by Linda Gilden
To find out more about Linda, her writing, and her ministry, visit www.LindaGilden.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
Last Sunday my pastor preached a sermon from Luke 15 about the prodigal son who went to another country and squandered all the money his father had given him. When my pastor got to the word “squandered” it would not leave my mind.
First of all, that is just one of those words that stick with you. The sound of it brings a certain picture to mind. When you say it, you use facial muscles that you didn’t know you had. And although it is not a word that many people use frequently, once it surfaces in your vocabulary, you find yourself using it throughout the day.
Secondly, how could that word possibly apply to writers? We are busy people who need to make the most of our time to write. We have assignments, deadlines, interviews, critiques groups, etc.
As I thought about it I realized that there are several things that probably fall into the squandering category.
1. Time. This culprit can come in the form of a television, cell phone, Facebook, a friend who tempts us away from our projects, and much more. These things are all good and enjoyable. But when we are on a deadline, we must stay focused and protect our writing time until we are done. Perhaps a good way to approach these time usurpers is to use one of them as a reward.
In other words, let one of these things be your reward for completing a project. For me, I allow myself to read a good book that has been recently released. I see it on my bedside table and it reminds me to stay on task so I can hurry up and get to the book. You may be more interested in browsing the internet for good recipes, playing a game on your phone, or working in the garden. Whatever you like to do, use it as incentive to get your work done.
2. Energy. Even though we sit and write and to the outsider-looking-in it looks like we are not exerting much energy, writing is an exhausting activity. Writers pour so much mental and emotional energy into their writing that we often need to stop for a nap or walk to refresh our creativity. When you are on deadline, protect that energy. Exercising regularly will boost your energy level and stamina when you are on long writing binges. But beyond that, keep your hands to the keyboard.
3. Opportunity. This may seem to be a strange thing to include. But at most writers conferences writers leave with at least one or two invitations to submit something. I have heard that only 10-20% of those opportunities are followed through on. That may seem strange that we would let things that important fall through the cracks. But we do. Opportunities abound even in passing conversations, so don’t be one of the statistical folks who squander writing opportunities.
What does your writing day look like? Pay attention to the things you are squandering. Commit to making the most of your time. Use your resources wisely and you will be more productive.
Linda Gilden is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She loves to take one subject and create multiple articles from that information. Linda finds great joy (and lots of writing material) in time spend with her family. Her favorite activity is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing children!