Time Thieves – The Writer’s Biggest Enemies

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The writer’s biggest enemies.

As writers, one of our most valuable resources is
time—especially time to write. We dream about it, plan for it, even run away to
find it. Yet it’s often ourselves who stand in the way of having the time we
need to write.

Today I’d like to share some hidden—and some not so
hidden—time thieves.

The Writer’s Biggest
1. Multi-tasking. This one is a biggie. Yes, we have
a lot of things we must do from, writing, to editing, to marketing. But it’s
not an efficient use of our time if we try to do everything all at once. By not
focusing, we often set ourselves up for failure.
Unlimited web-browsing.

We definitely need to build an online platform, but spending hours surfing the
web isn’t the way to do it.
3. Not scheduling your time.
Not scheduling your time.

The way to get all the various tasks done that need to be done is by scheduling
our time. Find the most creative time and guard it for your writing first. Then
work around that time for the other tasks you have to do.
Avoiding the hard stuff.

It’s only human nature to want to do the easy things first. But that’s not
always the most efficient use of our time. Come up with a schedule, then do the
tasks that are scheduled, whether they’re hard or easy.
Talking instead of working.
Writers are like anyone else, we’re passionate about our craft.
But we need to make sure we’re spending time practicing our
craft, not just talking about it.
6. Not networking.
6. Not networking. We shouldn’t spend all our time
talking about writing, but that doesn’t mean we should isolate ourselves.
Others can give us much needed perspective and insight into things we’re
struggling with. 
Using cheating as a reward.
It’s great to build in rewards, but make sure the rewards
aren’t sabotaging your progress. For example, if I’m on a diet and I lose five
pounds, I don’t want to reward myself with a calorie-laden meal. With writing,
if I make my word count goal, I want to build on it, not take the rest of the
week off.
Thinking only about the big dream.
Sure we all want to write a blockbuster. But that isn’t my only
goal. I have lots of goals that will lead up to that one. Don’t be a
big-picture writer and lose out on the chance to fulfill your dream.
Over planning.

Yes, we need to make plans, and follow a schedule. But if we’re so concerned
with the process of planning, we’re wasting valuable time. Write down your
goals, come up with a schedule and then GET TO WORK.
Not learning.

With writers, like most creative endeavors talent is a good start. BUT
diligence trumps talent every single time. Doing the hard work to learn all
that’s involved with becoming a professional writer will get you much farther
than even a huge amount of talent.
These are the biggest
time thieves I’ve found. What would you add to the list? Be sure to share your
thoughts below.

Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including While My Soldier Serves, Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers ConferenceConnections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers is a print expansion of her bestselling ebook on social media. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect on Twitter and Facebook.