This post is going to be more of a question than most of my posts, so if you have feedback, please let me know.
Anyway, recently I’ve been thinking a lot about about where my time goes, both in general (see my recent post on getting rid of social media) and specifically in regards to writing. I feel as though I’ve been getting more vision for my writing lately as far as what it should be and what it’s for, and the natural outpouring of those thoughts has been how to get there, as well as what to do with the writing I do now, including, for example this blog.
Whether or not I should keep it has actually been on the table.
Which is why I thought I would take some time to reflect on what buckets my different kinds of writing fall into, what I feel the current purposes of each are, and how much of my time should go into them. I thought I’d share those reflections here, both as an example of what a writing life can look like for other aspiring authors, and as an opportunity for feedback from others, both creatives and those who just have busy lives/multiple hobbies. Does it seem like I’m using my time well? If not, why not?
Since this is going to get a little long, I’m going to split it into a few posts, so get ready for some introspection and nerdy numbers for a while, folks.
I’m not going to lie, this is a decent sized bucket for me. For anyone who doesn’t know, Storium is an online collaborative storytelling platform, or for short hand, a place for online, text-based RPGs. I’ve been playing there for over five years now, mostly consistently, and I have to say of all my writing buckets, this is probably my favorite.
The reasons I like it are:
- It’s collaborative, which is one of my passions.
- It’s specific, with short deadlines and clear, small scale objectives.
- It’s short term.
- There is little to no editing.
Why it adds value:
- It’s a chance for me to love on, work with, and support other writers.
- It relieves stress because the weight of the story is not all on my shoulders.
- It’s “play,” bringing in the more joyful aspects of creating without the burdens of editing or marketing.
- It’s practice, ensuring I am consistently writing and improving my skills, even if I am not working on something directly related to my career.
To be honest, I probably spend about half of my collective writing time/energy between running the story I narrate (Twice Born and Twice Born 2, if anyone is interested) and playing in the other games in which I am playable characters (full list here). Because it’s so fun and (sometimes) fast-paced, I tend to fixate on it like the weird, story junkie I am.
That being said, since I would like to do writing for a living, I think I would like to bring that percentage down closer to 20%. I see immense value in just loving the people in my community and in de-stressing with more free form creativity, especially when I get so bogged down in the weeds with other things, so I don’t want to marginalize this, but I also do need to focus more on the things that can get me closer to where I want to be as a full-time writer (also because if I were a full-time writer, I would have more time for Storium, haha).
This, obviously, is where the majority of my time should go. As I want to be an author
when I grow up someday, anything related to writing or editing the novels I’ve written (or writing new ones) goes into this bucket. Pretty straight forward.
The reasons I like it are:
- This has been a life-long passion. I love telling stories, and can’t imagine a better job than doing that.
- It’s my calling. This is what God has called me to do.
- Stories change lives. When I think of the best way I can serve, love, and support the people I feel called to serve, this is the best way I can imagine to do it.
Why it has value
- See above list, and…
- Writing takes work. If I want to reach my dream, I have to work at it, including spending the hours it takes to make books.
So, it’s summer, which means I’m
becoming super lazy enjoying the relaxation and opportunities that nicer weather and road conditions brings, so I’d say right now, I’m operating at about 10-20% (with Storium making up a large amount of that deficiency), but in fall and winter, I trend more towards 30-40%, 60-70% if I’m really in a good system of habits. Ideally, well, I guess I’m not really sure where I’d like this to be. I would say 50% as a ballpark, but then I wonder if that’s too little. It seems like it would be for what should probably be my main focus as a writer, but then I wonder, is that what my main focus should be after all? Is there not more benefit to say, things like Storium, or even going to events to meet and interact with my writing/reading community? And then you get into marketing and all the hoi polloi that comes with that, and it’s easy to see where my writing time could–eventually–slip away.
In any case, if anyone has feedback on that specific little chunk of time, please let me know (keeping in mind these percentages are all in relation to the time I spend strictly on writing and writing related things, not like, all of my time).
Anyway, as this post is getting a bit long, I’ll leave the other three two main buckets and a final run of the numbers for other posts. Any thoughts on managing or organizing time in the meantime appreciated!
So, how about you? Do you spend much time considering where your creative time goes and how its budgeted? Do you find it useful or does the idea of thinking about and budgeting time make your skin crawl? If you do try to partition out your time by task or type of task, what kinds of strategies or systems have you found effective for time management or does it all naturally fall into place? Let me know in the comments below, and if you want more content about my life, writing journey, or all things nerdy, please feel free to follow me here or on social media using the links in the sidebar or below (keeping in mind, social media and I are currently on a break, so if you message me there, I might not get it right away). Thanks for reading!