Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Guest Post***The Roar Series**Marla Beck Coaches Writers to Peak Performance
The Time-Management Trap that Keeps Women from their Writing
As a professional life coach for writers, I've peeked into the lives of many talented freelancers, academics and aspiring women writers who really want to finish a novel, book proposal or other writing project. Trouble is, they just can't seem to find the time they need to write!
If this sounds like you, read on to discover the biggest time-management trap that keeps women from their writing. With a simple shift in your perspective, you may be surprised to find how easy it is to begin writing again.
The Trap: "I've just gotta' catch up before I can sit down to write."
Are you the kind of writer who needs to empty the dishwasher, finish your paid writing assignments, return every phone call and fold the laundry before you give yourself permission to sit down and work on your own writing?
Got news for you, sister. You'll never be caught up with day-to-day tasks. Waiting until you're "all caught up" is your mind's brilliant tactic to keep you "busy," keep you safe...and keep you from your own writing. (Ask me how I know!)
The Solution: Pay Yourself First
It may seem paradoxical, but "paying yourself first" is the key to moving your writing forward and working more productively during the rest of your day.
Try using this strategy for one week. Get up half-hour earlier if you have to. Ignore your to-do list and turn off your phone. Let yourself write for just thirty to sixty minutes a day.
As you pay yourself first, you may notice your mind pipes up with a host of seemingly convincing reasons why you actually shouldn't be writing. The trick here is to observe, but not buy into, your resistance. Common scripts to watch out for include thoughts that tell you shouldn't be writing because:
• your writing "stinks,"
• you need to be working on paid writing assignments instead, or
• you aren't yet a good enough writer and don't "deserve" to take yourself seriously.
It's natural for your mind to try and derail you, so don't think that if you have these thoughts, you're doing something wrong. As you learn to pay yourself first, your job is simply to notice these scripts for what they are (derailing thoughts) and to persist in showing up for your writing anyways.
"Pay yourself first" for one week and watch your word count add up (and your overall sense of happiness grow). If you're like many of my coaching clients, you'll find that this simple practice will energize you, help you experience a new sense of integrity, and create a solid foundation for creating even more time to write.
Professional Life Coach for Writers, Marla Beck, MFA, CTACC, helps seasoned freelancers and other writers to balance their lives and reach their writing goals. For more time management tips for writers, subscribe to The Relaxed Writer, a free monthly e-zine, at www.CoachMarla.com. Read more articles on productivity, creativity and life balance for writers at Coach Marla's blog, www.TheRelaxedWriter.com.
Pen and Prosper welcomes your comments on this post. What are your typical time management traps and how do you handle them? Do you have a system for approaching and completing your writing projects?