Thursday, March 14, 2019

Writers Beware - Avoid These 10 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. 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. 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 tips Ms. Edie. For me, the greatest thief is "Failing to say 'No'." When you've got a Servant's Heart, learning to say "No" to others can be especially difficult. It's not a lack of our desire to help someone else; it's understanding that if we help them, we become sidetracked from our goal. The key is learning to discern when to say "no" and when to say "yes" and act upon someone's request. I often find that when I do, God rewards me with new, fresh ideas, story lines, or just refreshes my soul to make me more productive. I sense you are much the same way my friend. God's blessings...

  2. My husband often says he can only focus on one thing at a time. I can usually multi-task. When I am writing, I need to focus totally on the message. Thanks for these great tips.

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