Prioritizing and the difference it makes

By Katharine Swan On Monday, August 29, 2011 At 5:01 PM

Lately I haven't gotten much done on my novel, not even much research.  I started thinking that perhaps it's because I haven't been putting it first on my to-do list each day — even though my intention has been to shift my focus and work more on fiction, "Work on novel" still ends up being fourth or fifth on the list every day.

Today was different.  Even though my list, as I made it last night, still had my novel down as #4, I woke up wanting to work on it.  I had a scene that I was thinking about as I was waking up, and I was burning to get it onto paper (or into type, techically).  And so as soon as I rolled out of bed and into my office, I started working on my novel — writing, not researching or outlining.

The difference in productivity was amazing.  I hardly checked email, and when I did, it was only to respond quickly and return to my novel as fast as possible.  I stopped writing once for a bit to research something, and again to eat lunch, but otherwise I worked on it fairly steadily for a large chunk of the day, ultimately adding more than 3,500 words.  Moreover, the details that I wasn't sure about before are coming to me quickly as I write.

Now I don't know if this is really how I want most days to go — now that I'm calling it quits for the day (forcibly — I could probably keep going for a while, no problem), I don't really have much time to finish the other tasks I was going to work on today.  But I'm thinking that, if working on something first thing is the best way to make sure it gets done, I ought to plan on starting off with my novel at least a couple of days a week.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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