Work Smarter? How?

This is the question I keep asking. I see dozens of blogs every week dishing out the sage advice for us overworked and over stressed writers who just want to be left alone to write. The same thing always comes up, work smarter, not harder. 

Easy to say, but the question arises, how? I feel like I’ve tried everything possible (yes, I know, I’ve barely scratched the surface) but nothing seems to produce different results.

Okay, I’ve always preached the gospel of asking a different question, hopefully a better one. If I am going to figure out how to work smarter, I need a better handle on how I spend my time every day. Once I have logged everything I do at the computer for a couple of weeks then maybe I can figure out how to work smarter.

On that note I have started a log book of what I do at the computer and how much time I actually spend writing.  I can get close to 1K words per hour when I’m on a roll, so the object of the game is to make sure I can fine 1.25 hr. of uninterrupted writing time each day. 

If I can manage this I should be far more productive than I am right now. So, I am adding a new goal to my ROW80 list.

ROW80 check-in:
1.      Write 10,000 words per week. (I’ve managed about 8K this week. I’m happy, all things considered.)
2.      Read 10,000 words per week. (Got it.)
3.      Edit ten pages of a completed MS. (Got it done for this week.)
4.      Feature a new author every Friday (I wasn’t able to this week. Sorry.)
5.      Read and comment on 10 blogs per week. (Made it.)
6.      Log my computer time to see where I can change my work and play habits for the better. (Starting Tomorrow.)
Well, that’s pretty much it for this week. If you want to share any ideas about how to work smarter, I’d be happy to listen.
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15 thoughts on “Work Smarter? How?

  1. Prudence, I love the idea of a log book! I'm gonna take your idea and run with it. I think we're all trying to fit so much into our days. It will be a great incentive to see those words accumulate. Thanks Pru!

  2. I'm in the same boat as you, Prudence. And everything always takes longer than I think it should. Even when I'm not constantly interrupted by the children. The log book is a wonderful idea. Although I know from personal experience that I start things like that and end up failing miserably somewhere along the line. I don't have a good track record at keeping tally of my work. I need to get better at that.

  3. Great idea.

    If I read yet another work smarter not harder I'll spit nails. If we're independent authors, it's a nightmare!

    The key for me is to not touch the internet until the words are down. Even if I think, 'I'll just make sure there's nothing urgent – bang – I'm on the internet for hours with not a single word written. And that leaves me chewing tack nails, frustrated and miserable.

    Keep us posted on how you get on with this, because 'they' might have the loglines but they sure as hell don't have the answers.


  4. I never thought of keeping a log book for my writing. It's a great idea, although, I suspect that I'd be quite dismayed to see where all my time goes (my children) instead of to writing.

    I'll be interested in seeing how this experiment progresses!

  5. Seeing where the time goes is the best first step to reining it in! That helped me a lot. Of course, it only helps when you actually USE what you learn – as in, I know I need to spend less time playing computer games! A book you might want to check out is 2k-10k by Rachel Aaron. It's basically all about finding ways to use what writing time we have more efficiently. (More stuff I need to put into practice.) Good luck and have a great week!

  6. Like your idea of a log book. Started something similar, but was just logging what I did, not how much time I was spending at the computer and why. I think this will work better to get the answer to the ever-illusive question: Where did the day go???????

  7. Hi Debra,I know what you mean, I have a lot of partial journals that span a lot of years. All I'm hoping for here is to establish new work habits, once I figure out what they need to be.

  8. Hi Christine, I hear you there. This morning I changed my routine and didn't go on the net until I'd put in two solid hours of work. I'm amazed at how much I got done. I can see that I'm my own worst enemy here and the net is way too distracting.
    Yeppers, I'll be posting results. 🙂

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