In the spirit of “back to school” season and getting organized, Lindsay Emory and Alexandra Haughton set up this amazing blog hop for authors to share a little glimpse into how they organize their writing life. It’s so fun to peek at other people’s desks and planners and pens (authors have opinions about their pens, folks). Here’s a little behind the scenes look at my process.
I use a paper planner to organize all my writing things. I keep one giant running list of all the things in the back of the planner. Seriously, this is every possible thing I ever think might be a good idea – from things to promote my work to ideas for blog posts and novels. I read over the giant list once a week. Then on the page for an individual week I list a few of those items along with ongoing/repeating tasks (i.e. write blog post), and things I’ve committed to for the week (i.e. special posts for blog hops). I prioritize this weekly list, 1 being the most important and 3 the least.
So yes, I make lists and prioritize them, just like every single article ever written about time management best practices says you should. But that’s where I stop following the “rules”. I don’t set word count goals, nor do I track my daily words written, nor do I write every day. *gasp* My goal is to write and publish a book a year. I like to write in larger chunks of time, and the system that works best is to take one evening or a weekend day and write for a number of hours. My full-time non-writing job is in academia and I am lucky enough to get a large chunk of time off for winter break. Last year I wrote thousands and thousands of words on those blissful days off. I’m basically a binge writer.
Which is why I love Scrivener. I use the notes function to keep track of my timeline and little details about characters, which allows for consistency when I drop back into a story I’ve stepped away from for a while. Plus, I love the compose feature that blocks out everything else on your screen. It’s like sheet of paper scrolling out of a typewriter, except digital.
The other thing that I think it is important for me to address when talking about “getting it together” is the fact that, honestly– it’s really never all together. To work 40+ hours a week, maintain a weekly blog and newsletter, write novels and various and asunder other fun essays for publication, co-lead First Draught, be an active member of my local writer’s organization, exercise, eat good healthy home-cooked meals, and not let my connections with family and friends totally derail I have to let some things go.
Laundry gets done in my house when there are no clean towels left and we’re down to our last pair of socks. The dishes often sit undone. A couple of years ago we pulled the plug on the cable we never watched and hired a cleaner with the extra cash (best decision ever, by the way.) So in all honesty for me, getting it together, really means letting a lot of it go.
Check out all the other fun posts on the hop, links can be found here and here. There’s also an awesome giveaway going on, so be sure to check out the details on that below. And (as if that weren’t enough), feel free to sign up for my weekly newsletter in that little orange box below this post and I’ll send you a free book.
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