Plan for Success by Tracy Krauss

Last year I retired from teaching public school full time and took a part-time position as an online teacher/consultant with a large distance learning school in southern BC. The advantages are that I can work from home, meaning I can pretty much set my own hours and never have to worry about my wardrobe. (Downside – I like dressing up. Sigh.)

With this newfound freedom and so much more time, I just knew it was going to be my most productive year of writing yet. Except, things didn’t work out that way…

For some reason, I got less accomplished in the past ten months than when I worked fulltime, had a full load of extracurricular activities, and maintained my many other volunteer duties. Apparently having more ‘free’ time wasn’t the answer to becoming more productive.

Yes, there were health-related issues this year that put me on the sidelines for a season, but anything else I can think of is an excuse, plain and simple. The fact of the matter is, I let my freedom take over my previous need to maintain a schedule. It reminds me of the verse in Proverbs 29:18 that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Perhaps I am taking it slightly out of context, but the point is, without a plan this writer might perish, too!

How valuable is your writing to you? Is it important enough to schedule writing time into your day, week, or month? I have taken to making a weekly schedule for myself that includes time for writing. Not blog posts, not social media posts, not marketing or online duties, but my own personal projects like a novel, a devotional book, or a play. When I stick to the schedule I find I am much more satisfied. If I don’t get to it at the allotted time, making the decision to sit down and write later on sets my world right again. It might mean skipping Netflix (a habit that I admit has encroached on some valuable writing time) and often leads to a much longer stint than the slotted amount.

Some people claim that a schedule constricts creativity. I remember Murray Pura’s comment one year at Fall Conference where he said, in effect, that we are the ‘masters of our muse’. If you sit down to do the work, the words will flow. I have found this to be true. I don’t like to be boxed in, yet I find having a plan helps me get focused, even if I don’t stick to it rigidly. It gives me something to work toward, even if it tends to be fluid. It has also helped me to maintain some balance in my life, avoiding the “hit and miss” or “boom and bust” tendencies that most of us suffer from at times.

Consider making a schedule that includes some writing time along with your other work, household chores, exercise, and even meal planning. Most of these activities are done on autopilot anyway, so why not schedule them in rather than take up valuable gray matter thinking about them? Next time, I will share more specific ideas on how I organize my own schedule. Plan to be here!

Tracy Krauss, current ICWF President, has more than 20 books and plays in print and has successfully launched several titles onto Amazon’s best seller lists for sustainable periods of time. She has taught seminars using this model and hopes that what little insight she has gained can be used by others.

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