Monday, January 12, 2015

MAKING & KEEPING THOSE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR AUTHORS


Many people make resolutions for the new year with the intention of keeping them. The most common resolutions in the US include:

  • Spending More Time with Family & Friends
  • Fitting in Fitness
  • Taming the Bulge
  • Quitting Smoking
  • Enjoying Life More
  • Quitting Drinking
  • Getting Out of Debt
  • Learning Something New
  • Helping Others
  • Getting Organized

I’m in for managing my writing time, fitting in fitness, and taming my bulges. While these were made with the best of intentions like most resolutions, the probability of keeping them without some additional steps is low – let’s say in the gutter low. Specifically, define the “real” problem, break it down into do-able and measurable steps toward meeting that resolution, then monitor progress toward achievement. Like most strategies, the initial investment in resources can be significant, but – in the long run – result in a big payoff.

Since this is a writing blog let’s look at managing writing time. First, define the elements of “writing time.” It would be nice to spend hours every day writing stories with no thought of all the tasks that support writing, but it’s just not practical. Besides actual writing time, authors spend time researching content for stories, submitting and editing, maintaining the “desk” (operations & supplies), operating the business of writing/publishing (income/expenditures), marketing the author and books/publishers (webpage, guest blogs, guest spots et al),  improving/supporting craft (personal improvement and supporting other authors as in blogging/interviewing and/or critiquing).

 The first step in managing writing time is to keep track of the total amount of time dedicated to writing activities each day AND what activities were pursued during the “writing time”. This includes amounts of actual writing time, researching time, submitting/editing time, marketing (include time on your blog and reading or participating blogs/groups), and craft activities (self-improvement and supporting other authors). Include your other activities in addition to your writing activities. After establishing a baseline, determine the changes needed in specific areas. (The February Topic)

A personal note: This series (Managing Writing Time) won’t be ME telling others how to improve THEIR time management. With a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in education, I should have realized the need for this “resolution” much sooner. I started the process a couple of months ago when I realized I was using my writing time VERY ineffectively, but I don’t have all the answers. The journey is mine also, as I examine my author’s life and future. I would love some company over the next few months or so.

SO, start your calendar this month (a full 2015 calendar with a few American dates is available by clicking HERE or visiting the Freebie Page on my webpage at ritabay.com). Next month, we’ll examine the results and consider SPECIFIC changes in each area.  In later posts, we can share time-savers that help maximize our writing time. ‘Til next month,





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4 comments:

Liz Fountain said...

Off to download the calendar!

Liz

Gabriella Austen said...

The gauntlet is thrown and caught. Time for us all to tighten up our writing schedules. Nice work.

Big Mike said...

That is one heck of a list. Of all you have there I encourage you stop smoking. I did a year too late, got cancer, and suffered beyond belief. Do it for yourself, your hubby and children. No one should endure that eleven months of hell. Okay, I'll come down from my soapbox.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Rita Bay said...

Hi Mike,

Those are the most often made. My guilt is not enough exercise, a few bulges that need to go, and a problem with time management. I agree about smoking being the worst of all. The cost is just too great.