Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Time Management Tips for Writers

Edie here. I'm so excited to introduce you a friend of mine and share some of her insight about time management for writers. 

Penny and I met while I was working on my first book for military families  (she has a piece in Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle). 

Now she has a wonderful new book, Bounce! Don't Break...coming out this month. Be sure to check out this encouragement for when life hits hard.It's available now for pre-order!

When You Can't Do It All
by Penny Hunt @PennyLHunt

Is it better to meet a deadline late—or submit an un-edited piece?

Late is awful. It always ends up sounding like: “My schedule is more important that yours.”

Un-edited is worse. That’s like attaching a note that reads: “You’re not worth the effort.”

It is a terrible choice to have to make but a nightmare every writer faces.

I personally choose late over un-edited with promises for a smooth to follow. We all live in the same world and, though missing a deadline certainly is unprofessional and, yes, could cost you the job, if you’re lucky your client will understand and eventually get over it. You then have the opportunity to make it up to them by under-promising and over-delivering.

Submitting an un-edited piece for publication is written proof you’re not a pro and could end up haunting you for a long, long time. There’s no walking the cat back if, God forbid, your client rushes to deadline and publishes the work without first having read and/or editing it themselves.

So, what are you to do when life gets totally crazy and you lose all control over the illusion of control? With no claim toward being a time-management expert, here are six things that help me bounce instead of breaking when I begin feeling like half an orange placed in a juice press:

Cry, Sing, Pray: Cry—admit that you messed up and need God to help you. SingJesus Loves Me out loud, like a prayer, focusing especially on the words, “We are weak, but He is strong.” Pray—And then trust that everything will eventually work out as you continue to work, doing the best you can. “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do this.” Psalm 37:5

Kill the snake closest to you: Let the urgent go and take care of the important. Author Steven Pressfield says it well, “I am keenly aware of the Principle of Priority, which states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important and (b) you must do what is important first. What’s important is the work.” Take a five minute break and watch this video about how to prioritize by Marie Forleo I am one of her biggest fans! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4jr52uaUPw

Think like a magician: “And now, for my next trick…” Do one thing at a time. Focus on the task at hand and let everything else go. Eliminate the unproductive and stressful process of task-switching. When one task is complete, move on to the next with a feeling of accomplishment as you check it off of the to-do list.

Cheat: Get up an hour or two earlier than everyone else. Shower, dress for the day and put in a couple of hours of work before breakfast.

Be OK with the chaos: Do what you can to get organized and clear the clutter but don’t be too hard on yourself if, at the end of the day if everything is not just so, completed and in its place. Stack the papers on your desk, make a path through the toys and drape a clean kitchen towel over the dirty dishes in the sink.

Make a list: Before you go to bed each night make a list of the six most important things you have to do tomorrow. While you sleep your subconscious will prioritize the list. Don’t get it all done the next day? That’s OK. Just list it again as one of the six most important things to do tomorrow and keep doing that each night until you git ‘er done!

Bonus: I also use a white board that’s in my face all day to keep a running list of the big chunks that need doing and love using my Expo Eraser to obliterate them!

Don’t give up and for the love of God—keep writing!

What tips do you have for time management for writers? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


by Penny L Hunt

When life T-bones you like an eighteen-wheeler, Bounce! Don’t Break… will unearth the tools needed to successfully navigate the choppy waters of change and build resilience along the way. You will discover important steps to help you bounce-back after a crisis as you learn to shift your focus from the problem to the solution. With God’s help you can begin again as He converts your defeat into victory.

Woven together with the author’s personal life-lessons and reflections are the real-life experiences of other women who, through the healing power of faith and hope, have emerged stronger and more authentic through the unwanted changes of life. With a warm mix of humor, wit and no-nonsense practicality, Penny L. Hunt leads the way to a Bounce! Don’t Break… mindset and life – even in the toughest of times. 

Penny L. Hunt, Amazon.com bestselling author and speaker is the wife of a retired career naval office and attaché. Her latest book, Bounce! Don’t Break… offers stories, reflections and words of encouragement through times of change and includes special features for Military Wives. 
The mother of five (yours, mine and ours) with twenty-nine moves that have taken her from the east coast of the USA across the Pacific to Hawaii, the Atlantic to Europe, and the Gulf of Mexico to South America and back, Penny is an expert in dealing with change as the personification of a “Bounce Back Kid!”
She may be contacted at: www.PennyLHunt.com
Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPennyLHunt


  1. Penny, thank you. This is very encouraging and insightful. As a control freak and perfectionist, I fight the constant battle that it's never enough and never good enough. I'm learning it's not always about how many tasks are checked off my to-do list, but which tasks are checked off. Several tips I have found to be helpful: I go "dark" with technology including my iPhone. I let my family know my phone will be off for hours, but how they can reach me. I also have certain timeframes every day my cell phone notifications are set to silent. When there is silence in my world, it sets the stage for my writing voice to be heard loud and clear. Again, thank you.

    1. Hey There Girl Friday - You're right on going "dark and silent" with specific time set aside for your creative writing. I know some writers find inspiration with music playing while they work, but as an ex-aerobic dance instructor, that's a definite "no-no" for me. I keep wanting to dance to the music! Like you, Karen, "quiet on the set" is the way to go for me. Part of Isaiah 30:15 says, "...in quietness and trust is your strength..." I pray you will continue to rely on God for the strength you need as you trust Him to inspire you in the quiet places of your writing.

  2. Great post, thank you! Off to watch the video on how to prioritize!

    1. I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments about the video.

  3. Thanks for the practical tips and bits of humor sprinkled throughout. I find these same struggles - and strategies - applicable to other areas of life, too. I think sometimes we are our own worst critic. It's so easy to listen to the whispered lie of "not good enough" when we fail to meet a deadline or goal in writing or otherwise. One tip for time management in writing (that I need to follow myself): make it a priority that is non-negotiable. ("It" being a certain amount of time, or a specific piece, etc) Thanks for sharing!

  4. So true Amanda - we can be our own worst enemies and the enemy of God, Satan, is always right there ready to add fuel to the cruel fire of self-deprecation. Remember, as you have so rightly said, it's all a big fat lie, and as I have heard Edie say several times, something we would never say to someone else - so why say it to ourselves? What helps me is stopping for a moment and asking, "Whose voice is that? Sure doesn't sound like the voice of the Holy Spirit to me." Then I use the Minister's line from wedding ceremonies to send Satan running: "By the authority vested in me (Luke 10:19) I command you, Satan, in the name of Jesus, to leave me now!" Works every time :)