Sheri Reynolds, whose novel the Rapture of Canaan was an Oprah Book Club selection, says she likes to think of herself as a little gifted. What she really is, though, is persistent.
And being persistent is key to not only writing and editing a book but to getting it published. She has published six novels and one play and has developed some time management tips to help with her writing.
One tip is to go on an overnight trip once or twice a year to push through on your writing. When Reynolds does this she will work for about three hours and then take a walk. After another writing push, she will go to dinner.
My most successful writing has happened just this way. I think of them as mini sprints. In fact, I have three days scheduled this holiday season at the beach where I will do just as she prescribes — write, walk, dine. I have daily goals and look forward to celebrating reaching the goals each evening.
Reynolds also is a proponent of scheduling some time each week with your characters. “I have a little liaison with my fiction life,” she said.
I haven’t done this yet, but I’m looking forward to having lunch with Frank, a detective in my novel. During our lunch, I’ll learn more about his character and think about how he is conducting the investigation.
When you are forced to attend a lecture or concert, don’t dread it. Instead, Reynolds said to think of it as mandated day dreaming time. When she does this, people think she is taking notes, but she is really writing. Airports also are a good place for writing.
A final piece of advice is to always keep a notebook for writing. You can jot ideas and record research. Best of all, Reynolds said, you won’t stress when the train or your doctor is running late.