Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tanya Stowe: Ten Time-Saving Tips for Writers

Tanya Stowe

Several years ago I gave a talk. Afterwards, a member of the audience suggested I speak on time management. I had to laugh. Time is a constant topic for me because I always have so little of it. It wasn’t until I started working a thirty-hour-a-week job that I learned how to manage my time.

I used to rise at 4:30 am, write for three hours, go to work for six hours, run errands, do household chores and chauffeur the kids. Between 5—8 p.m., I did dinner and homework and then fell into bed. It was a very tight schedule and many things went by the wayside, but in that time I completed two books—double what I’d accomplished in the previous two years.

No, I’m not Superwoman. There were frequent crash-and-burn sessions where I turned into Jell-O for days at a time. But I learned to prioritize, to write on demand and to make the best use of the time given to me.

Below are a few of the things I learned:

Start your day with prayer
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Eat Well
Diet impacts everything—your energy level, your  mental acuity, even the texture of your skin and  hair. Eating a well-balanced diet and using  supplements keeps everything at peak performance.

Writing is a mental drain. It’s as if you open your   brain and pour it onto the page. When you’re finished, there’s nothing left. A twenty-minute walk, a turn on the exercise bike or laps in the pool gets the blood pumping to the brain and clears out the cobwebs. Plain and simply, exercise is essential to keep up with today’s hectic pace.

Get Plenty of Rest

      Studies show that we are most susceptible to  
      viruses when we’re tired. Getting the rest your body
      requires will help you fend off the bugs constantly
      coming your way.

Organize Whenever Possible
    • Sort drawers so you can always find scissors, pens and pads, or recipes. Don’t waste time hunting.
    • Use a carrier with a handle for all the cleaning supplies you’ll need and carry it from room to room as you work. Don’t waste time fetching.
    • Create a 3-ring notebook with packet folders for all your research and notes for your latest book so it’s in one central, easy-to-find place.
    • Create files for PR, characterization, plotting. If you receive a handout you want to keep, toss it in the appropriate file. If you see an article you want, tear it out, staple it and drop in the file for easy access.

There’s Nothing to It but to Do It
    • Don’t procrastinate. When you bring in the mail, take five minutes to sort it. Junk mail in the trash, bills in a file.
    • Unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning so dishes don’t pile up in the sink during the day.
    • Take a few extra minutes to put things away. Hang up your jacket, don’t throw it over the chair. Put your briefcase in the closet by the door. Things won’t pile up on you and once-a-week clean-up will be shorter.

Put that Smart Phone to Good Use

    • Make sure your scheduler will coordinate between all your devices. You don’t want to hunt dates created on your phone to add to your computer.
    • Listen to a seminar on the way to work, while on the exercise bike during lunch and ten minutes on the way home. That’s a half-hour’s worth of a seminar conference session in one day.
    • I’ve pre-programmed birthdays and anniversaries into my scheduler so it will remind me in plenty of time to purchase presents or cards, and I have it when I’m out and about.
    • I even have an app to plan menus and create my grocery lists…again, one that syncs between my devices. My personal favorite is Big Oven.
    • There are also apps for prayers, Christian music and scripture…reminders throughout the day to rely on and turn to the Ultimate Organizer. 

Be Good to Yourself
Take time to smell the roses or watch the sunset. Surround yourself with the things you love.
    • I love paintings. Every morning when I turn on my computer, my screensaver comes up with a painting and a quote. I savor the quote and the picture in the quiet moments before I begin my day.
    • On my desk I have a flip calendar with daily quotes and lots of flowers. I try to take a few quiet moments every day to read and study the picture. It’s a beautiful, positive thing in a strung-out day.

Create an “I Love Me Book”
Get another 3-ring binder with pockets and plastic inserts. (There are apps for this, as well!) Inside the binder put letters, photos of friends at talks and conferences, awards, contest wins, book covers—anything positive. Then when you get that next rejection letter, you can pull out your book and flip through the pages. You’ll feel better. You’ll even remember how really good you are and that will remind you why you keep this insane schedule.

   About Tanya:

Tanya Stowe is an author of Christian Fiction with an unexpected edge. She fills her stories with the unusual…gifts of the spirit and miracles, mysteries and exotic travel, even an angel or two. No matter where Tanya takes you…on a journey to the Old West or to contemporary adventures in foreign lands…be prepared for the extraordinary. www.tanyastowe.com 

Tanya's latest release:

(Heart's Haven Easter Collection, Book 2)

Madison Harper is glad to be alive after a devastating auto accident. She loves her new community, too. There's something peaceful about the Heart's Haven cottages. Madison wakes up every morning, praising the Lord and basking in constant sunshine--until the day Andrew Hart collapses from a massive heart attack and dies.

When widower Vance Mallory arrives to help his sister bury her husband, he and Madison agree to bury the hatchet from their turbulent past. But no matter how hard they try, they seem to bring out the worst in each other. Their verbal battles uncover too many old hurts, mistaken paths, and hidden feelings.

Can these two embittered souls ever hope to find peace and healing or has the healing peace of Heart's Haven died with Mr. Hart?

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Not enough time to write? Get Time-Saving Tips for Writers at Write Right! hhttp://ow.ly/wgHSm  @DeliaLatham @TanyaStowe1


  1. Welcome to Write Right, Tanya! You've given me a lot to think about...and pointed out ways I can help bend time to my best use. Thank you!

  2. Great post! Tanya, I am so with you on all of it...if I had a 30 hour a week job, maybe I'd squeeze some writing in, too! LOL I actually started truly writing the summer I had worked part time! Yeah, life gets the best of us! Funny I just wrote about this on another blog! God bless! I love the Hart's Haven series! You guys rock!!!

  3. Great tips, Tanya! Thanks for sharing!


  4. Tanya, just what I needed to hear today after my morning "Dear Lord, help this weary writer" prayer.

    1. God always knows where to send us, or who to send to us for encouragement, doesn't He? I'm glad you were encouraged, my friend.

  5. Thank you for sharing this...it hit a sweet spot with me!

    1. That's what we always hope for, Audrey! :) Thank you for coming by.