Writing a book is a work of love. However, things get in the way, i.e. work. We all dream of the day when we can make enough money to survive by writing. Until that day comes (if it ever does), we need to keep our full time jobs. We wrote and published our first five books working full time.
When do you write? This is a common question people always ask us. And it all comes down to time management and what you can do working around your family and work schedule.
Both of us use to go into work 1-2 hours early each morning just to write. We brought our lap tops and clicked away until it was time to start work. Egg timers are great for working an hour at a time. Don’t forget to bring your breakfast. Some people prefer to stay later at work which may work better for you. Be sure to plan at least an hour or more at a time.
Look for gaps in your day, including breaks, waiting for the mail, or meetings. Basically anytime you may have a few minutes, i.e., typing, or writing a note for characterization, dialogue or sub plot in a writing notebook, on a napkin/piece or scrap paper/paper towel and pocket it. You never know when inspiration will hit. Nothing is more frustrating than coming up with a fantastic idea, telling yourself you’ll remember and when it comes down to writing…forgetting.
Keep up the good writing.
Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels, and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and lives in Southern California.
I’m a planner and an organizer. I like to know what to expect, how much time it will take, how much it will cost or earn me, and what I’ll need in order to get it done. I’m also big on reminders – remember to water the plants, take my vitamins, leave for the meeting on time.
In the past, I’ve juggled all sorts of ways to keep track of all the aspects of my life, and it usually involved several different methods at once. But last year I heard about author Susan May Warren‘s My Brilliant Writing Planner, so I ordered one. I love this planner! I can put everything from my whole life in one place – writing, appointments, To Do’s (including remembering when to water my plants 😂), tracking money spent and earned in writing, and personal stuff like a place to jot down weekly menus and track my weight and water consumption. Plus the 2020 one has STICKERS!! Need I say more?!
The 2020 planner is $20 off through this weekend as a NaNoWriMo special. If you’re reading this later, check it out anyway. There is so much more to the planner I haven’t mentioned. You may find it’s just about perfect for you.
I interviewed Susie May about planning and organizing for the new year on my podcast a few weeks ago. Look for the October 17, 2019 episode, #159, on your favorite podcast app, or listen to it on my website, or watch the video interview on YouTube. Good luck with your planning! 😀
Do you feel like you can never find the time to write? Have you been chipping away at the same manuscript forever without much progress? Do you need a system that can get you to typing “The End” with success and satisfaction? Wrangling a fickle muse to meet a deadline—or just to get rid of that looming blank page—is a life-skill for everyone who wants to get serious about their writing. Allie Pleiter, the bestselling author of over 40 books, shares the nuts and bolts of how to manage your muse. You’ll learn how to set goals and deadlines that reflect your personal writing style and speed–and smart ways to get faster when you need it. Join the thousands of other writers who have mastered the writing process using Pleiter’s popular Chunky Method. With a useful mix of the practical, the inspirational, and the nitty-gritty real life of it all, this workshop gives aspiring or working writers the tools they need to make the magic happen.
“Implementing the Chunky Method has charged my writing with confidence, quadrupled my productivity, organized my days, and enhanced my enjoyment of life. Allie is my hero!” — Linda H.
“I was overwhelmed, but now I feel fantastic” — Michelle S.
“Before The Chunky Method, I spent years worrying about how I was ever going to finish my novel, let alone a series of stories, with a busy schedule and a demanding day job. I feel far more confident now, and the method works – it’s my custom method, after all. I’ve already written far more than before the Chunky Method.” — M.V.
“I feel empowered. I feel much more in control of the process now. I feel good that I have a plan and schedule that work with me. I feel like I am going to achieve success, and in a timely manner instead of a scattered one. Thank you again for some of the most valuable, and applicable information I’ve received in over fourteen years of conferences and online classes.” — Becki
Award-winning bestselling author Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction working on as many as four books at a time. She teaches creative people how to be consistently, dependably productive while teaching high-performing professionals how to create the vital content today’s marketing requires. The author of over 40 published titles, Allie has spent a decade in the publishing profession with over 1.4 million books sold worldwide. In addition to her own writing career, Allie maintains an active writing productivity coaching practice and speaks regularly on faith, the creative process, women’s issues, and her very favorite topic—The Chunky Method of time management.
This is a 4-week online course that uses email and Groups.io. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person.To sign up or for more information, go to the class page at the OCC/RWA website: http://occrwa.org/classes/online-class-one/
OCC/RWA Online Class Coordinator
In July 2018, I interviewed bestselling author Susan May Warren on my podcast, WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast, about her latest romantic suspense novel. We had a great time talking about all things writing, but we had to cut things short because there was so much to talk about! I brought her back in August to focus just on her classes and writing retreats and other tools for authors.
One of those tools has had me salivating ever since she told me about it. Susie May has been creating and tweaking and recreating and tweaking some more a personal planner to organize not just her writing life, but her whole entire life. And she’s offering it for sale to other writers. She calls it My Brilliant Writing Planner, and it’s available for pre-order now with a $20 discount through October 31, 2018.
Now, I have no skin in this game – Susie May doesn’t even know I’m writing this article yet – but you might know that I’ve been teaching time management courses for over ten years and I love a great planner! I’ve been using the ARC system from Staples for the last 21 months, and I really like it. But I have my time/calendar/planner in one ARC notebook, my writing notes in another ARC notebook, and other notes in other notebooks. Susie May’s planner puts a lot of that all together in one place.
Why? Well, when aren’t we thinking about our story and needing to jot down a few notes? Or in the middle of brainstorming and realizing we forgot to make some kind of plan for dinner? Or waking up in the morning trying to remember our new First Five (if you’ve taken my course) or other healthy habits we’re trying to incorporate into each day? Or wanting to capture a motivational or inspirational line to think about more later?
My Brilliant Writing Planner puts all of this together in one place!
Yes, that means it’s big. At 490 pages, this is not a little notebook you can shove in your purse. And maybe just the thought of having everything together in one place is both a relief and…a bit daunting. For me, my question before I buy almost anything is, “Am I really going to use it and get my money’s worth?” And I had to ask that question about this planner, no matter that a part of my brain really wanted it. (Magic bullet thinking, anyone?)
Looking over the great website for the planner, seeing examples of all the pages on the Samples page, and checking out the pages that Susie May had filled in for her life – that all helped me see how helpful this could be for me. But the real kicker was when I read that Susie May also created a course for this (over 7 hours of planning help!), showing us how she uses the Planner to “live with joy and get it all done.” The course is free when you pre-order the planner!
In one of the podcast interviews, she and I talked about how to schedule a writing life to be productive, but still enjoy our friends and family and a good night’s sleep. If I’ve learned anything from my recent collision with burnout, it’s that we can plan and time-manage ourselves into a breakdown. What I’m seeing as I look over the sample pages and read the text on the website is a tool created by a writer who knows the importance of prioritizing and saying no.
We can’t do everything. But a good planner – this one, or something else that works better for you – can help us to keep our priorities front-of-mind. For me, I think that’s a key to having both a productive work life and a peaceful personal life.
I bought the planner five minutes after I got the email announcing that it was available. 😀 And I’ve already started the course. I figure it might help me finish out 2018 with a bang, but mostly I want 2019 to be my best year ever – and that’s going to require both planning (duh) and some hard questions. What will I continue doing in the next year, and what will I give up for now? What are my greatest strengths and how can I use them better next year? How can I hold myself accountable for the new healthy habits I’m developing?
For me, My Brilliant Writing Planner and the course that goes with it are going to be my most important tools, so I wanted to make sure you knew about them, too. Bring on 2019! 😀
Since it’s early July, I’ve been thinking about and talking about and podcasting about hitting the Restart button. How have we been getting on with the writing goals we decided upon six months ago?
I know that I am way off from what I expected. Moving to another country will do that to you! So I’ve been thinking about how I want to adjust the year to finish with strong, achievable goals. I did a live broadcast presentation for the Yosemite Romance Writers in May, and decided to use the recording for a mid-year podcast. Here’s the link to the audio, and here’s the embedded video.
Right after I posted that episode, it occurred to me that it might be a good time for a personal goal review as well. When I started thinking about that for myself, I realized I had some changes to make in my life if I wanted to accomplish my new/biggest goal for the year – recovering from burnout.
Here is the link to the audio. And here is the video with my self-discovery. 😉
I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people about the episodes where I’ve talked about my firsthand experience with burnout. (Here’s the embarrassingly honest look at my journey in audio and in video.) Now that I see how much it affects other people as well, I’m going to bring on more guests to talk about how to recover and how to avoid it. I hope my willingness to talk about both burnout and restarting helps others – you included! 😀
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