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Block Buster #2: Three tips for finding time to write

What should you take time to do?

Is finding time to write your biggest obstacle to writing regular blogs, finishing that novel, or getting started on the title you have in mind? Have you announced you are going to write a book and are now embarrassed by your lack of progress? Here are some tips to try.

It happens to everybody
OK, I’m embarrassed too. Interesting that I should be writing on this topic when it’s been weeks since I wrote my last blog! First of all I’d say to both of us, “Get over it.” Let’s not allow our past performance to paralyze our future. Let’s make progress.

FCWC

I could use the excuse that I was improving my craft. Since writing Writer’s Block Buster #1 post, I attended the Florida Christian Writers Conference. It was great and I met a lot of wonderful people who were generous in sharing their knowledge. If you get a chance, you should attend a writer’s conference near you or not near you! It will fire up your creative juices or just give you a kick in the pants, which is what I need from time to time. After forgiving yourself for not writing, take a look at your schedule to see if it reflects your priorities.

Tip #1. Schedule according to priorities

What your schedule tells about your priorities
Consider your activities of the past week. Did you find time to write? If not, discover what consumes your time. For the next week, keep a log of how you spend your time. Note what activities took priority. Maybe these are more important than writing right now. Or maybe you might discover you are not doing what you want to do at all. You are in reactionary mode.

Fire in bonesWhat your emotions tell about your priorities
If your story is like a fire shut up in your bones and finding time to write seems impossible, you may notice you are a little grumpier than normal. If requests for your time leave you feeling resentful or even a little angry, it may be an unconscious reaction to your goals being blocked. Examine your heart and determine what you are longing to do. Then make it a priority on your schedule and guard it from interruptions. Be intentional.

Tip #2. Schedule writing zones

How do you find time in a busy schedule?
I’ll say it again, it’s about priorities—making time to do the things you love. It’s interesting all the ways we describe time as if we really had control of it: spend time, waste time, save time, take time. We can’t really make more time, but we can plan what to do with it.

Mark your calendar
Go back to your schedule. Take a typical week or month and block out three different time zones—maybe use colored highlighters. First, cross out all the regularly scheduled activities that you can’t change like your time at work, church, or regularly-scheduled meetings—indicate these as your “no” zones. Next, highlight activities that you have control over. Some of these you can choose not to do or do at another time of the day or month. Label these as your “maybe” zones and use them for writing every chance you get. Finally, look at what is discretionary time—your unplanned time—this is your “go” zones. Put these on your calendar as writing appointments with yourself that you cannot break.

Tip #3. Write at your optimal time

If you have the luxury, arrange your schedule so that you write when you are most creative. If you are a morning person, get up earlier or see if you can adjust your schedule such as moving your gym time to after work. If you are a night owl who comes to life after 8:00 pm, resist the urge to turn on the TV, surf the internet, or check Facebook. I suggest you use your less creative times for editing and rewriting. I think you get the idea.

Your turn
Please use the comments section to share what works best for you!
Write on!

Kathy

Featured

Your web presence, does it reflect who you really are?

How does someone learn about your professional services? Authors, service providers, and small business owners know they need a platform to promote their offerings to the public. Most often this is done through internet presence and social media. But does your profile and your brand reflect who you really are?
WebPresenceBuilding a platform
I recently contemplated this very thought in seeking to establish a platform for myself as a writer. Yes, yes, I know some of you think of me as a serial entrepreneur. Writing is something I’ve always done, and this is the right career for me since my husband and I moved to Tallahassee a couple of years ago to be with our grandchildren. I’m excited, but I was stressing about having to establish a new identity on social media. I lamented about having to do this all over again. This time, I did something different. Rather than looking at what others were doing out there, I started with soul-searching about my brand.

Where to start
Remember the old Westerns? Cattle were branded with a logo that identified the owner. When launching a business or a web presence, marketing gurus say we must develop a brand. They mean more than a logo, it’s a whole identity. For most of us, our first instincts are to name our book, business, or URL, have a logo designed, get business cards printed, and have a website designed. That would be my first impulse, too, but first I contemplated my new identity. I questioned: “Do I create a brand, or be a brand?” I decided I should be a brand—that my public identity needed to reflect my character and deepest passion, not just a look I create. Does the identity you’re expressing reflect who you really are?

DavidsAppearanceBLK

Consider the verse from 1 Samuel 16:7 when the prophet Samuel was sent to the home of Jesse to anoint a new king of Israel. He did not consider the sons that looked the part—tall and handsome—but rather, God wanted him to select the one that had a heart for the interests of God. Samuel selected the son that was to be the future King David. He was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” Does your brand reflect your heart?

Create a Brand or be a Brand?
Your brand needs to be consistent, recognizable, and most especially, genuine. It should reflect your passion. People can tell if what you are broadcasting is genuine. Your brand is something people can feel. If it isn’t real, they won’t trust you. If they don’t trust you, they won’t purchase what you’re selling. So, what I’m suggesting is that your internet presence needs to have a look and message that genuinely reflects who you are rather than a look you create. To discover my brand, I asked myself some questions.

How to be a brand
I propose that you don’t build a brand, you identify your brand. To begin discerning your brand, identify who you are and what motivates you. Here is a list of the soul-searching questions I asked myself:

  • Who am I? (What would people say about me? How would they identify me? How am I known? Defines my character and characteristics.)
  • What do I stand for? (What is important to me? What guides my life and my responses to my life experiences? Defines my passion.)
  • What do I do? (How do I act on what I stand for? Defines my purpose.)
  • Why do I want to do this? (What motivates me? Defines my mission.)
  • What do I offer? (Products, services, insights. Defines my offering.)
  • What do I want to communicate about me, the product, and the benefit to my customer? (Defines my message.)
  • How do I want people to respond? (Defines my benefit.)
  • What will be my client’s benefit? (Defines their benefit and my impact.)
  • How does this honor God? (Defines how God is glorified.)

Write your answers

After answering these questions, my hesitation turned to enthusiasm as I became eager to set up my blog site and communicate the rediscovered passion that drives me!

Why is this important?
Hopefully, answering these questions for yourself will fire up your enthusiasm for what you do and how you express your brand. Connecting with your passion energizes your message and inspires your audience. It’s contagious! My writing friends, ask yourself these questions in reference to your blogging or book writing. Small business owners, review your current branding to see if it reflects who you genuinely are.

Your turn
Friends, I sincerely hope this exercise has helped you in some way. I’d love you to follow me in my new venture as a writer and share your challenges and what you’ve learned. At the right, click to follow me!

Write On Friends!

Kathy