Today, mystery writer Jan Christensen is here to share suggestions on how we can gain more productive time in our day. I've tried a couple of her suggestions, and they work.
Jan has to be doing something right. She's currently writing two mystery/suspense series - one of them about a professional organizer - and several short stories. She also writes an article on reading in each issue of Mysterical-E magazine. I've probably forgotten something.
Anyway, when Jan speaks, it pays to listen.
Jan is also doing a giveaway of the first book in her organization series, ORGANIZED TO DEATH. The winner will have a choice of a Kindle book, a paperback, or a PDF file. Leave a comment before 10 p.m. Thursday, and random.org will choose the winner. I'll post the winner's name at the top of Friday's post.
Oh, yeah ... Jan also happens to be my critique partner :)
Today I'm at Julie Kemp Pick's blog, Empty Nest Insider, talking about A Day in the Life of a Writer. See you there after you take some notes on Jan's post and leave her a comment.
- Drifting. Do what you want each day when you feel like doing it. Write awhile, socialize awhile, edit some, submit somewhere, see what happens. Sounds rather pleasant, doesn't it?
- Focusing. For example, plan on an hour for writing, an hour for editing something else, two hours for social media, and quit when your time is up.
- Micro-managing. Decide exactly how much time you’re going to spend on each activity every day and then at what time of day you’re going to perform those activities. Further, decide if you’re going to try to juggle all four things every day (a balanced life), or concentrate on one thing for several days or weeks or even months (alternate obsessions) before tackling something else. See my blog post about planning a balanced life or using alternate obsessions to boost your productivity here: http://www.janchristensen.com/obsessed-or-balanced/
For most of us it’s best to decide what to do when and for how long. Otherwise you drift, which works for some, very few, creative people. If you focus without micro-managing, that can also work if you’re not a procrastinator and are extremely self-motivated.
- Master List. Besides your writing and editing plus doing your usual social media every day, you have other things that come up. Make a running list of those items.
- Schedule. When you’re starting out, it’s best to have a written schedule for your days.
- Calendar. I like Google Calendar for appointments because it sends me an email alert the day before an event.
- Log. A log keeps track of what you've done when. Yes, you will forget otherwise. Make one for each project. Spreadsheets are ideal for these. You might mark down how many words you wrote each day on each project, or hours for writing and editing. You could list where you have submitted it for publication, where and when it was accepted, and all the places you marketed it, with dates. You can track your sales, reviews, anything that comes up.
- Income/Expenses Report. Again, using a spreadsheet for this is helpful.
- Notes. For each project, I keep a notes word processing file to dump everything about the work as it comes up. When I start out, I have a table with a timeline and a couple of sentences summarizing each chapter. My research goes in this file (I don’t do a lot—if you do, you might want a separate file for this). Maps, images, anything I can think of. When the work is ready to publish, I input my final log line/elevator pitch and the description at the top for easy access. Then, once the work is published, I put in the date of publication, ISBN numbers, price, buy links, both long and shortened, and anything else I think might be needed. It’s also a good idea to keep a separate document for reviews. Reviewer’s name, date published, where published, URL, and a copy the review.
If this all seems daunting, I agree, it is. The best way to handle it is to set aside about fifteen minutes a day to update each of these. Right after dinner is a good time, or just before bed if you work into the evening.