How to Manage Your Writing Time by Managing Your Writer Psyche

Time Management imageQuestion: What is my biggest writing time management problem? Answer: Me.

If you’d asked me this question last month or maybe even last week I’d have said this. “My biggest problem with managing my time to write is all of the demands made on my hours and my energy and my spirit too. So there!”

Reassessment tells me this is not the true answer to the question. Why not? Because it leaves Me totally out of the equation. As if the power in my life to live my life and parcel out my time somehow resides outside of myself in other people and other circumstances.

The true answer has been banging on my head for a while now. Often from the advice wise friends have tried without success to give me. Also from my own observation of other – or the same – friends. Even from my priest who’s been talking a lot about self-care lately.

My biggest problem with managing to find time to write is the same problem I have with managing too much of my life in general. I simply do not know where to put myself in the lineup of my priorities. As one of those wise friends of mine put it – I don’t put myself at the center of my life.

I’ve been long conditioned for this behavior. My mother used to tell me I wanted to be at the center of things. As if that wasn’t at all where I belonged. Even my sainted grandmother raised me to believe that if I wasn’t making the world a better place I shouldn’t be here.

All of which I interpreted as a clear admonition to put everybody else first. To do everything I could for everybody else whenever possible. And most pointedly – at least in my hearing of it and therefore in my head – that doing for myself or taking care of myself was a bad thing.

BTW both of those women followed their own advice. One of them did so with teeth gritted and resentment in her heart. Happenstance didn’t happen well for her. The other did so with love and kindness in her heart and she fared better. But not as well as she deserved to or should have.

Meanwhile I carried on the family tradition by leaping straight into the helping professions in first one form then others. Schoolteacher. Community organizer. Social worker. Book editor. Literary agent. That last requiring perhaps the most outpouring of self of all.

Guess where most of my time was spent through all of that. On other people’s needs. And where it was not spent. “You have a right to have your own needs satisfied.” That was another wise friend talking to me. My response was to stare at her as if she were speaking a language from an alien galaxy.

I’m telling this story first because I need to tell it. But even more so because almost every writer I know – maybe almost every person I know especially if she’s a woman – needs to hear it. Because so few of us put ourselves solidly at the center of our own lives.

In particular we don’t put ourselves at the center of our writing lives. Ask almost any writer what she’d do if she were truly taking care of herself. If she were truly satisfying her own needs. That writer at her most honest would say this. “I would spend more of my time writing. But I don’t.”

We need to change that. Specifically we need to change our minds about that and our hearts too. Otherwise we will never be able to manage our time or our energy. We will never be able to give our hungry spirits what they require to be satisfied. The opportunity to express themselves.

Not to mention we won’t be able to manage our writing careers either. So there!

 Alice Orr –                     


A Villain for Vanessa ECover (1) 100 x 150px - 14.6KB - SmallA Villain for Vanessa – coming soon – will be Book 4 of Alice Orr’s Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series featuring the Kalli family and the Miller family in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way HomeBook 1 – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of Alice’s books are available at her Amazon Author Page


6 thoughts on “How to Manage Your Writing Time by Managing Your Writer Psyche

    1. Hi Martha Pederson. I understand your struggle. I also understand that sometimes this struggle has a lot to do with the people around us and their attitude toward what we are doing as writers. Often the folks in our personal circle are uncomfortable with the amount of time and mental preoccupation we give to our writing even when we aren’t reaping much in terms of financial rewards. My advice to anyone in such a position is this. You have to train – as in condition – the people in your life to respect your writing priorities. Tell them – over and over again – how much your writing means to you. Tell them how crucial it is to your state of mind and sense of personal fulfillment. Do this as much and as often as needed. Eventually those who truly care about you will get the message and allow you to put yourself at the center of your life – and your writing life – for a change. Those people who are not able to do so should frankly – in my not so humble opinion – be ignored by you because they are ignoring you as the person you truly are. None of this may apply to you but I’m saying it anyway just in case it does. Blessings. Alice

  1. Happy Morning Elizabeth Meyette. This post resonated with me too. It’s something I need to read regularly so I put it on my blog where I can access it easily. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings. Alice

  2. You’ve inspired me yet again, Alice. This post resonated within me as I read it. I once heard a friend use the term “self-ful” as an antonym for selfish, and I love it. As writers we are called to be co-creators and to honor our gift. Thank you for this reminder.

  3. Hi to my blog friend Caroline Clemmons. I needed this today too Caroline. I didn’t realize that until I started editing it before posting. All of a sudden I was angry with myself so I knew I’d been moved to write the post for myself. But more so I wrote it for my writer friends – and I hope you won’t mind if I count you in that group. We need to be reminded – and to remind ourselves too – that each of our lives is a precious gift. We are meant to use it well and a big part of that is cherishing our precious selves by doing what our souls require to remain free and strong and vibrant and to be restored when that is in order. I wish we lived geographically close so you could come over for a cup of tea. We’d share stories and support and hugs. Let’s consider that done today as far as this medium will allow. Blessings. Alice

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