Monday, September 22, 2014

The Unofficial Sequart Author Bootcamp: Flow and Time Management

Most of us writers at Sequart have a day job. I can attest to the difficulty of being able to keep up with the workload of posting content on a regular basis, especially working 40 hours a week. Even as we speak I am writing this blog after finishing one article and beginning another that is due to post this Thursday. It’s 7:23pm, Monday. I haven’t eaten yet, and I plan on going to bed at around 9pm so I can wake up at 4:10am tomorrow and start it all over again. How do I do it? How do we contribute to the cause without dying?

Rule #1: Have a plan.

I try to keep my work/life ratio balanced. What I mean by that is, in order to burn the candle at both ends, there needs to be a healthy mix of recreation and work in your life. I have a wife. We go to the gym together. I play turn based strategy games when I can and read comic books to pass the time. There was a time in my life when I didn’t schedule any down time at all and I nearly ran myself into the ground as a result. This is key guys. Always have a plan. We can work hard, but we need to play hard to stay alive.

Rule #2: Schedule your work.

I operate on a strict schedule. I meet deadlines every week, but I still find time to breathe because my work is neatly planned out. Pick a day per week to write articles or work on personal material. I prefer this method just because I know that I prefer to write in large spurts. Another way to schedule work is to tackle large projects in small bite-sized chunks. If you try to do it this way, always remember to complete your work in quantifiable benchmarks. For instance, if you are writing a book, make sure that you leave off at the end of a narrative section/scene/thought. Resuming where you left off in a piece without ending on a defined break-off point can be infuriating, primarily because your state of mind is not what it was when you were in the middle of your last thought. Resuming “cold” will result in a different/inconsistent tone.

Rule #3: Quality not quantity.

Lastly, I’ll remind you all that quality is key when writing professionally. People can tell when you are phoning it in and writing out of obligation. I won’t pretend though that this particular rule is one of the hardest rules for a writer to keep. Writers need to keep contributing content in order to stay relevant. If you aren’t consistently offering content it’s easy to be forgotten. So how do we keep writing, but stay focused on delivering the goods? My best advice is always write with heart. Write because you believe in what you are doing. Paul Gilbert is one of my favorite guitarists because, even though he shreds and noodles on guitar, I know that he means every single note. You can tell they guy loves to play! So do the same with your writing. Write because you want to. Sometimes that means you might only write one article in a whole month, but that one article will stick around and become one of your portfolio pieces. Mean every word when you write. Don’t write a bunch of bull you don’t mean.

That’s all I got for tonight guys. I hope all is well. Keep up the good work out there!


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