OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[untitled]. I always wondered why the anthology put out by Busybird was named this. I mean, how can something be untitled? There needs to be some kind of label attached to it so we know what to expect. Labels give us comfort. They give us definition, boundaries even, don’t they?

But reading through the anthologies I understood why it was called [untitled]. Each story is completely different, each a different world that the writer allows the reader into. To lose themselves. Sometimes, after a difficult day you need it.

The editorial of the latest issue begins with an explanation as to why the anthology had a late launch. Something about reading that resonated with me. I’ve always felt that I have no time when I write, that I am always out of time in general and so I have to push due dates for pieces back, for example. It’s frustrating and it makes you feel as if you have let someone down. So what I thought I would write about is the elephant in the room that is TIME MANAGEMENT as a writer. I’m guilty of it as I’m sure everyone is. I mean, we always wish we had more time. So how do we time-manage as writers?

One trick I’ve found is I write down what I need to do. Everything. I mean not everything to the point where I write down the time I need to brush my teeth, but the tasks I have to do for the day, and for the week. When it’s written it keeps digging at you like a flea on the metaphorical elephant (horrible analogy, I know, I cringed writing it, it’s probably been used hundreds of times, but it was for the sake of being the least bit humorous) until you finally approach it and jump over that mountain, or you get rid of those fleas. And it always feels like you’ve accomplished so much more when you can cross one more thing off your list of things to do.

Another trick I have found is have a set time when you sit down and write. Don’t sit in front of the computer for the whole day; I’ve tried to do that and end up looking up more at Youtube videos than actually writing. Because when you give yourself the whole day you just end up with a sore back and a lot of excuses as to why you should push writing back another ten minutes. The next thing you know it’s 6pm and you’ve written all up about 20 words, most of which are the word ‘the’.

One more trick I’ve found: get sleep. I know this is a cliché but sleep is important. When I have not had enough sleep I cannot function, my brain doesn’t work as it should and I end up not writing what I actually want to say. As a writer your main objective is to write exactly how you feel or to write exactly what you want to express. When you’re tired how are you able to do that?

One last trick I have found is exercise. This allows for your ideas to flow better. This is because you’re not sitting in front of an electronic device (sidenote: it’s actually been said that electronic devices can mess – for want of a better word – with your brainwave pattern at night before you go to sleep. This is why it’s a good idea to stop using electronic devices an hour before you go to sleep). In any case, when you exercise you’re burning stressful energy, and you’re not sitting in front of the computer with stress building in your mind, pushing yourself to write one more chapter or even a paragraph. Breaks help; they allow you to de-stress, especially if you’re going through that horrible and ever-dreaded period of WRITER’S BLOCK.

Ultimately, these are some tips I have found helpful when writing. It’s up to you if you think whether they work or not. Share some of the tips you have found helpful when writing, whether it’s doing handstands because you think it allows for blood to rush to your head as well as ideas or whether it’s writing into the small hours of the morning. Share your weird and wonderful writing tips and habits. Thank you.

Tamara Dawood

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