Take control and ownership of your writing.
“Time is the most precious currency in life, and how we spend it reflects what we truly value. Once we have spent it, it is gone forever. It cannot be re-earned.” ‘The Power of Purpose’, Richard J. Leider:
Writing is a day-by-day job: you write the story scene by scene, page by page, day by day.
It is an experimental and learning process involving the acquisition of skill and co-ordination.
When you are in the writing experience, you are near your loved ones in body, but your mind and concentration are a thousand miles away. You cannot break your concentration to deal with snacks, laundry, meals or shopping.
You need space, private time, support, encouragement and understanding.
If you are married, or in a relationship, it’s going to be difficult.
No matter how many times you explain that you are “going to be writing”, it doesn’t help.
- Don’t expect loved ones to understand the process of writing. Even if they say they do, they don’t. It’s not because they do not want to support or understand you, but simply because they do not understand the writing experience. If you expect loved ones to get upset or not understand when you are writing, it won’t bother you when it occurs. Expect a tough time and you will be fine.
- Never feel guilty about taking the time you need to write, or become a victim of your emotions. It’s tough to handle: emotion or guilt, anger or frustration can easily cause you to not write.
From inspiration to final draft, a screenwriter needs as much time to write a screenplay as a novelist would to write a four hundred-page novel.
The only difference is the number of words used in the telling. While novelists fill the pages as fast as they can type, screenwriters cut and cut again, ruthless in their desire to express the absolute maximum in the fewest possible words.
The freedom to fill pages with prose often makes the task easier, faster. A screenplay’s painstaking economy of language demands sweat and time.
Take control and ownership of your writing.
Maximising your productivity – time management
“Everyone has too much to do – and not enough time to do it. We live in the age of now. Customers are more demanding than ever. They want everything yesterday. Time is precious. You can solve tome-related problems (not enough time, too much to do, deadlines too short, bosses too demanding) simply by using your time more efficiently and refusing to waste it.” ‘Getting Started as a Freelance Writer’, Robert W. Bly
Six biggest time wasters for writers
- Not keeping regular hours: Many writers talk about the freedom of spontaneously going to the movies or shopping in the middle of the day when the mood strikes them. Do you see people in regular jobs doing this? Of course not.
- Permitting distractions: If your desk is next to the baby’s crib and the baby is crying, who gets the attention? The baby or the project on your desk?
- Sleeping in: The early bird catches the worm, and the late riser doesn’t.
- Talking about writing instead of writing: Having long lunches with other writers may make you feel like a writer, except that during that time, you are not actually writing.
- Volunteering too much: When others see your flexible schedule, they want to talk you into doing more volunteer work than is good for you. Learn to say no.
- Allowing technology to steal your time: Do not chat on the phone, watch TV, play videogames, or surf the Internet for pleasure during your workday.
Tips on how not to waste time
- Don’t do everything yourself: Hire assistants or acquire equipment to eliminate repetitive and routine tasks.
- Don’t shy away from the Internet: Learn your way around the World Wide Web. It’s the most fantastic research tool ever available to writers. Become Web literate and learn how to search websites for information on the topics they write about.
- Don’t become addicted to Internet chat: The Internet has great potential for saving time, but also for wasting time – especially in online forums and chat rooms. Use the Internet as a tool; avoid Internet addiction.
- Don’t get up: You’re most productive when you stay in your chair. Arrange your office/ workspace so that everything is within easy reach.
- Don’t go out: Be selective about where, when and how often you go out. You can get so caught up in networking, lunches, and writers’ groups that you spend the whole week schmoozing, and consequently get little or no productive work done.
- Don’t undervalue you time: Assign monetary value to it. What is your hourly rate? Measure other activities you can do during your writing time against other activities.
Tips on how to increase personal productivity
- Write when you have the most energy and when conditions are best.
- Make sure to have a comfortable writing environment.
- Write about subjects you already have some knowledge of. Write what you know and what interests you.
- Know how to market your writing.
- Write on assignments, not on speculation.
- Always have a deadline.
- Seek out multiple markets so you can sell all of the different types of material you write.
- Do not resist technology.
- Work on a reward system: set goals and when you achieve that goal, spoil yourself to something you really want.