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While my husband and I were having breakfast together at a local restaurant a few days ago, I noticed that he was almost finished whereas I had barely eaten any of my meal. I asked him why he eats so fast, and he replied that he doesn’t—he just gets done first because I never stop talking long enough to eat.

When it comes to writing, I think there are many of us who spend more time talking about it than working towards our goals. We have reasons, many of them good ones, why we have to do other things before we can complete our novel, memoir, or other projects, but that doesn’t change the fact that we aren’t achieving the success we hope for.

One factor holding us back may be a lack of time management skills. I know it’s an area I struggle with, so I did some research. Here are some of the ideas I’m hoping will help me manage time more effectively:

  • Set realistic long-term and short-term goals.

Knowing what we want to accomplish is the first step toward getting it. If we separate each big goal into smaller ones, it will keep us from feeling overwhelmed and we are more likely to succeed.

  • Set priorities, and stick to them until they change.

Every day, figure out what’s most important and work those into our schedule, allowing more time than we think we need because everything takes longer than we think. Life has a way of throwing obstacles in whatever path we choose, so we need to be flexible.

  • Develop a routine that fits our lifestyles.

We all have different responsibilities, talents, and personalities, so we mustn’t get hung up on what people say we should be doing. If our priorities don’t allow for a regular routine, so be it. We should do the best we can, when we can, and not get discouraged by comparing ourselves to others. Giving up is the surest way to fail.

That last point was one I made up myself. Apparently I lost the focus of my post somewhere along the way and started thinking philosophically instead of practically. If you want more specific tips, here are a couple of sites that I thought were especially well-written and helpful.

Top 10 Time Management Tips

13 Tips for More Effective Time Management

 In closing, here’s a bit of advice that I’ve always followed: Try not to stress over what doesn’t get done today, because it will probably still be waiting for you tomorrow.

 

Do you struggle with managing your time? What are some ways you fit writing into your schedule? What’s the most useful tip you know of for those of us needing to improve our time management skills?

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All in the Way You Look at It

I’m doing my fall cleaning, at home and on my blog. I’ve updated the blog header to show the actual place where I do my writing. Right now I’m sitting upstairs in my little office behind the third window on the left.

I’m going to be reviewing my older posts and linking any of them that discuss similar topics. I’m also going to update my categories to make it easier for visitors to find what they’re interested in. Hopefully I’ll have everything organized this week. I haven’t decided what my next blog topic will be yet, but have several ideas in mind for upcoming posts. If there is something you’d be interested in discussing, let me know and I’ll see about fitting it into my schedule.

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I Got a Ping

I got a ping. I would have mentioned it earlier, but I had no idea what it meant. A few days ago, I checked my Dashboard and there it was—snagged by the Spam filter. Most of my Spam has key words that alert me that the sender isn’t sincerely complimenting my blog. This one had a guy’s name, and an excerpt from the post I’d completed mere minutes earlier.

“What in the world?” says I. “Someone stole my idea. And they wrote it in my own words!” I quickly approved the message so I could read the rest—after all, I could tell it was a great post.

Approving it meant that WordPress put the message in the comments section for Library Thing. When I clicked on the embedded link, it took me to a site where the same message was repeated, telling the world my write up about Library Thing was interesting and entertaining. Clicking on it gave me a popup window containing my own post. How weird is that? However, I write suspense/mystery stories, so I deduced that Googling the poster’s name would tell me whether I should believe he really thought my post was interesting or was just leading me on.

He’s real. A young man out West who writes for a newspaper, name withheld to protect his reputation, actually liked what I wrote. Or, he might have posted it in order to improve his Google ranking. I don’t understand how that works, and wouldn’t have thought of it on my own, but my research suggests it is possible a Spam program picked up my post based on key words and stuck it on a news site automatically. That’s what some pings do.

I choose to trust this man’s taste and honesty, so I’m believing that he complimented me instead of spammed me. We are now linked in mysterious ways that only a techie can understand. It’s not quite as special as a first date, and we aren’t BFFs (If that doesn’t mean Best Friends Forever, someone please tell me.)But he’s my first ping, and I ping him back.

Seriously, some pings and pingbacks are legitimate notifications that a post has been mentioned somewhere else, and a link back to the original is included there so other people can read the whole thing. Both sites must have software enabling this process. If you’re interested, there’s more technical stuff about pings and their cousins, trackbacks, at:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging

http://www.blogcatalog.com/discuss/entry/a-little-confused-pingbacks-and-links-how-to-handle

 

Edited to add: I learn something new all the time! By embedding the link to the post about Library Thing, this posting is now pinging me, too. It feels sort of like I’m talking to myself…

Does anyone know if deleting the “pings” from my comments section will also remove the links that are embedded in the posts? Or can I delete the comments and keep the pings?

Edit April 17, 2009: Kaspars, a physics student and web designer, gave me an excellent explanation about pings and trackbacks in the comments section of this post. Take a look. Also, his blog has lots of interesting information, some about technical things, like widgets, and other more general topics. I’ve added him to my helpful links page, but you can also reach him by clicking here.

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