Welcome to Tick-Tock, Writer’s Block. We hope you will find this 10-week series informative as we dive into time management and that little annoyance that seems to plague all writers from time to time, writer’s block.
10 writers have teamed up to offer you tips, tricks, and general information about these issues. We hope this series provides insight and useful tools you can put into practice with your own writing habits!
Don’t miss our giveaway and your chance to win the awesome prize pack we’ve put together! You can enter every Wednesday!
Time to Create
Writing, like anything you want in this world, is very hard to make work in your life when you are not being paid to do it full time. I envy those writers that have made it big for one reason only– that someone else thinks their words and thoughts are so valuable that they pay them to make sure that is all they must worry about. How wonderful it would be to write and not have to figure out what is for dinner, wash the laundry, pay the bills or to stop and I don’t know, go to work, maybe?
But alas, many of us are still seeking our big hit in the writing world and so the creation of our masterpieces must find a way into our daily schedules somehow. I am a homeschool mom so my day is full of other people’s education requirements by 8 am. We go strong until about 2:30 pm and then I am magically transformed into an Uber driver. As I rush to libraries, drum lessons, and dental appointments I am thinking about what I need to make for the next meal and calling back clients. Lucky me, I also get to don the chef’s hat when I get home and so, after a quick jaunt into the supermarket to grab food and toilet paper, which is always in depletion when you are 2/3 boys in your home, I become Martha Stewart in the kitchen with dinner on the table very evening.
Then it is an evening of dishes, more laundry, prep-work for the next day and time with my husband.
Did you see any writing time slotted in there? Nope, because I get to sneak that in to my day at 6 am. In the quiet stillness of each cool morning, I am up at 5:45 am and writing through my process. After months of making this my time to create, it finally worked and I started to find my muse and brain cells around 6:30. Every writer, that must still do other things to sustain their livelihoods, must find their own perfect time of the day or week to create, but this is what worked for me. Maybe it is on your lunch hour or after the dishes are up and the kids are down. For me, 6 am has morphed into my creative space time slot.
That is not my only trick, though. After attending a Writers Intensive Workshop, led by Mary Demuth, I learned an invaluable skill. The workshop was so valuable and amongst the trove of writing tools Mary bestowed upon us, she taught about the Kan Ban Board. I won’t bore you with the long history of the Kan Ban as you can Google it to your heart’s delight, if you are a research kind of person.
Simply put, Kan Ban is a systematic way to move your tasks from needs-to-be-done to done. For someone who juggles as much as I do, it has been a manna gift from heaven.
The great thing about the Kan Ban is that you can custom design your own, to make sure you are working towards your writing goals, no matter how bad your writer’s block or late night head fatigue is.
There are versions online–interactive systems and digital apps you can use if you are more tech-friendly and like to Kan Ban on the go. I am a Post-It kind of gal and so my Kan Ban is on a huge dry erase board near my desk. The board has 3 fundamental columns from which you work: tasks, doing, done. That was too blah for me so my columns are: planted, growing and bloomed. I also have another section called floaters for all the tasks I want to visit but are not mandates to my success. I have those further categorized into: need to read, things to research, writing prompts and random stuff.
There are rules around the process, too. You are not allowed to have more than 3 things in your “growing” category. If you get stumped and cannot move a task through the process in a decent amount of time then what ever task is holding you up, you must put it back to the start position. And, if an emergency happens and you are forced to work on something else, then you must have regulations around that process too. If you don’t, then you end up drifting off course when life gets in the way. I set up my own regulations around these concepts as well. The entire board is completely customizable for you and your needs.
This Kan Ban Board has revolutionized my writing world. Sometimes I cannot get my head around all the other things my day holds and this process helps me to hyper-focus even when I am not feeling it. It also pushes me to flex that writing muscle when inspiration is not doing its part.
We like to glamourize the writing process. The idea that published, and fully paid, writers sit down at their vintage cherry-wood desks in their dimly lit ancient libraries filled with nothing but works of literary art and spend hours dreaming up a world into which we will travel with them is nothing but fiction. Writers need plans and processes and task boards and to-do lists. My to-do list is already full of everything the rest of the world needs me to handle, so the Kan Ban is reserved for my writing. It is holy ground and nothing but tasks for the written word goes on it. And thank God for it, it gets me to my goals and I have visual proof that even though I may not get enough of a paycheck for this job yet, I am still creating like I do.
Excuse me while I go move my “write guest blog post for Tick-Tock/Andy Carmichael” to the bloomed category.
Erin Kincaid, Biblical Counselor, speaker & blogger at ErinKincaid.com and TheTravellingWriterBlog.com. Erin presently writes for Suburban Style Magazine. Past writing endeavors: relationship columnist for D Magazine/D Weddings, author of Expect Respect Teen Dating Violence Prevention Curriculum and Musical Chairs Pre-Marital Curriculum. Erin is presently working on a children’s book called Rock Me Right and a book of essays on life, wit and wisdom for women entitled Dogs for Sale – Life Lessons for Rest of Us.
You can learn more about Erin Kincaid by visiting
Click the image below for your chance to win an amazing prize pack!
Check out last week’s post, God’s Plans by Virginia Vaughan. Don’t miss our next post, published every Wednesday!
Take a look at this awesome line up!