Sep
11
2014

Time is of the Essence

A Guest Post by Jace Killan

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. My earliest work began in the first grade where I helped coauthor a series of stories titled, The Adventures of Sammy and Willy—a pair of turtles, or sometimes bears, or aliens or people.

I lost that ambition in college. I stopped creating worlds and adventures, until one night I had a dream that rekindled that appetite. Now, years later, I write often and I write a lot. Of course, writing is only part of the trade.

At the Superstars Writing Seminar, author Tracy Hickman asked the question, "Why do we write?" His answer echoed my own, "to inspire."

Transposing ideas into text is only part of the work to achieve that goal. And by itself, writing would do very little to inspire others.

In my day job, I work as a financial adviser. There are many in my career that have paid good money to be a part of a sort of masterminds group and participate in several coaching sessions. One of those presented a time-management tool to be successful.

We broke up our calendars into several categories: preparation, focus, wrap-up, and free days. The idea was to identify days during the week and month that would be used exclusively for preparation. Then identify days that would be used only for meetings with clients, and then days that would be used to finalize any follow up from those meetings. And naturally we scheduled days where we would not think of work.

Our firm adopted this strategy and we found that our capacity to service clients grew, as did our number of clients. We became extremely efficient and seldom found ourselves unprepared.

I’ve implemented a similar plan into my writing. I’ve broken up the aspects of being a successful writer into the following categories:

- Research and Development
- Writing and Editing
- Networking and Selling

Between working sixty hours a week, volunteer service with the Boy Scouts and church, and raising a family of five, finding time to write has proven a difficult task.

In advance I identify nights and weekends when I know I will have some time. I will typically use a night, or occasionally an entire day like a Saturday, to dedicate solely to one of the three categories above. Sometimes I will even break those categories down further, for example, dedicating a night only to editing or research.

By doing this, I’ve told my mind to be prepared to edit this Thursday evening for three hours. I’ve also told my children and wife in advance and being the supportive bunch they are, they will usually remind me of my expected task. This allows me to manage my time effectively and efficiently. Planning the sessions allows me to identify needs and helps me to stay on course.

Finally, I schedule time for groups, classes, and Cons so that I can network. I also schedule time to submit work, write query letters, and so on. Before each session I will set a goal, i.e. I will write 1000 words before going to bed, or I will submit five short stories before quitting.

Working this way has kept me on task and helped me improve as a writer with hopes of inspiring the world.

*   *   *

Jace is an aspiring writer of short horror and YA fantasy. He is just wrapping up his first YA novel titled, The Broken Amulet. He writes for several blogs including The Fictorians. Jace lives in Arizona with his family of seven. In addition to writing, he also composes music, enjoys photography, and anything outdoors. Learn more about Jace at www.jacesjournal.com.

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