"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Monday, May 04, 2015

A Writing Schedule

Today, I am thrilled to host my guest Alex Cavanaugh. He has a new book release, Dragon of the Stars (more about that later). His topic today is about scheduling time to write--cause if you don't make time to write (or whatever your passion be), um, you won't. Deep huh?

A Writing Schedule That Works
by Alex Cavanaugh
Writers are always trying to cram things into their days. We have jobs, families, writing, social media, hobbies, and church or other obligations. Plus don’t forget maintaining the household, eating, and sleeping. It’s a lot to fit into one twenty-four hour span.

While we don’t have time to do everything, I think most people have time to do what they really need to do. Many things can mess up our schedule, but distractions are what do most of us in. Most of us haven’t really prioritized either.

I joke that I have clones to help me. While that would be nice, I really don’t have any. I don’t have a teleporter or time machine, either. I’ve just learned to prioritize my obligations and set aside blocks of time to get things accomplished.

So I’m going to outline what I’ve done to bring order to my life and be productive with my time.

First, I’d like to challenge you. Take one week and write down everything you do. Print out a grid with all seven days and all twenty-four hours. Note what you are doing every hour. Has it been a week? Great, we’ll continue.

Look at what you wrote down. How many unproductive hours did you have? (Not counting sleeping and eating – those are important!) Note where you basically screwed off and didn’t do anything worthwhile. And it’s all right to have hobbies and down time. We need that. But did you have down time before your down time?

Now list everything you need and want to be doing. Rank them in order of importance. Now, take another of those weekly grids and plan your week. What time will you allow for social media? What time will schedule writing? Plan out the whole week.

Now, no one can live by a set pattern every week. There are outside activities and unforeseen events. But you can get yourself into a rhythm and learn to set aside time for the things that matter regardless of what else is happening. If you have two hours set aside for writing on Wednesday night, then ignore the Internet and the television and write.

Can you do it? That’s up to you. All I know is that setting a schedule works for me. I don’t write all the time, but when I am working on a book, the writing is scheduled for two hours every single night. Sometimes three hours. And I budget the rest of my time to include working, practicing my guitar, blogging, time with my wife, and eating and sleeping. Plus even some down time. (Because I am a movie junkie.)

You want time to write? Find a schedule that works for you!

Dragon of the Stars

By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
Print ISBN 9781939844064 EBook ISBN 9781939844057
What Are the Kargrandes? http://whatarethekargrandes.com/

The ship of legends…

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. Poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?

One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?

Purchase Dragon of the Stars at:
Kobo 

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.

You can find Alex at:


Thanks, Alex, for stopping by and sharing your knowledge on writing!

Do you know Alex? (I know that was a silly question.) Have you read his books? When is your most productive time (writing or not) during the day?


53 comments:

  1. Alex's discipline is amazing. His heart is bigger though. I love the way he reaches out to people. And assume that kindness has a big block of time allocated in his busy schedule.

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    1. Thank you, Elephant! People are the most important in life.

      Thanks again, Teresa!

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    2. You are welcome, Alex. MY pleasure to have you here sharing your expertise as a writer. Thank you!

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    3. You said it perfectly, EC. I second that. I find that extremely admirable.

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  2. This is great advice, Alex. You are so disciplined and that's the key. I have to get back into scheduling some writing time once I get through my daughter's graduation in June.

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  3. Alex always has some great tips and I think time management is important at work, home and in writing. Alex is a very strong thread in the circle we need strong threads as they hold it together for the weaker threads, all connective all important in the journey.

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  4. Wow. This might be Alex's longest post EVER. Hahahaha. Which shows the importance of this topic. Time management is one of those things writers never think about until they're confronted by it. It's not easy.

    I have a demanding day job that requires grueling hours and travel. So every minute counts.

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    1. Jay, that made me chuckle. I actually had a longer one last week, believe it or not.

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  5. Finding a schedule that works for you is important. Otherwise, we'll never write! I like your challenge, Alex. :)

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  6. No downtime before downtime! That's crazy talk! j/k

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  7. It's difficult to find a schedule sometimes, but gathering up all those extra minutes that you did nothing does help. Even five minutes of writing is better than none!

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  8. I'm not a writer, but the same can be said for making time to do crafts or whatever your passionate hobby is. I try to work in a little bit every day even if it's just a half hour's worth. Sometimes I'm not successful due to life's demands.

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    1. JoJo, it can be used to plan any activity.

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  9. The cat sure has the time down, helps when you only have to impress cats too lol

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  10. Excellent advice, Alex. Thanks so much for the encouragement. JW, thanks for hosting! :)

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  11. That's an interesting way to schedule what's most important.

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  12. I agree with Alex's philosophy. If there is something you really want to do, you will make the time. I can only write when my kids are out of the house, but they are school age, so I'm golden as long as they don't get sick.

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  13. I'm sure there are blank spaces in my day. I call them daydreaming moments. I do try to make a list in the mornings while the computer's waking up, then I feel rather satisfied when I can check off things I've actually accomplished on that list.

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    1. I've never been one for lists but I've learned to make them.

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  14. I know Alex and love his books! He is a super Ninja to juggle all he does and remembers the important things in life.

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  15. Those distractions will get us every time. I'm getting better at ignoring them.

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  16. Great tips, Alex! The thing that works best for me is the prioritizing part. And a timer to keep me from spending too much time blogging and facebooking :)

    Waving to Teresa ♥

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  17. Alex, you're right: discipline is the key to living your dream ... or writing your book. Still, you do so much ... I do not know how you get it all done! :-)

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    1. I just make blogging a priority. My friends mean a lot to me.

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  18. Down-time before the down-time gets me every time :)

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  19. Hey, TPC! Thanks for hosting Alex, and what a great post he did! I really struggle with scheduling. Every time I set up a schedule, the Universe seems determined to derail me! Alex certainly has it worked out! He's inspiring, and his books just keep getting better!

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  20. Really great advice, Alex. I need to try charting my hours, but I'm also kinda afraid :)

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  21. It all boils down to discipline!
    Thanks for the advice, Alex.

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  22. Very timely advice, Alex. I started using weekly schedules back in February, but broke the habit after a few weeks. Just today I was thinking that I need to pick it back up again. I guest this post is confirmation.

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  23. That's a great suggestion. I charted my time a few years back to make sure I was getting the most out of my days too - and it does make a difference. I've found my rhythm and my family knows I tend to disappear after 9 at night to write. It works well - and I manage to squeeze in more here and there as well :)

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    1. Jemi, it helps when your family understands.

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  24. Good evening and good move, Alex. I know I waste more time than I have on social media. Creating a schedule works. I have a loose one where I decide when I'm going to write everyday. The word count varies, but I write consistently.

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  25. This is so true, Alex. Earlier this year I started tracking my time - and I soon realized I had a lot more time that was going to "waste" on unfulfilling, unnecessary things. But then, soon after I had this realization, my mom broke her hip and ever since then I've been realizing what "having no time" really means! And how much being tired really does affect me. Hopefully once she's back to her normal mobile self, I'll remember about those pockets of time I used to waste.

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    1. Belle, I'm sorry! I hope she recovers quickly.

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  26. Downtime before my downtime. Yep, I think that's my problem!

    I've never been able to stick to one of my schedules. This post is great encouragement to keep trying. I'm honestly blown away by everything you manage to do.

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  27. Hi Teresa. Great advice, Alex. I know. I know. Schedule it in. I will. With Spring Fever, end the school year business, and summer approaching, I have fewer piano lessons, and could write more. Yes, I can. (I ordered your book for my son for his birthday.)

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  28. No clones? I'm scarred for life now.
    I'm going to make that grid... especially after missing that Bonehead blog hop today!! Thank you, (smile).

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    1. Sorry about that!
      And you just squeaked in that blogfest.

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  29. Blogger ate my comment. I think. This may be a duplicate.

    You lied to us? All this time? No clones? No time machine?
    I'm hurt and even more impressed with you than I was before!

    I need a burly, possibly angry, person to stand behind me and smack me in the back of the head every time I go off task!

    Heather

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  30. Great advice. I do this! And then the kids argue, and I have to stop to referee a fight, or several fights (*frown*). And then one comes to me for some last minute gotta-have-it something-or-other, and instead of writing, I'm off to the store. And then... :P

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  31. Okay, I'm going to start my chart today. I'm curious to see what I do more of- staring out of windows or laundry?

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  32. Hi Teresa and Alex - all good sensible points - and it really is up to us ... we all do what we need to do ... love the thought of charting everything for a week - it's achieving somehow ... and not letting oneself down ..

    Well done Teresa - great guest poster ... always good to hear from Alex .. and his balance of life ... cheers Hilary

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  33. This is a great approach to time management. I'll give it a try. Goodness knows this is the post I've needed to read for some time. And I'm not convinced that Alex is without clones. :)

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  34. I agree with DPK. I'm not totally convinced either. I do something similar, but can't do the hour to hour thing. I go chore by chore, whether it's writing, filing, blogging, errands, etc.

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