Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Out of Stress into Writing

My challenge this morning is getting myself awake after a short six hours of restless sleep and back into my writing.
This, following a stressful day of first convincing my mother that she needed to see a doctor for breathing problems that went on for five days, and then convincing her the doctor knows best when he put her in the hospital.
As mentioned last week, the best part of my job are the hours, which I can pretty much set. I left yesterday afternoon to tend to my mother and didn't return home till well after 9 last night. The only thing I had energy for at that point was checking my emails.
The stress I'm feeling this morning is my own fault. A procrastinator by nature, I held off on doing some reporting for an article that was actually due by the end of the day yesterday.
Today, I'm going to pass along some tips on avoiding stress. These hints should also allow you to stick to the schedule that works best for you. If I had followed them, I would still be trying to sleep off some of my own stress:
* When you get an assignment, schedule the calls and interviews you need to make immediately.
* After doing the reporting for the story (research and interviews), schedule time in 1-hour blocks to write your story. My goal buddy recently recommended this to me on several stories I have that have no deadlines. The key is working stories into your schedule before deadline day.
* Finish your story at least 3 days before your actual deadline. If you have to trick yourself, list the deadline on your planner earlier than what the editor has given you.
* If you have gaps in your schedule where you don't seemingly have anything to do, make sure your follow ups and research is done on queries you want to send out.
* Cut time wasters out of your schedule. Allow yourself "rewards" of checking emails and browsing blogs and forums only after a specific task is complete and you're able to move to the next step of a project.

Any more ideas out there?


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