A Prepublished Novel in the Process of Revisions and Rewrites

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Time Management: a challenge for anyone...

Good morning!

First off, I'd like to remind you that you can still visit with Ruthie Schall and I at Books, Books and More Books. I'll be hanging out there all week answering questions and just plain gabbing. One lucky commentor will win a free download of Curse of the Marhime. I do hope to see you there.

Now on to the business at hand: Time Management

With the New Year safely a couple of weeks behind us and Valentine's Day fast approaching, I thought this as good a time as any to talk about managing one's time. A task I take very seriously but inevitably lose track of no matter how well I plan and map. Is it the same for you? Does time run away from you? Do you find at the end of the day, week, month, you still have that list of chores, goals, and plans you began with? Do you find something always take preference bumping your well-laid intentions of accomplishment?


Me too!

Well, let's take the first step right now to accomplish our goals and chores or whatever is on that all important 'To Do' list. I invite you all to participate and work together at giving each other ideas and support in this important endeavor. Afterall, we have jobs, writing careers, families, marketing to do, carpooling adventures, activities with the kids, appointments both personal and professional, home chores, meals to create, birthday parties to hostess and attend, and a whole slew of other things that take up our precious writing time. What's an author to do?!

Here's what I do, all be it, with good intensions when I start out, but this year I'm sticking with it. As a matter of fact, I worked this way throughout last year and it has kept me on the ball and accomplishing much of my goals. My main goal this year is to make a lot more time for writing and planning projects along with marketing them.

Here we go:

1.) Get yourself a day planner or journal(Day planners with large daily spaces work great). List your daily plan, weekly, and if you want to jot down monthly certainly do so. I work with two. I have one for personal business: bills, home goals, appointments, activities, etc. and one for my writing.

If you are a list person, fine! Just jot down your goals and plans but keep them in a file as you tick them off. This way you can see your accomplishments as time goes by.

2.) Set aside a day of the week for specific goals. For example: If you have several writing projects you are working, you may want to give a day to each one. Pick a certain day a week to work on marketing, blog/website updates, etc. You get the picture. Have a day that you do nothing but watch favorite TV shows or get out and do something with family. Make sure you schedule time for yourself away from work and the computer. This will take the stress and pressure off of you and relax you hopefully allowing you to come back with the creative juices flowing:)

3.) While sitting at the computer or wherever you write, get up frequently. Walk away for a bit when your brain gets tired or your ideas just seem to run dry. When this happens to me, I get up and do some other house chore or step outside and do a bit of gardening, then come back fresh. I am accomplishing two things. Taking the pressure off to write that scene and clearing my brain while getting something else accompished and off my list at the same time.

4.) Like most of you, I am sure, I involve myself in many other projects other than my own writing. How do I keep myself organized? Spreadsheets. I like to use spread sheets and create specific files for the many different activities to keep them all straight.

For example: over the holidays, as you all know, I hosted a slew of author and editor interviews at my blog. This project kept me extremely busy from September on and the way I kept track of it was on printed calendar sheets. I was able to keep all the visitors fresh in my mind and straight. Each guest had to be posted to the blog by me, so every morning I would get up and post each guest along with all their links, clipart, and bookcovers, etc. It seems like tons of work and it was, but it was a lot of fun and the payoff afforded me lots of additional "Marketing/Promo" traffic to my blog and website.

I hope some of my practices are inspiring and helpful to you. I am looking forward to hearing your comments and ideas on how YOU manage your time. Let's make this an open forum. As we think of ideas to share, let's continue post them. I will certainly keep this conversation going as long as we need, because it is such an important and all inspiring one.

Have a wonderful day!



  1. What a great plan of attack! I just hope that my brain will allow me to do it. I never was very organized, but with all this promo stuff, writing and living on the computer, I need to do something.
    Good advice Dayana, thanks!

  2. Balance! This is my New Years Word. 2009 will be a year where I learn to balance my life better. I look around my messy office, notes here, papers there, and dear lord is that a piece of a candy cane?

    Chaos rules and the loudest noise gets my attention. Most of the time that noise is my kids, but when they aren't home it is my in-box. So in short, my house is messy, my butt (OMG I can't believe I'm saying this here) is one whole size bigger than last year! Ouch... Balance.
    So, I'm in, Dayana. I'm making a point to exercise daily. I'm Not spending countless hours on-line chatting. In fact I've turned off IM until my "to do" list is done for the day. I'm even sitting on an exercise ball as I write this because my bad back needs all the help it can get.
    I like the spread sheet idea. I'm just afraid mine will take up a whole wall. LOL.

    Great blog! Perfect timing.

  3. This is an interesting topic, Dayana. I can agree with Catherine (love the video blog, by the way)because chaos has a way of making the best laid plans go splat. I'm a list maker. Spreadsheets could work for some, but the simple daily list on a bright piece of paper, of course, sets the mood for a quick cross-off! Like all of us, I wear many hats in one day. I try not to stress by making the list too long, or else I angst over not accomplishing all I set out to do. Housework is very low on that list ;)

    Switching gears is something to be considered. We all need a few minutes to make transitions, then refocus energy. Multi-tasking works, but when writing or performing, nothing else can get into my head. It's interesting to figure in personality types. That changes the equation a bit. Does anyone agree? I'm used to flying solo since the kids are all grown. When they come home from work, it's nice to share our day with each other. Although I'm a goal-setter, chaos can be fun when I'm relaxed enough to enjoy it. However, it seems to be more the norm these days!

    When I write, I prefer a very quiet setting where the characters can talk in my head. I give writers with young children a lot of credit. I don't think I could have written a cohesive paragraph when the kids were small.
    Great topic, Dayana.

  4. Gee, everyone must be on the same wavelength. I blogged about Balance over on the Paranormal Romance Writers blog today.

    I'm a list maker. I use post it notes for both everyday life and writing. I like crossing things off. I usually end up with one thing that I never get to but I'm okay with that because I've usually completed 5 other things.

    I've moved to a computer software (AnyTime Organizer) calendar. I can write more information into each activity than in a paper calendar. And you can print out several different views (month, week, day each in multiple formats).

  5. Love the planner idea--I do a daily but a weekly, I think, would give me a better overview. And designating "marketing days" would help to keep me focused on writing the other days. Thanks for the tips!

  6. I used to keep a notebook with a spreadsheet noting what I did writing-wise every day. That got lost when I started writing a novel a month. LOL. Then I had a baby. And things are spreading on my body as well, Catherine. So, I'm exercising at least every other day. My 3-yr old sometimes requires I have a different priority. :(

    As for writing, I do pretty well if I have to drop the child somewhere an hour or so (like for Little Gym class). I just take my Alphasmart and continue on from where I left off on my latest wip. I manage 4pages/hour... I find it's almost impossible for me to calm down and focus at naptime to write. Yes, she still naps. Her father doesn't get home until after 7 every night. We have to keep her up late to visit with him! So, nap helps with that.

    With the other chores of life, I just keep a pile of stuff by the door on the way to the car... And I swing by everything coming and going from kiddo activities. I was like this before baby. But the gasoline crisis last year really forced me to "remember" to get everything accomplished on one trip. That pressure helped me get back in the swing of things since an army of diapers and bottles invaded life.

    IMPORTANT: I LEAVE MY ALPHASMART IN THE CAR. It's like American Express. I never leave home without it.

  7. great blog idea - planning out goals is so important. I also keep a weekly calendar by the computer with big squares so that I can write daily goals and page count during a project.

  8. I am a total list person. I find it rewarding after a day of doing a zillon little, but important, things that I can use the highlighter and cross of each item. Otherwise, you can work in front of the computer the whole day without really comprending how much progress you make.
    Great blog, Shar.

  9. Great blog.

    I am a list person. I prepare a list of todo for the next day every night and keep it next to my computer. I also add important appintment on my computer calender ahead of time and check daily. As I perform the task I draw a line on my todo list or highlight my mitem on the computer. I just took 3 hours fixing my desk and filing papers.

  10. I'm a list maker, too, yet forget to ever read over the list again... Sigh. I don't think time management will ever come easy for me. Oh well. If this business was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?