Wednesday, July 22, 2015

3 Keys to Protect Your Writing Time by Ralene Burke

I don't know about you, but time is worth double its weight in gold to me. I never seem to have enough to accomplish all I want. Today, author Ralene Burke shares three tips on protecting your time for writing. -- Sandy

Ralene: We live in a society that loves to fill its days with activity—lots of activity. All too often, we pile on obligation after obligation. Our kids need to be somewhere, the church needs a Sunday School teacher, our mother needs someone to trim the bushes, the writers group needs a speaker for next weekend, and the list goes on.

Somewhere in the midst of all the activity, though, we missed any chance to do the thing we’re called to do: write. Where did the writing time go? We were well-intentioned when we said we would write 5,000 words this week, weren’t we?

While each activity listed above is important, and while someone does need to do it, here’s a little secret: it doesn’t have to be you. There may be a need, and you may be able to fill it, but that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to. With a system in place, you can keep the busyness to a minimum.

3 Keys to Protect Your Writing Time

1.       Know Your Priorities: Ultimately, your priorities are between you and God, but it is important that you know what they are! Spend some time in prayer, talk with your spouse, and then WRITE THEM DOWN. Writing them down helps to establish them in your brain so you’re more likely to remember and stick to them.

2.       Set Your Schedule: With your priorities in mind, go through the activities already in your schedule and determine if they fall in line with your priorities. If they do, add them to your schedule; if they don’t, throw them out! Then determine what time is available for writing based on when you are most creative/awake and what is available in the schedule.

3.       Learn to Say No: This is a big one that we hear a lot—but how often do we take it to heart?
Think of it like this. If you were at a normal, 9-5 job with a boss and a paycheck, what would you do? In non-emergency situations, you’d have to say no and then address it later. For bigger needs, like being a Sunday School teacher or speaking for a writers group, take the time to pray. Ask God if this is an opportunity that He wants to use you for. Does it align with your priorities? Can you balance your schedule or are you adding unnecessary obligations?

Our writing time is so fleeting, it’s gone before we know it if we’re not making a conscious effort to protect it. Priorities, a schedule, and the ability to say no give us more control and help make room in our busy lives for that which we are called to do.

Therefore, go forth and write. Make the time to be the writer God called you to be.

How do you make time in your schedule for your writing? What kind of priority do you give it?


Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She spins fantastical tales to encourage people to SHINE BEYOND. She has worked for a variety of groups/companies, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients.

Her first novel, Bellanok, is being published as a 5-part mini-series starting in August 2015!
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website


  1. Thank you for having me on the blog today! I so enjoyed sharing with your readers. *waves at everyone*

    1. Thanks for those tips, Ralene. I'm always making lists. If I don't, I forget the things I need to do. Then I have to decide what is most important. I'm also a big believer in saying no when necessary. :)

  2. and two, no problem. Three? Must practice. :)

  3. Hi Ralene, I am a pretty disorganized person, and having left the strict scheduling of the classroom a decade or so ago, I am pretty much hopeless. I am one who craves a deadline. (The admin always made sure I had a student aide LOL.) Plus Hubs is retired and, the sweet guy, still likes hanging out with me and he does NOT understand the writer's life after all these years. But yes, making lists does does trying to rid the disorder of my desk. We purposely got me a small-ish desk when I redecorated my writing room a couple years ago because there is less room to grow piles. Oh yeah, I am notorious for those "horizontal files" ...but I do know where stuff is. Go figure that one.

    As for saying no..I am sad to admit I had to give up my monthly post here at SW. It was one of the pearls of my life, but I was running out of good moods when I got stressed. But I still love visiting here! Best wishes always with your stories.

    1. And we are so glad you visit, Tanya! Horizontal files? So that's what those are called! :)

  4. So important to remember these rules. I'm always reminding my children that just because it looks like mommy is perusing FB all the time (sometimes I am-research, ya know!) I really am working. Summer time is the hardest!


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