Butt-in-Chair Advice

hope_000.gifTime Management Mastery for Writers
By C. Hope Clark

Who doesn’t have a problem keeping, if not putting, one’s behind in the chair and writing? Let’s see a show of hands. I thought so. Any writer, if he or she tells the truth, has trouble with the stick factor of one’s derriere in a computer chair.

Following are some tips that can help you organize your writing station and yourself to ensure you spend more minutes facing the blank page on which you’re supposed to be writing, hopefully until you type The End.

1. Reference tools within arm’s reach. Don’t risk having an excuse to look for a book, a thesaurus, dictionary, calendar, address book or journal. Put them within three feet of where you’re sitting. And remember that most of these tools are online, if they’re not physically in reach.

2. Telephone. Same rules apply. Speaker phones and mobile phones are cheap these days. You don’t have to run catch the call…assuming you want to catch it at all. Jumping up to answer the phone makes you more susceptible to distraction, lengthening the time before you return to your writing duties.

3. Printer. Whether you are writing queries, sending out a stack of submissions or pitching agents with synopses, you’ll find yourself up and down like a pogo stick if your printer is not close. Put it within a yardstick’s distance from your desk.

4. Pictures. To the right and left of my computer screens are pictures and maps of Beaufort, South Carolina, the setting of my second novel. Every time I sit down, I’m immediately thrown into the story just by glancing up. These visual aids are a constant reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing. Photos, items that symbolize your protagonist––such as a watch, hat or brooch––even covers of the magazines you’re trying to pitch, can help trigger your creativity and inspire you to finish your assignment.

5. Next day’s work. At the end of each day, I place a to-do list, guidelines, edits, whatever needs doing the next day front and center on my desk. I duplicate the list on my Google To-Do Gadget home page so that if I miss it on my desk, I see it when I check e-mail.

By keeping all the ammunition you need to be successful within reach, you can keep yourself focused and help increase your productivity ten-fold.

C. Hope Clark is founder and editor of FundsforWriters.com, annually recognized by Writer’s Digest in its poll of 101 Best Web Sites for Writers. She delivers four newsletters each week to thousands with her specialty being grants and income opportunities for writers of all sizes. She’s published over 200 articles on paper and online. Her magazine credits include Writer’s Digest, The Writer Magazine, ByLine Magazine, NextStep Teen, College Bound Teen, Landscape Management Magazine, TURF Magazine, and American Careers Magazine. Hope is a motivational soul known as “Freelance Hope” in many circles. Those reluctant to promote their writing cherish her trade paperback The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success. Find more hope for your writing career at www.fundsforwriters.com & www.theshywriter.com.

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