Monday, January 2, 2012

"Teach us to number our days"

"Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

Mayan Calendar.  Source: Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to a new year, fellow writers!

This is the time of year we vow to make changes in our lives: eat less, exercise more, and most important for the writer: be better managers of our time.

The best advice I ever received regarding time management came from Dr. Dennis Hensley in his Freelance Writing class at Taylor University. (For some great videos of Dr. Hensley, click here.)Using his suggestions as guidelines, here are a few things I hope to stick to for a more productive year. (After all, the world comes to an end on December 21, 2012. I don’t have a lot of time left.) 
  •    I will say “no” more than I say “yes.” As a pastor’s wife, this is very, very difficult. I am greatly motivated by guilt. But the older I get the more I realize my energy level isn’t as high as it used to be. And I don’t know about you, but I prefer to write while I’m awake 
  • I will shut my door, keep out the devil. (Have you heard that song?) What I mean is, I will shut my door not only to keep out people distractions, but all the shiny things that grab my attention: TV, Netflix, Facebook, et. al.
  • Do a better job of keeping my desk organized. (See my post from last year. I actually did a fair job of it in 2011, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.)
  • When given delicious back to back hours to work, I will exercise in some way for 5-15 minutes between hours. (My back side isn’t getting any smaller.)
  • I will try harder not to be obsessive-compulsive. Once I’m on a roll, it’s hard for me to stop. I’ve got to learn that the world isn’t coming to an end if I leave my desk in the middle of a chapter to go play with the kids or give Mr. Himself some attention.  I’ve mentioned this before, but Hemingway always left off in the middle of an exciting part of his books so that he could begin writing immediately when he got back to his desk.
  • I will make my own deadlines and keep them. I like what Dr. Hensley says about deadlines: “Deadlines mean, ‘go past this line and you’re dead!’”
Another thing Dr. Hensley taught me was to use a life map. I’ve filled it out before but I’m going to do it again. I want to know my goals for one year from now, three years from now, five, fifteen and thirty years from now. (Will I be alive thirty years from now? I’m not getting any younger which makes it even more important to be a good time manager. Oh, and then there's that December 21, 2012 thing…)

How about you? What will you do differently in 2012 to reach your writing goals? Where will you be in thirty years?

Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, grandma to five beautiful little girls and author of O Canada! Her Story. She lives in North Manchester with her husband, twin teenage boys with autism, and three silly dogs. Her favorite color is purple, favorite hobby is book-hoarding, and favorite food group is cupcakes.


  1. I'm going to do more of the things that I love, not put them on the back burner for another day, and try some new stuff too.

  2. Wonderful post, Karla! And I love all your guidelines for the year. Mind if I steal a few??? I sure do need to organize a few things in my life, my office, and my home--yikes!! Blessings and Hugs in 2012 to you, Karla!

  3. Hmmm, there are so many places to start. Managing time being the most important!

  4. Easy: more writing, less worrying about writing.

  5. Ha! Love it. I could say much the same. With a daughter getting married, I probably should pull my backside out of my writing chair more and spend some time with her before she leaves the nest. It's not for lack of wanting, it's that OCD thing some of us writers have. Maybe an alarm every hour to tell us to move it or lose it...
    Love the "deadline" quote, btw. I'm borrowing that. Thanks for the inspiration, Karla.