breakfast.