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Author Beware: Real World Strategies for Dealing With Time Vampires

Posted by Arthur Gutch on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 10:18 AM

Whether you're a published author, full time writer or fitting in your book between family and a brick-and-mortar job, your writing time is precious. Writers from a diverse group, from  Stephen King to Chuck Wendig, agree that the best way to get the words on the screen is to write every single day Carving out an hour or more in your schedule each day is the way to change writing from an occasional hobby to a daily habit, to finish your book and move on to the next one.

Writers Time Vampire

Fighting off your own tendencies to put things off until later is bad enough, but many writers have at least one person in their lives who doesn't respect their time, commitment, or serious intent. To them, writing is a hobby, akin to playing Facebook games or chatting with like-minded football fans. They think nothing of interrupting writing time, figuring that a momentary interruption won't hurt when they have something important to say.

Who are Time Vampires?

These time vampires tend to suck the minutes out of your designated writing time on a frequent basis, but the problem with them is in the technique of writing itself. Beginning a page, for most writers, is a slow process first thing in the day. Once the brain and fingers have warmed up it's easier for the words to flow and the thoughts to move smoothly. It's like pushing a car. Once you get it moving it's not so hard, but getting the wheels rolling takes an extraordinary amount of effort, some days. Have a time vampire drop your room 35 minutes into the process, and the whole thing will grind to a halt. Even if you only spend five minutes speaking with them, you'll have to start the whole laborious process all over again.

Why Do They Do It?

Often, it's a matter of them not realizing what they are doing. If they're not writers themselves, they may see it as being akin to looking up from a book, then going back to reading when the interruption is finished. The first step in staking your vampire is to let him know what he's doing to your word count. Explain why a three minute interruption is more like 30, and how far behind he's making your process.

How to Draw the Line

Set limits. It's easier to stay on one side of the line when you know where the line exists. Post office hours on your door. Shut your door. Make it look like you're serious about writing, not just messing around on the computer. As a last resort, dig up common ghost writer's rates from online and post them on your door. Charge every interruption, except for dire emergencies, with half hour intervals. Children will only lose allowance once before considering knocking, and spouses and friends will think twice if they know you're serious about the money.


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Tags: self publishing, writing tips, time to write, book writing tips

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