Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Need a Personal Assistant

First, I want to say thanks to Rachel Kramer Bussel for hosting a great chat on Blog Talk Radio on Saturday. It was a lot of fun!

Next up, a lot of writers that I talk to lately are commenting on how they manage their time. "What's your schedule like?" is probably the second most-asked question for writers (right behind "where do you get your ideas?"). People want to know how a writer does what they do.

Nathan Bransford also posted yesterday about how to balance writing with the rest of your life, and if you read the comments you can see that this topic resonates with the writers as well as the readers.

Local (to me, anyway) writer Keir Graff is hosting a few talks about not quitting your day job.

I've talked about priorities before, and I still find that having a clear, delineated schedule is the only way I can keep my sanity. The way I carve out my writing time is to ask myself, "is what I'm doing right now more important to me than getting published?" Sometimes the answer is yes. Then I don't feel bad. Sometimes the answer is no, and I go hit the keyboard. Sometimes the answer is "no, but I really really really need to de-stress right now."

I get caught up in what I "should" be doing. I should be working out. I should clean the house better/more regularly. I should do the checkbook more often. I should call my parents/grandparents/sister/etc. I should spend more time with my pets, who sometimes only see me for five minutes a day.

That kind of thinking will kill you. There is never enough time for everything. Period.

If something is important to you, add it to your priority list. Working out is important to me, and so is volunteering at the animal shelter and spending time with my friends, but finishing the revisions I'm working on in time for the Write By The Lake deadline takes priority right now. After April 1st, the list will shift a bit.

(The Husband still trumps everything, but he's low maintenance, bless him. I think anyone married to a writer needs to be low maintenance, but with enough backbone to occasionally say "I'm stealing you tonight and you can't stop me.")

I've squared with being a bad correspondent. I don't talk enough to the people who are important to me. I admit it. I also admit that people make me tired. They suck away my mojo, which makes it hard for me to write. I think if I didn't have a social butterfly for a husband I'd be a total hermit. I generally only see people regularly if I schedule a recurring event. How pathetic is that? But I don't make time for things unless I schedule it. That's why Monday is for chores, Tuesday is my writing group, Wednesday and Saturday are for volunteering, every other Thursday is one board game night, every other Sunday is my role-playing game, and Sunday evenings are for the rotating board game night. If I didn't schedule things like that, I would never see any of those people or get any of those things done. If I don't schedule my time, I find other ways of filling it up.

(And I don't know how my family would react to "I want to talk to you more, but I need to find a time when we're both free. How are Monday nights from 8pm to 8:30pm? Or every other Thursday at 7pm?")

I used to be very spontaneous, but now I need to have a schedule. I have too much to do, and people I don't want to lose touch with. What I could really use is a personal assistant to just schedule things for me and let me know where I'm supposed to be right now. Then at least I could take the scheduling off my plate...

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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