Monday, July 20, 2009

Time Management?

Reader Ryan wants to know... you know what, I'll let him ask in his own words:

Hey, Josh. Hope everything is going well. I was hoping you could write a blog post to help those of us who have an issue with time management. As in, how do you find time outside of work to write your scripts, keep up with your shows, write blog posts for fledgling wannabes, etc.? Do you have some sort of efficient, meticulous calendar, or do you just wing it every day?

Now, what you don't know is that Ryan sent this to me in June. 4th. Which, some quick calculating will tell you, is almost two months ago.

Admittedly, when I read his email, I chuckled a bit and decided a question such as this is just begging to be put off -- you know, for comedy's sake -- but the joke is really on me, because I had meant to wait a few days before replying. Not, as was said above, two months.

Sorry, Ryan. I'm a dick.

But if you look at my posting patterns for most of this year, you'll begin to get an answer to your question: sometimes I have lots of time; other times, not so much.

However, that doesn't seem like a fair answer to your question, so here goes...

When my wife and I are in the middle of writing something, we often spend weekends -- and at least one night a week after work -- actually writing. We are able to do this because 1) we really enjoy writing, 2) we're a little obsessive, 3) we push each other, and 4) for the last year and a half, we've had deadlines -- we've been taking UCLA Extension classes that required us to turn in work on a weekly basis. Now that we're done... well, I think we'll be okay, but time will tell. The biggest positive I think we have going for us is that even before the classes, when we do get into a script, we're pretty damn good at keeping it going. The biggest negative? How to keep going when you're between scripts and/or get yourself back into the groove. As I said before, I think we'll be okay, but blahblahblah.

In terms of watching TV, aka keeping up with shows, we DVR everything and make sure to watch at least one show every night. Sometimes, we watch more than one. DVRing helps with this a lot, because you aren't tied to the shows' schedules and you save time by skipping commercials. We've also been doing a weekly Friday TV night with friends for the last year or so, which is a nice excuse to get three or four hours of shows off our DVR. As you can tell, we have a full life with lots of excitement and variety.

Blogging happens, for me, when two things occur. First is having time. That one largely depends on my job. If I'm busy, chances are it's not going to happen or the posts will be extremely short -- often even simply just links to other things I find interesting. Second, and perhaps more important, is actually wanting to post. Sometimes it's hard to make myself do it. Sometimes I just don't have anything to say.

What all of these things really come down to, of course, is discipline. In terms of blogging, I don't have as much as, say, Amanda. Or, dear god, Ken Levine.

But my lack of discipline here is also a choice. I know that I only have a certain amount of bandwidth, and I'm not talking about the internet. If I make it a rule that I will put up one post every day, something else will suffer. Or, more likely, the quality of the blog itself will suffer as I put up even more links to random crap just to make sure I meet that goal.

Instead, I choose to post when I feel like I have something to say, and otherwise leave well enough alone. This is not the best way to build an audience, but it does help to keep me sane, and it certainly doesn't hurt in helping me to find time to do the other things you mention. Things that, to me, are far more important in the grand scheme of, you know... things.


Ryan said...

Ha! I totally forgot that I had asked you about this. Your method is way more appealing than others I've seen. These other guys expect us to write until 2 a.m. every single night. But I like the practical "one weeknight/make use of the weekend" approach. Good call. Thanks for the advice!

Josh said...

The truth, lame as the advice sounds, is that you have to find what works for you. The people who expect you to write until 2am every night expect this because it's what they do. People who get up at 4am and write till 7am, then go in to the office, will tell you that THAT is the only way. Blaze your own path... and other cliches.