If you’re a part-time fiction writer like me, with lots of other demands on your time, you’ll probably go through periods where your opportunities to write are constricted. I’m in such a time right now and was getting pretty frustrated about it when I read an infographic that reminded me of a useful technique from my day-job world: time-boxing.
Time-boxing is just a way of saying you have so much time for activity X in a given day, so you’re going to set aside that much time for it, no more, no less. The time box might not be as big as you’d like it to be, but at least finishing the box’s work allows you to feel you accomplished something concrete and met your stated goal. It’s much less of a drag than saying “I wish I had two hours!” over and over. You might as well wish Donald Trump was a monkey. On another planet. Without a breathable atmosphere. But I digress…
Right now, circumstances have whittled my writing time down a lot. To deal with that, I’ve created a 20-minute time box each morning. I start on time and at the end of 20 minutes, I stop, even if I’m in the middle of typing a word. I can feel good about it, and writing happens; the story moves forward.
Time boxes are not the only sort you can create. Many writers have word-boxes; they write until they have a certain number of words and then stop. Others have page-boxes; they stop when they’ve reached a particular number of pages. You could have an M&M-box if you wanted to; write until you’ve finished a bag of M&Ms. Of course, you might get a lot of time and word count variances with that one, depending on how hungry you are.
Time management is crucial for the part-time fiction writer and time-boxing, or other-types-of-boxing, is a handy way to pull that off. I’m looking forward to the day when I can expand my box to an hour again. From there, who knows? An hour and fifteen minutes?
A guy can dream.
Wishie begs the indulgence of a comment from you. Perhaps about how you manage your writing time? If he gets enough comments, he might put on pants.