Chuck Sambuchino's blog that speaks to a real issue for writers: How can you write, meet deadlines, pursue publishing goals, and have a life or a day-job? Or is this case, school.
Ashley Ream says: " I was working full-time, going to school at UCLA and training for a 50 kilometer footrace. I also slept, ate, saw friends, posted on Twitter and Facebook, blogged, belonged to a book club and watched a number of Mythbusters episodes. With that kind of schedule, one question comes up a lot, especially from other writers: 'When do you write?'" Read more
A spreadsheet is an excellent idea--versus calendar notes and Post-Its everywhere. Whether it's meeting your own personal goal to complete the book or that you have a publisher's deadline for delivery, you need to take the # or words for the book and break it down. How many days of writing do you have each week? In addition to actual writing time, how much do you need for research? Is there a freelance editor involved? A collaborator? Add in all the factors to break down your per-session target goals (whether words written or work accomplished on it) -- and then add in time for getting sick, computer problems, and family emergencies. Life happens. Always.
Meeting deadlines is one of the most important traits for a professional, published author--whether for magazines, blogs, or published books. No one likes a writer who is chronically late.
Meeting your personal goals is equally important, and in order to achieve that--while also living your life--you need to (a) plan the writing schedule and writing goals realistically and specifically, and (b) write a book that actually fits with your general knowledge or research capability and which will not require you to abandon the rest of your life in order to complete it.
Even if you are one of those writers who only wants A Writing Life and doesn't have family and doesn't want social obligations and truly wants to be left alone to write, you are still going to need time to read and interact with the publishing world, and once you have a book out, to promote that book while writing your next one.
Strategy and advance planning is ALWAYS the smartest thing a writer can do for him or herself and for those around the writer.