Dedicated Writing Time in a World of Distractions

Writers dream of the day they can quit their day-job and go full-time. The writer’s life is what we crave. Work out of a home office, wear our pajamas all day, and write to our heart’s content. The only problem? Distractions everywhere we look and phone calls because people think you’re not doing anything because you’re at home. Unfortunately, it all comes down to the old concept of time management. I know that probably isn’t the answer that most of you want. I’m not sure it was the answer I wanted, but it is our reality. Each of us has twenty-four hours each day to work with and make the most of.
Over the past fourteen years I’ve written part-time as an op-ed writer, ghostwriter, and fiction writer. How much success I enjoy or you enjoy in the writing profession depends on your dedication and determination. Most of us find great satisfaction in completing a manuscript and submitting it for publication. When the UPS truck arrives with a box of your books you celebrate, promote, and write another book.
In my experience, I meet my deadlines and make time to write by staying organized. When I allow distractions to derail me and I don’t follow through, then I waste valuable writing time. Life happens and we need to take care of family and situations, but it’s important to get back on track.

Some of my favorite ways of staying organized:
·         One is a procedural notebook that has “how-to” information for all those tasks like mail merges, e-book formatting, contact lists, and a record of user names and passwords. I only have to figure out how to do something once and every time after that I refer to my procedure notes.
·         Secondly, I keep research notebooks as well as book marked websites and document files that I can refer to again and again. For example, resources for first century historical and Christian fiction books provide information many times over. I don’t have to repeat research time.
·         Third, I keep a notebook for tracking charts to record submission deadlines and status for those submissions, agent and editor information, guest blogging, upcoming classes or presentation, and conferences. It only takes a few moments to do it as you go.
A new year is coming soon. Get yourself organized one step at a time so it doesn’t overwhelm you and then work to keep up with it. You’ll experience a relief in knowing where things are and not repeating the same learning curve over and over. Most of all you’ll realize more time to write.


Dianne G. Sagan is an award winning author who has participated in anthologies and collections but her primary writing is Christian/Historical fiction and women’s fiction.

Dianne’s newest release, coming out in time for Christmas shopping, Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go “Pro” is available at

Her New Testament women series, Rebekah Redeemed and The Fisherman’s Wife are available in print and ebook. You can find out more about upcoming volumes in the series and Dianne at

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T. Forehand said...

Wonderful advice, and tips I need myself. Being organized is my worst fault, I have little piles here and little piles there. I meet deadlines and get my goals done but my desk is a heap sometimes and I waste valuable time looking again for something I already have.
Thanks for sharing.

Karen Cioffi said...

Great advice Diane. And, Terri, that's me too. I take notes on so many things and then forget where I put them.

Heidiwriter said...

Ditto, Karen and Terri. I keep saying I HAVE to get myself better organized to write more and write my books faster.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

And I'm yet another ditto. Organization starts now. Well, after breakfast, feeding the animals, doing the dishes....
Task number One: declutter the desk and file. :-)

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great post Diane. Your advice applies no matter what type of creative project we have.

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