Managing the complete and utter insanity of the writer’s life is a skill in and of itself. How do I keep straight the number of projects I have in editing, that I’m writing, in production, plus marketing my backlist. Because it never stops, neither can we. Kind of like the laundry, which I’m totally behind on.
One of the things I liked the most about being an accountant was the sense of accomplishment that came with finishing something. Column A = Column B and you’re done. Print and move onto the next thing. My life no longer works this way. Nothing about it works that way actually. Between kids, pets, home, writing, and marketing for myself and my clients, I’m always spinning in circles. As soon as I finish, it’s time to start again.
I keep myself organized in a few different ways:
- Dropbox: Dropbox is my greatest tool. Everything I do backs up there. This way, I never lose anything, I can share anything anywhere, and no matter where I am I can get to my files. I keep my promo art, my covers, my writing, my to-do lists, everything there. It’s important to have an organisational structure for your documents though or it’ll become a hot mess very fast. I probably go a little overboard, because I have folders inside folders inside folders, BUT it means I rarely lose anything and I always know where to find what I need.
If you don’t have Dropbox you can sign up here: https://db.tt/6xKJPIsv Using this link will get me more storage space so it’s kind of like an affiliate code, but I can ALWAYS use more space!
- Google Calendars: I have a color coded calendar for my family. Colors indicate for Kids, Me, My husband, or whole family events. I have another separate calendar for Pav items. On here I keep writing deadlines, release dates, online events, in person events, WIP benchmark goals, anything and everything I can think of and then I set it up so they send me reminders. This way, even if I forget what I need to be working on, I get an email to shove me back on track!
- Paper and Pencil: Every time I sit down at my desk, I take a blank piece of paper and write down my goals for the day. Not a long term big idea to-do list (I have that too) but a simple list of 4 or 5 things I want to accomplish immediately. If I finish those things, I refer to my big master list and add my next 4 or 5 things. Sometimes I only get 2 things done, but by having a short actionable list, I keep from getting overwhelmed.
- Alarm Clock: I have alerts on my phone for when I should take my medication, when I need to pick up the kids from school, when to wake up, when to eat lunch (because I’ll totally forget). I use the alarm to remember to stay on track. If I have client work to do, I set it for 2 hours so I have time set aside to do that, and then write. If I have house stuff, I use it to do 45 minute sprints of writing work and then it reminds me to stop and go flip the laundry (crap, I need to do that, hold on).
- Evernote: I use the Evernote plugin when I research online. Keeping folders for each project. This allows me to keep track of my references and easily snip and copy important information in one place for all my notes. This has been really useful these days as I’ve been writing Sci-Fi because I’m researching all kinds of discordant topics. Now I can keep them organized and easy to look back at when I need them.
- Scrivener: Scrivener has saved me countless hours in the writing process. It has both made plotting my work simpler and more visual, but it’s also made the necessary reshuffling of chapters and scenes so easy. In Word with one big document, I’d get lost, never sure where in time I was as I edited. Is this scene before or after that big thing that happened? With Scrivener I never lose track of the big picture. This is especially useful in books with multiple POVs because I can color code it and keep track of which story line I’m working on when and how they interact.
- Text to Speech Ap on my Phone: There are a lot of these, some better than others. I have an android phone and honestly, the best one I’ve found is the one that comes with the email ap. By using this, no matter where I am, if I think of a snippet of dialogue or a great idea I can quickly record it and email it to myself. I’ve written entire chapters this way, sitting in my car, waiting for my kids to get out of school.
About the Author
She now lives with her husband, two daughters, and one very large, very terrible dog. She keeps busy working with fabulous authors as the Director of Marketing at Novel Publicity, and by penning her next novel.