Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Writer’s Biggest Enemies—Time Thieves

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As writers, one of our most valuable resources is time—especially time to write. We dream about it, plan for it, even run away to find it. Yet it’s often ourselves who stand in the way of having the time we need to write.

Today I’d like to share some hidden—and some not so hidden—time thieves.

The Writer’s Biggest Enemies

1. Multi-tasking. This one is a biggie. Yes, we have a lot of things we must do from, writing, to editing, to marketing. But it’s not an efficient use of our time if we try to do everything all at once. By not focusing, we often set ourselves up for failure.

2. Unlimited web-browsing. We definitely need to build an online platform, but spending hours surfing the web isn’t the way to do it.

3. Not scheduling your time.
3. Not scheduling your time. The way to get all the various tasks done that need to be done is by scheduling our time. Find the most creative time and guard it for your writing first. Then work around that time for the other tasks you have to do.

4. Avoiding the hard stuff. It’s only human nature to want to do the easy things first. But that’s not always the most efficient use of our time. Come up with a schedule, then do the tasks that are scheduled, whether they’re hard or easy.

5. Talking instead of working. Writers are like anyone else, we’re passionate about our craft. But we need to make sure we’re spending time practicing our craft, not just talking about it.

6. Not networking.
6. Not networking. We shouldn't spend all our time talking about writing, but that doesn't mean we should isolate ourselves. Others can give us much needed perspective and insight into things we're struggling with. 

7. Using cheating as a reward. It’s great to build in rewards, but make sure the rewards aren’t sabotaging your progress. For example, if I’m on a diet and I lose five pounds, I don’t want to reward myself with a calorie-laden meal. With writing, if I make my word count goal, I want to build on it, not take the rest of the week off.

8. Thinking only about the big dream. Sure we all want to write a blockbuster. But that isn’t my only goal. I have lots of goals that will lead up to that one. Don’t be a big-picture writer and lose out on the chance to fulfill your dream.

9. Over planning. Yes, we need to make plans, and follow a schedule. But if we’re so concerned with the process of planning, we’re wasting valuable time. Write down your goals, come up with a schedule and then GET TO WORK.

10. Not learning. With writers, like most creative endeavors talent is a good start. BUT diligence trumps talent every single time. Doing the hard work to learn all that’s involved with becoming a professional writer will get you much farther than even a huge amount of talent.

These are the biggest time thieves I’ve found. What would you add to the list? Be sure to share your thoughts below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


The Writer’s Biggest Enemies—Time Thieves.@EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Great advice, Edie. I have to prioritize my day. Quiet time with God is first, writing is second. I only have a few hours of productivity until my brain shuts off or the fog rolls in. Fibromyalgia will do that to a person. I want to thank you again for investing your time into our lives. You have been used by God to help many become better writers.

  2. Really good stuff! Thanks for your excellent blog!

  3. #9 ouch, i mean OUCH! i'm really good at planning, i mean REALLY good at it. then i [tend to] lose momentum when it comes to follow through. i've my "Grande Calendar" now that help with the days' goals (WC) and objectives in front of me.
    oh, and #2 trips me up some too...

  4. Wow, this post was helpful and convicting. I think I'll stop web-browsing and get to writing now! :)

  5. Terrific post, Edie. I've fallen victim to "time thieves" way too much lately! Thank you for this much-needed reminder for how to combat them and to get back to work!

  6. Hi Edie, Watch a piece on t.v. this morning on the book Grit:The Power of Passion and Perseverance. The book relates to your #10.

  7. Sage advice, Edie. Pinned & shared.

  8. Thanks for the reminder, Edie. I have a couple of those pesky "time thieves" I need to tackle.

  9. great post, I can relate to most points :)