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Conversations: Writers Resources - Productivity and Time Management


The world is a crazy place for authors. With a growing number of opportunities to self publish, we need more resources to help improve and promote our craft. Today I present to you some of my favorite resources, some free and others paid that can help improve where you're going and how you get there as a writer. And... if you are there, make your experience as an author, serial or otherwise, even better!


In the first entry of this series of Conversations, we're discussing time management, goal setting and productivity.


And boy do I have a lot to say on this one! I wasn't always the queen of time keeping.


Time management and planning is one of the hardest topics I have ever had to contend with.


I am the Queen of trying to do it all! At every moment of every day, I was switching tasks back and forth in an attempt to make some sort of dent in my to-do list. As an adult with ADHD who had a mountain of a list to contend with, I struggled.

Okay. I didn't just struggle.


I failed.


I failed a lot! Constantly and for the longest time, failure was my only consistency.


I got bits and pieces of nothing and everything done all at the same time. Books were left half written when another project would rear it's inspiration. I always lacked the willpower and staying power to put the new project aside and ultimately it too would be passed up for something new.


I wish I could tell you that all I had to do was press an easy button and everything fell into place. That in doing so I suddenly had the time management skills of a pro. But I didn't. While it may not work for you, what worked for me was the HB90 Method by Sarra Cannon. This program has a quarterly Boot Camp that not only help me prioritize my goals and weed my way through my task list, but make sure that I was focussing in on what mattered most.


For me, I have three main goals:

First: Write:

  • Draft and write at least 3 episodes of Exile each week

  • Submit at least three episodes to my Developmental editor, complete necessary revisions and send these edits to my line editor.

Edit/Revise:

  • Edit and revise Exile into an ongoing serial, completing 3 -episodes a week.

  • Meet Developmental Editing Deadlines and not take on more clients than I can dedicate my time to. This means only maintaining 1 - 3 authors at a time and scheduling other authors out in the future to ensure they get the attention and quality work they deserve

Social Media and Blogging:

  • IG: Schedule at least 1 Jeep Nation image a week

  • IG: Schedule at least 2 abandoned locations

  • Blog full reviews of serial fiction and a first look weekly

  • Blog Kindle and Coffee Conversations to discuss serial fiction and resources at least twice a month

  • Post one fun adventure blog every month

Breaking things down to these goals means that I know how I need to balance my time to ensure these tasks are being completed without a fifteen hour a day writing schedule.


Learning to break these tasks down was important! If taking a course like this one isn't something in the cards for you right now, there are other options online. YouTube is full of planners who block out their week and don't necessarily use a KanBan Board and Post-It method.


To be honest, once I had the planning part of HB90 under my thumb I started using my planner differently. I'm not just going to explain what worked for me, I'm going to show you using a page from my own planner.

Hopefully this isn't too hard to see!


What I have on the left is the top half of this week out of my Harry Potter Conquest Journal. And because I know I will be asked, the majority of the planner stickers came from Procrasti Planner on Etsy. Dren, the store owner does an HB90 collaboration, which explains why a lot of these stickers are on point.


The top box is always writing and drafting. By writing, I mean filling in the details that aren't plot points and by drafting I mean that I'm listing plot points that I plan to use in a single episode. As I'm normally 3 - 5 weeks ahead of schedule in writing, these are soft deadlines, but great goals to meet during the week.


The middle box is any work that I am editing or revising. Under normal circumstances, I have 8 - 10 consecutive days blocked out where I am editing for a client. These are hard deadlines. You'll see in that for the three days on my planner, I'm not reading a client's work (which will be labeled reading), I'm actively editing or re-editing in a second or third pass. You'll also see that I'm revising pacing episodes of Exile which was originally an epic length novel that topped off at 129k words. Pacing means I'm looking for chunks to separate out into episodes and then revising is for making them fit into episodic models.


My bottom box is for social media postings, including blogs. Pretty self explanatory here. By setting myself up with three or four tasks that I know I can feasibly complete with time to spare, I know I'm on the right track. But this only works in theory if I'm on task and focused... that I'm not distracted by Etsy, TikTok or sucked into crazy conversations on social media.


I use stickers to help keep things visually appealing for me because I'm a visual learner and worker. That and this makes planning things out a bit more fun than I thought. I also may or may not have a small tote full of planner stickers. I may need to post my next sticker haul on Instagram! I have one coming this week and would love to share my new ones that just came in as well.


Uhh.. please don't tell Mister Wizard that there are more...


So... now that you know how I block my time... how do I stick to it? It took a bit to figure this one out...

When I first stumbled onto productivity sprints, I didn't actually know what they were. All I knew was that authortubers and Twitch Streamers were writing with their viewers for intervals of various length and then taking breaks to discuss progress and cheer each other on.


These sprints, with other people holding me accountable, were life changing. Not only did I complete NaNoWriMo after a six year dry spell of not making it, I blew my goal out of the water. I closed the month with 147k words and a draft of the first two books in the Under the White Moon Paranormal Mysteries series. Of which, you may be familiar with Exile which is being released episodically. Not only did I nearly write 150k words in 30 days, I completed my first ever MilWordy on October 14 with 18 days to spare.


I later learned that this technique of focused working with a break is called the Pomodor Method. Academically it looks a little like this:

I could go into the psychology of why this works but I don't think I should have to say more than television. That's right. Television. Our brains are preprogrammed for intervals of focus and rest thanks to years of TV watching.


You may find that different intervals work for you, or that like me you need a live cheer leader to captain your writing ship. In that case there are so many resources out there. One of my favorites is the AuthorTube Productivity Playlist which is posted by Devin Cutting.. Devin posts daily lists of who is live and when. They even manage to catch pop up streamers who don't post their scheduled streams within a few minutes of them going live.


While I tend to drop into streams Monday Morning streams with Kayla Knue. Thursday sprints with Blue Coutell, almost daily in Mal's Writing Pals with Malorie Cooper.. All three of these streams are hosted on YouTube. I also drop into Kate Cavannaugh's stream on Twitch.


I have hosted a few streams myself, but with our mobile house on wheels we don't have a connection hat is always strong enough to host. Someday, I'll have an amazing connection and host writing sprints from the campfire, because I think that would be amazing!


We'll be continuing our resources conversation next week in which I'll be tackling such wonderful topics as Honing Your Craft and How to Learn About Publishing. Whether self publishing or traditional publishing is in your plan, I've got the downlow on some amazing resources that can help you succeed!


Let me know if you'd like to see 'Plan With Me' type videos in the future.


Until next time!














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