1. Know WHY you are Procrastinating.
- No structure, system, or plan in place to manage the task
- The task is unenjoyable
- Fear of failure.
- Lack of self-confidence
- Lack of skills, knowledge or ability
- Technology issues
Is planning an essential part of writing? Is it important to have writing plan?
The short answer to both is YES. This post isn’t a debate over being a planner or pantser. It isn’t about having a book outline. Well, not exactly. I am talking about having a plan for your writing allows you to manage the time that you have to write.
In my early dreams of being a writer, I imagined pounding out a novel on my typewriter. Somehow, that novel would flow out of me in perfect order. The plot, characters, and setting would entwine magically. It took years of novel writing for me to figure out that book doesn’t work that way for most writers or me.
Every step of writing requires time and planning. Sure, there are times that creativity will strike and things will flow like magic. If you wait for inspiration every time, you write it will take you a long time to finish something, if ever.
What is a writing plan? I am so glad you asked. No question is ever to basic.
At its core, a writing plan is a vision with goals, deadlines, and action steps to achieve the goal. It can be as basic or complex as you need it to be. Here are some examples of what a basic writing plan might look like in the first stages of planning:
Example A: A dog groomer wants to supplement her income by writing a Dog Grooming book. Vision: Write and Sell books. Goal: Write, and self-publish two books about dog grooming this year. Deadline: Book one written and published in 6 months. Book two written and published in 1 year. Action Steps: Research, write, publish, & market each book. The action steps break down into monthly, weekly, and daily steps needed to finish the goal.
Example B: Fiction writer of historical romance has written the first draft of the first book in a series. Vision: Wants to improve the book and seek traditional publication. Action Steps: Find critique partners by X date. Begin self-editing and revision process and complete the book by X date. Research markets, agents and begin the query process.
Your writing plan will be unique to you, your market, and your vision. The foundation of your plan is your goals and vision. The action steps are the bricks that transform your goals into being. Don’t let the idea of planning or the things you must do to achieve your goal get in your way. Make a plan and move forward.
Your goals, vision, and plan should grow and change with you. A writing plan is never set in stone but flexible at its core. One way to keep it that way is to always plan for more time for each task than you think is needed. This is your safety net when unexpected challenges arise.
Here are five reasons that every writer needs to have a writing plan.
Do you want to publish a book? Do you want a successful blog? Do you want to share your writing with the world? If so, the first step to make writing a priority your life. How? By making time to write. Taking the time to plan recognizes how valuable time is.
You give value to your writing by making time for it in your life. Planning starts with figuring out how much time you have to devote to writing. Next, you need to decide how to use that time to get the most done.
Do you want to get more done in less time? Do more with less effort? Planning is the key to that. I spent hours writing a fantastic chapter only to discover that I had to cut it because it did not fit my book. It was painful. It wasn’t the best use of my time. If had taken time to plan I would have noticed it before I wrote it. Allow yourself to work smarter by working out as many of the details as you can before you start to write.
Planning doesn’t mean filling your calendar full of tasks. It isn’t just checking things off your to-do list. Effective planning shows you what NOT to do. You can remove or postpone tasks that do not line up with your goals and priorities.
If your primary goal is to have a profitable cruise blog you shouldn’t spend 6 hours researching fashion trends. Unless those are fashion trends are cruise related.
There are tons of ways that planning helps build good writing habits. I will highlight a few. Planning your writing week and sticking to it builds writing stamina. You are spending more time writing and in turn improving your writing skills. Planning your nonwriting life effectively will open doors to extra time to write.
As you work your plan, you will discover that you can’t always stick to the plan. That is okay. Learning when and how to be flexible with your plan is essential.
If the thought of planning stifles your idea of creativity, it helps to think of planning as a map. Would you leave for vacation without a map, plan, or a GPS? I hope not! Take the same approach to your writing. Have a writing plan for when, what, and where you are going to write before you get started is ideal. You will get to your destination quicker and with less energy.
The time you spend preparing will make your writing journey less bumpy and more enjoyable.
There you have it. Five reasons to make a plan today. As you work your plan you will discover that you can’t always stick to it. That is okay. Learning when and how to be flexible with is essential.
Did you miss part of my time management series? You can find the entire series on youtube. Go, check it out and subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss a beat
As always, thanks for watching, reading, following, subscribing and supporting me as a writer as I strive to help you grow in your writing journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions.
Do you want to know what my book is about? More importantly, do you want to know how this book will transform the way you look at writing prompts? If you are ready for prompt based solutions to your writing problems and you want to create content for your fiction book, you are in the right place.
I hope you enjoy this super short book teaser. I still have a few advanced reader copies of the ebook version if you would like a free copy in exchange for your honest review. The free ARC’s are limited so contact me asap if you are interested.
I am excited to say that this book is now available for pre-order in ebook format. The paperback version is in the works and both will release February 26th, 2018. All preorders will receive a to be announced bonus and will be entered into a drawing. Prizes & the TBA bonus will be announced live on Facebook on Thursday. All the details will be posted here on Friday.
As always, thank you for your support and taking time to read my blog. It means the world to me.
You Matter. Words Matter. Your Words Matter.
Today is the day. I am revealing my cover for my new book, Writing Prompts Decoded: Creative Prompt Ideas To Create Content For Your Fiction Book. Wow. That title is a mouthful isn’t it? I will tell you a bit about why and how I choose that title later in the post. First, I gotta tell you just a bit about this book and how it came to be.
Way back in October of 2017 I created a month-long writing and art prompt challenge on social media. I had a blast creating the prompts. It was also amazing to witness artists and writers using the prompts, enjoying them, and being creative.
To boil it down, I discovered 2 things. I love creating writing prompts. I love helping other people be creative. I found a problem. Because, when things are going great that is what I do. Find problems.
I was in the middle of editing my fantasy novel, Everside, for the millionth time and also in the planning stages of another fiction book. I wanted prompts that I could use while writing and planning my books. I had so much going on that I felt spending time doing unrelated prompts was not going to help me get my books finished. I felt guilty that I wasn’t making more progress. I went looking for prompts that I could use alongside my books.
However, most prompts that I found were geared toward writing new stories or coming up with new ideas for new stories.
The last thing I needed was to start a new story.
I began tweaking the prompts I found and creating new ones that I could use alongside my story to make my book, writing, and ideas better while still enjoying the fun of using prompts.
Then I had another thought. How cool would it be to have writing prompts that could actually generate content that would go in my book? I began creating and adding prompts like that to my collection.
In November, you know NANOWRIMO, I was supposed to be completing the first draft of my steampunk story that was born from a writing prompt I found online 2 years ago. “s another example of who I love prompts! I wrote about 30000 when I switched gears and started writing my prompt book. So, no. I didn’t win Nanowrimo; I still haven’t finished my steampunk novel. I also don’t recommend switching from one book to another before you finish one but, hey, this is real life. It happens.
I have kept you in suspense long enough. Here is my book cover.
Do you like it? I certainly hope so. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the book and the cover.
Okay, so there was no blood. If there had been blood, I would have passed out, because I am awesome like that. It was a painful but amazing process. I loved creating the prompts and the cover. I even loved the editing process. Most of the time. Formatting the book and creating a paperback cover was a nightmare.
This is not the first book I have written. I have 7 completed novels that I have written in my life. None of them are published. Most of them won’t be because I lost them. Everside and my steampunk novel will be published at some point.
Did you know I was 11 when I wrote my first chapter book? It was called, Spirit of the Wind. It was about a girl and wild horse. I was 11. Everything was about books, horses, and chocolate back then.
On Friday, I will have another video and post for you in my Time Management for writers series. If you missed out Check Out The Videos Here.
I do strive to bring you valuable content. I hope you enjoyed this post, viewing my cover, learning about my books, and getting to know me a bit more. My book will be available for preorders this week and will release on Feb 26th.
If you are like me you have spent most of your life thinking that multitasking was a good thing. I admit I have boasted about my ability to multitask on several occasions. So imagine my shock when my time management research informed me I was wrong. I had to double check my facts because no one likes to be wrong.
So, should you stop multitasking? I was reluctant to give up my multitasking but the following reasons convinced me. Number 4 was the dealbreaker.
What you are actually doing is task switching. Shifting your focus from one task to another. The big issue is that you are never fully focused on doing one thing so both tasks suffer. Some tasks like eating while walking are less taxing on the mind than others, like texting while driving. Research results show that the brain splits in half. This causes us to forget details and make three times more mistakes when given two simultaneous tasks.
2. Multitasking doesn’t help you get more done in less time.
Researchers at Stanford determined that doing more than one task at a time is less productive than focusing on one task at a time.
Our brains are not wired to focus on more than one task at a time. Working on a single task means both sides of the prefrontal cortex are working together in harmony. Adding another task forces the left and right sides of the brain to work independently. Brain science also reveals that the brain can’t effectively handle more than two complex, related activities at once. Each time you more than one task, the brain automatically discards one task.
Studies in London have shown that multitaskers had a reduction in their IQ scores while multitasking. Some of the multitasking men in the study had their IQ drop 15 points. That left them with the average IQ of an 8-year-old child.
5. You are probably not as good as it as you think.
More studies confirm that most people think they are effective multitaskers, The reality is that less than 2% of people actually have the ability to multitask successfully. The next time you catch yourself multitasking assess your focus on both tasks. Are you really giving equal attention to both or is one on the back burner? Then check the quality of your outcome for both tasks. Did you retain information from both tasks? Where both error free? If you had focused on one task would it be done at a higher quality and in less time?
So what does this mean for you as a writer? It is time to consider the negative impacts multitasking may have on your writing and implement some positive changes. Here are a few guidelines to get you started on your road to multitasking recovery.
Here are some links to studies, research, and articles that I gleaned information from to support this blog post.
According to PsychologyToday burnout is a chronic state of stress that can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.
I don’t know about you, but I have experienced burnout in the past and it is not something I care to repeat. The good news is that burnout doesn’t happen overnight and there are many warning signs and symptoms that will let you know if you are in danger of burnout. Check out THIS helpful article about the warning signs.
Effectively managing your time is a great way to avoid burnout. I am going to share my personal methods for avoiding writer burn out because I don’t want any writer to reach that state of chronic stress. As a writer who suffers from anxiety and depression I have had to learn to manage my stress levels and a bit part of that is time management which includes self-care.
This may seem basic but knowing who you are as a person and a writer is a key to understanding what you need to do to avoid burnout. I am an introvert. This means that while I love people, being around them drains me of energy. When I am drained of energy I become irritable, snappy. and unproductive.
I require time alone to recharge after being around people. Knowing this about myself allows me to make choices that won’t stress me out. If I have a writers group meeting, a conference to attend, or even a night out that includes socializing I know that I need to schedule in some quiet time to recharge the next day.
Here are a few tips to help you get to know yourself:
One sure fire way to burnout is to say yes to every opportunity, person, and every idea that comes your way. I know this because I tend to be a people pleaser who is naturally inclined to (falsely) believe that I am the only one capable of doing stuff. Learning to say NO changed my life. I still struggle with it at times. Know that NO is okay and you don’t owe everyone an explanation. Say yes to only the BEST things. Saying yes to the best things is something that I learned from this impactful Christian book. I have provided a link below if you are interested in learning more about it.
Tips & Tricks For Embracing Your Right To Say No
Make time for yourself during your writing. Writing is a creative process. It is important to remember that as you write you are draining your creative well. Take time refill it during the day. Schedule short breaks in your writing time. Use the breaks to recharge or relax. I keep a list of small simple things I enjoy doing and sprinkle them in throughout my writing work day.
I might spend 5 minutes creating a drawing, organizing a drawer, reading a chapter of a book or watching a short video. Sometimes I spend my five-minute break exercising, sitting on the patio with a glass of tea, or getting ideas on Pinterest. Find what works for you.
Tips for Guarding your time
Writing is hard work and it requires a lot of time, effort, and discipline. To avoid burnout you need to realize that as a truth and plan for time off. My first year of treating my writing as a career was a success in many ways but by the end of it I was bordering on burnout. I was always working. In the morning as I took the kids to school I was thinking about what I would write. Then I was writing, filming videos, and building my author platform during the day. At night I would write blog posts, read writing reference books, write and think about writing. The weekends were more of the same.
Now, you would think that meant I got a lot done. But too much work led to working ineffectively. So, this year I have made it my goal to write smarter not harder. This includes not working on the days my kids have off school and planning for days off. I am getting more done and working less. I am also celebrating my accomplishments. Don’t cheat yourself out of your accomplishments by jumping right into the next project. Treat yourself and celebrate the large and small victories.
How To Celebrate:
This tip is specifically geared toward your social media presence. Most writers are aware that having an author platform and being present on social media is a bit part of book marketing. But, trying to be on every form of social media and trying to reach ALL THE PEOPLE is only going to lead to burnout.
Instead of trying to do it all, pick one or two areas of social media and focus on making real connections in them. Find out where your target readers are and focus your time there. Don’t just post everything everywhere and hope for the best. Be strategic. Use tools like HootSuite to manage your social media. Give yourself permission to take a social media break.
Tips & Tricks for Managing Social Media & Author Platform
I hope that you have found these 30 tips and tricks helpful. As always I am here to connect with you if you have any questions or comments feel free to email me or reach out on social media.
You Matter. Words Matter. And your words matter.
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase from the link I receive an itty bitty commission at no cost to you. I only promote products I find value in and feel you might find valuable as well.
Are you making the most of your time? Many writers find themselves juggling writing, another job or career, a family and other obligations. This can make it very challenging to find time to write consistently. Properly managing your time will make you a better writer because you will have more time to write and improve your skills.
Today I am going to be sharing 7 time management mistakes that I see writers make on a regular basis. Many of them are mistakes that I have made in the past. I love to save other people from making my mistakes by sharing what I learned.
#1. Failure to Plan
The biggest mistake a writer can make is not to have a written plan that includes written goals. This includes your writing plan as well a plan for your life in general. Planning is essential to finishing a book, being a consistent blogger or successful freelancer. Sure, you can finish a book by winging it but it will probably take a lot more time and effort.
#2. Failure to prioritize
If you want to be a writer it is important to make it a priority. To do that successfully you need to make time to write. Prioritize your writing (and life) tasks by focusing on tasks that directly relate to making progress. Aspiring writers often claim they don’t have time to write but the bottom line is that we make time for the things that matter to us. Determine your priorities and prioritize your tasks.
#3 Failure to use a to-do list correctly
Having a to-do list is am an important part of planning. Not only do some writers skip the list altogether, those who do use a to list aren’t using it correctly. Filling up a list with tasks to check off is a waste of time if those tasks are not directly related to making progress on your writing goals. I recommend keeping your daily to list limited to 6 priority tasks. My goal is always to complete 3 of those 6 tasks. Then if time allows I will work on the next 3 or work from a list of lesser important tasks.
I feel like superwoman when I multitask. The problem is that multitasking isn’t an effective way to manage our time or check of the important things from our to-do list. Focusing on one task at a time is a better use of time. I will have an entire blog post and video dedicated to multitasking later in February. So, make sure you are following my blog and subscribed to my YouTube Channel so you don’t miss out.
#5 Working Non-Stop AKA Not Setting Business Hours For Writing
The flip side of procrastinating is working non-stop. I made this mistake when I switched my writing from hobby mode to career mode. Working constantly, without taking breaks and giving yourself permission to rest guarantees you will reach a point of burn out. Self-care, rewards, and scheduling your personal and family priorities before work will help achieve the balance needed.
#6 Mixing Research with Writing Time
Stopping in the middle of a writing about a car accident to research how a car accident looks, feels and sounds seems like a great idea at the time. I mean, you need to know what you are writing about, right? The problem is that when we stop writing, outlining or editing to research we risk losing the flow of our writing. We risk falling into to the rabbit hole that is the internet. Research is important but doing it at the right time is just as important when it comes to managing our time.
Putting off a must do task always has an impact on our time. Our writing can come to a complete standstill when we procrastinate. I will have an entire blog post and video dedicated to why we procrastinate as well as tips to stop procrastinating.
The good news is that over the next four weeks I will be tackling all of these time management issues in a series of blog posts and videos. I did a lot of research regarding time management last year when I discovered I wasn’t using my time as wisely as I could. Then I implemented time management strategies and techniques in my own life. After experimenting and tweaking my process, I will say I that time management has allowed me to write more, write better, and still have a balanced life that includes my art hobby, my reading habit, spending time with family and friends, and managing my home.