Monday, March 27, 2017

Stay True to Your Writing Path by Mary Manners

Stay True to Your Writing Path

Authors learn early in the journey that writing rarely takes a vacation. Ideas churn. Deadlines loom. Sometimes (lots of times) it's difficult to fall asleep at night with all those storylines and plot twists warring for attention. It's easy to get carried away in our make believe worlds and neglect real life. Thus broaches one of the great mysteries of life: How do we optimize time management in order to facilitate a balance between writing and family time, so we can get it all done? 

I work great under pressure and time constraints. Decades as a teacher and school administrator taught me to expect the unexpected and quickly adapt. Tackling half-a-dozen tasks simultaneously was commonplace, and I managed with ease. So, giving up my day job for full-time writing was destined to be a cake-walk, right?
Wrong. Now that I've retired to full-time writing I've had to develop an entirely new writing routine. It's much too easy to squander time when there are ten hours in the writing day instead on one or two. It's easy to stretch a thirty minute lunch to an hour, or an hour reading one of my favorite books into two. Time-suckers lurk around every corner so organization and time-management become more important than ever. Developing good habits (while discouraging those that quickly become not so good) is paramount if I want to avoid cutting into family time to meet deadlines.
If time management is an issue I have found a simple, foolproof solution: Take a deep breath and write. Set a writing goal and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. My goal is usually five for five. I must write 500 words before I break for a five-minute trek through the virtual world to see what’s going on, or before I indulge in a snack or a second cup of coffee. I set a timer and strictly limit myself to five minutes. This technique works very well to help tackle and tie up writing projects as deadlines close in. The promise of a snack or a walk through social media motivates me to get those words down on paper, yet I avoid getting carried away.

So, the next time poor time management threatens to snatch away writing time, step back, take a deep breath, and then dive back in to WRITE. Stay focused and enjoy the journey. Happy Writing!

Peyton Foster harbors a secret…from the day he first stepped into her life she’s loved Luke Maddox. Though she thought they’d developed a lasting friendship, events surrounding her mother’s death chased him away. It’s all for the best, since Peyton’s passion as proprietor of A Whisper in Time proves the perfect complement to her shyness—a much better fit than her former misguided schoolgirl attraction to Luke.

Luke Maddox feels a connection with Peyton Foster from the first moment their paths cross. But when he settles in Honeysuckle Cove, a past riddled by years traversing the foster care system leaves him longing to fit in, leading him to take part in a foolish school dare that costs him Peyton’s friendship. Haunted by the mistake, he searches for a way to mend the past and find a way back to Peyton’s heart. When a break-in at A Whisper in Time causes their paths to once again cross, Luke must make a choice—bare his heart and face the consequences, or allow the only woman he’s ever loved to slip away.

Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime exploring her joy of writing. She has two sons and a daughter, as well as three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.
A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades sharing her love of learning with students from kindergarten through middle grades. While growing up in Chicago and as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, figure skating instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these enriching and challenging experiences led to adventures that bring laughs and insight to her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs, ocean sunsets, and flavored coffee.
Connect with Mary at her website: “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


  1. Five for five - great idea! You're right. It's so easy to lose track of time, and before you know it, hours have slipped by.

  2. Thank you for this post, Mary. The way you describe time getting away from us is so relatable. Great advice!

  3. What a great idea! Five for five. Love it!


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