Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with the number of tasks you have to do each day? Do you sometimes wonder how you could possibly get more done? I know I do.
Like most people in today’s society, I’m trying to do far too much. I work full time as a manager in the public service, I have four delightful, busy children to raise (together with my fabulous husband, who also works full-time), I look after a gorgeous but high-maintenance heritage-listed house, I am the musical director and chief administrator of a great choir that specialises in early music (including lots of traffic on youtube), and, oh yeah, I’m trying to establish myself as an author. Not to mention friends, family, etc… The list is endless.
So how can I possibly get it all done?
I have recently been getting lots of inspiration and great practical ideas from James Clear, and this week is no exception. His simple tip on how to become more efficient overnight is brilliant. I think I sort of do it… but not completely. And not consciously. Making it more conscious, and setting a limit – just six things – makes it easier to cope.
My full ‘to do’ list is way too long, so I like the idea of choosing 6 priorities for each day and focus on finishing them (if possible). Check out the full article at http://jamesclear.com/ivy-lee -and let me know if you find it helpful!
There are lots of ways we can (sometimes inadvertently) ‘hijack’ our writing, and one is by insisting on only writing the perfect word or the perfect sentence before we allow ourselves to move on. ARGH!
If you are trying to write a story, then surely you need to let the story move. And if you get bogged down by every sentence, then you might never finish. Or worse, you might end up with something that is stilted and doesn’t flow. I strongly believe that first you need a story, and then you can spend time perfecting your words. So write down all your ideas as quickly as you can, and then polish in the revision stage.
I’ll let you into a little secret. If I am seeing a scene flashing through my head and am desperately trying to capture it on paper, then the last thing I want to let myself do is become stalled. So if I have trouble thinking of the perfect word (and that happens often), I substitute it with ‘xx’, and then come back to it later. That way I don’t interrupt the flow.
Using ‘xx’ is also useful if I can’t remember something to do with continuity – such as a minor character’s name or place name that I know I’ve referred to before. My trick for that is to keep a separate document where I list all of the characters and places for that book/series, but again, don’t even look at the list when you’re in a flow – use xx for now! It is easier and better for time management to search for ‘xx’es and sort them out all at once at a later date.
I hope you find this useful! Just remember to do a search for ‘xx’ before you finalise your manuscript 🙂
One of the hardest things for editors and proof-readers to pick up are those words which often get interchanged. Because when we read through text in order, our brains will often correct mistakes as we go.
A good way for the writer to pick these things up and iron them out before the proof-read is to use the software package’s “find and replace” tool. Develop your own list of words you know are a problem for you… It might be there/their/they’re, or affect/effect. There may also be punctuation foibles that keep cropping up for you… I know that I usually write out “He had” and “she would” in long-hand, and when I have finished a contemporary book, I try to check every instance to see whether it would read better if I abbreviated some more of them. Yes, it is boring, but it doesn’t take THAT long, and most importantly, it definitely improves the read when these things are ironed out.
I found the following article useful – it has a great set of suggestions for things we should all check for…