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Making hay while the sun shines

June 21, 2012

Today’s post is about productive writing time and how to take full advantage. For me, that productive time comes starting in late May and lasts until September sometime. Summer is the time where there’s no baseball to haul children to, no after-school activities to attend, no calendars from hell with a never-ending parade of hand-written reminders of events, self-inflicted and otherwise.

It’s time to write.

For me, at least, this summer is about productive writing. It’s about finally finishing my first draft and starting to revise it instead of continually rewriting it. It’s about having something to present to agents at the conference just four short months away. It’s about finally treating this as a business rather than an artistic endeavor and a hobby.

If you want to take the next step, too, here are some approaches that might work for you. They’re approaches I intend to use this summer:

  1. Set clear, measurable goals.
  2. Set interim goals so you know how you’re doing along the way.
  3. Take regular checkpoints against those interim goals, and if you fall behind, take steps to get yourself back on track.
  4. Identify the issues that add risk to your not achieving your goals, and take steps to minimize those risks.
  5. Find someone to help you be accountable to those goals.

I just stated my clear goal. As for interim goals, I want to have my first draft completed and put to bed by July 1. I want to have the first revision complete by August 1. A second revision by September 1. And then I want to have a bow on the damned thing by October 15.

My risks are the other activities that snake up and wind up being in front of the writing. Exercise is an acceptable activity. But this year, instead of volunteering for other things, my volunteer time needs to be spent with my butt in a chair writing and editing.

The other risks are similar to the first, only they typically start with www. No screwing around on the Internet when I ought to be writing. No sneaking in episodes of this, that, or the other on Netflix. No quick little jaunts over to Facebook that wind up lasting an hour. If necessary, I’ll turn off my wi-fi. (I hope it’s not, because Spotify helps me focus.)

And Sunday afternoons will be writing time. Solid, hardcore writing time.

What are your high-productivity times? What steps do you take to make sure you use them well?

  1. June 21, 2012 11:34 am

    May you make some very good hay, Chris. I too plan to make some good hay, though up here in Seattle the sun may not shine.

  2. Chris Hamilton permalink
    June 21, 2012 12:27 pm

    Thanks very much. Sorry about the sun thing, though.

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