Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Write Smarter, NOT Harder!

If you are anything like me, writing does not stop at writing your book. You tweet, write blogs, status updates on Google + or Facebook, responding to blog comments, guest blog. . .the list goes on and on. But how present are you? I mean really present?

Yes! Sometimes we are just DEAD TIRED!!! (no pun intended because I am a mystery writer!)

Anyways. . .the more time you are on-line, the less time you live in the real world. And the real world is how you became a writer.
At least that is the case for me. Over the past couple of years I have worked endless on my writing and on-line presence. Both are very important for success in this industry and we still need to maintain the presence.
Can we maintain it without living on it?

Over the past couple months I have been finishing my novel, A Charming Crime. It's the first book in a new series, Magical Cures Mysteries. Along with this I decided to do a blog tour and send out ARC's (advanced reading copies) to several review blogs/sites. This all takes time, a lot of time to set up.

I was exhausted by the time I got my writing, edits, and blog posts written, not to mention keeping up with all the on-line stuff. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my on-line groups and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. But it was leaving little time for my family, friends, and getting my blog tour nailed down.

So I came up with a plan. I made a list of items that needed to get completed for the week. This also included everyday life things like pay a bill or go to the grocery, tweet team, streat team. It isn't a list with times or days, but two columns. One for to-do today and a to-do for the week. Daily I set a timer for twenty minutes and do all I need to do on Twitter and Facebook. I could spend HOURS on these two social medias, so when I have to get my work done, I set the timer!
Under pressure or timer, you'd be surprised how much you can get done and NOT stray.

What have I learned? A TON!
I have become more proficient with my tasks during the day. I'm getting more accomplished including writing and leaving time for family and friends! It's also boosted my creativity. Without looking up everything and anything under the sun or clicking on a link from the yahoo mail page (yes! They suck me in!), I'm living my everyday life and that includes my writing career! I'm more fulfilled and satisfied instead of scatterbrained about what and when I need to do something.

I'm happy to say that I'm writing another book, the blog tour is all ready to go, and I get to close my laptop before dinner to be with my family and friends. It's nice to be back in the present!

What about you? Are you a PRESENT writer? If so, what do you do? If not, what can you do to be present?

Great article on successful writing tips!

30 comments:

  1. Yesterday I had my head in my laptop ALL day. My thoughts were, hey, I have no plans, I can write write write! Well, by evening I was exhausted, my hands and arms hurt, and today my back is wondering why I hate it so much that I'd bend it into a chair for 10 hours. What did I learn? BALANCE in all things is the way to go! Great post, Tonya! :)

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    1. Jessica, those are some marathon days that are few and far between for me. But. . .doesn't it feel GREAT that you know you can do it! I become exhausted on those days and have to take a couple days off after that. Way to go!!!

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  2. I am so guilty of this. I don't take the time for me but adding to the list of things to do, I fit in a full time job. So my writing already takes a backseat. :( I have told my students to set that timer to get their work done. Wise advice!

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    1. Melissa!! You need to take your own advice!! Hahhaa! A timer is a GREAT writing tool. I bet you are a fantastic teacher!

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  3. I understand his all too well! I make a list of what I need done per day and check things off one by one. I'll set certain times for online things, writing, etc. And I always keep multiple projects handy so if I run into a wall or something I can move on. There's only 24 hours in a day so we have to maximize them! :)

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    1. JIM! I wish you would've shared this knowledge with us before NOW:)) OH! I never thought about " I always keep multiple projects handy so if I run into a wall or something I can move on." GREAT TIP!!!

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  4. I used to be very good at making daily and weekly to-do lists. :) I've become quite lax. Great post, Tonya. Just the kick in the pants I needed. :)

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  5. I'm taking Holly Lisle's "How to Think Sideways" class, and one of the first thing she's taught us is to set a timer for everything, not just writing tasks! I've made it a game to see how much of the house I can get cleaned in 10 minutes. Can I get the kitchen cleaned up after dinner in 10 minutes? Can I get all of those clothes piled on the bed folded AND put away in 10 minutes? It's crazy how much more work I get done when I use the timer.

    What's even crazier...is that I slack off and don't use the timer every day!! :-D *doh*

    I'm off to grab my timer and get started on edits! Have a great day!!

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  6. I'm afraid I'm too easily captured by FB & e-mail ... and I can spend two hours piddling before I realize it.
    I definitely need more discipline, but doubt I could squeeze it down to 20 mins. Ha.
    You are super-organized, Tonya. And all your discipline & hardwork is surely paying off.

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    1. Maybe we should start a FB/email support group! :-D I'm so with you on this, it's a terrible problem for me! I've started doing all of my writing from my laptop (connected to a large monitor and full sized keyboard), and I don't have the internet connected to that computer, just for this reason. :-)

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  7. Love your experience. I think we all go through that. I need to set a timer for FB and Twitter! Look forward to seeing your new book.

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  8. Hi Tonya,
    I have a routine. First thing is sitting with a cup of coffee and posting on Writers for Nights of Passion. I post the link to the blog no matter which of our contributors has written for the day. Then I visit a few blogs. I had to limit it to a handful, but I visit them daily. Then I go back to work on my current WIP. I must admit, since I got "the call" in March, I have been distracted. But right now, in addition to work on the WIP, I am working on a marketing plan for the first release. Who ever said being a writer was an easy profession?

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  9. Time management. Without it, we're sunk. Another great post, Tonya. And now, I hear my bell ringing!

    Best,

    Peter
    Writing as AR Silverberry

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  10. You are such a goldmine of information that I follow you and what you say closely. I'm beginning to feel like a stalker, lol.

    I don't always make a comment, especially if there are already a lot of them, but I almost always re-post it somewhere.

    As always, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hahhaa, KT thank you so much! I'm always figuring things out and I have to let everyone know so they can start off on the right foot. I'm the Guinea Pig:)

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  11. Tonya, as always--a great blog and so timely for what's going on in my world right now. I need to be more timer centric, for sure!

    THANK YOU!!

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  12. This made me think of my daughter. I used to spend 30-40 minutes on Twitter and Facebook first thing in the morning because DH was home then. He's recently gone to first shift, so now it's just Blur and me in the AM. Rather than take that precious time away from her, I think up some short thing I can post and then spend the rest of the time with her. Sometimes we look at funny cat pictures on facebook together. No matter what, though, I do my best to remember that it's as much about the here and now as building my platform. Thanks for the great post.

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  13. This made me think of my daughter. I used to spend 30-40 minutes on Twitter and Facebook first thing in the morning because DH was home then. He's recently gone to first shift, so now it's just Blur and me in the AM. Rather than take that precious time away from her, I think up some short thing I can post and then spend the rest of the time with her. Sometimes we look at funny cat pictures on facebook together. No matter what, though, I do my best to remember that it's as much about the here and now as building my platform. Thanks for the great post.

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  14. This made me think of my daughter. I used to spend 30-40 minutes on Twitter and Facebook first thing in the morning because DH was home then. He's recently gone to first shift, so now it's just Blur and me in the AM. Rather than take that precious time away from her, I think up some short thing I can post and then spend the rest of the time with her. Sometimes we look at funny cat pictures on facebook together. No matter what, though, I do my best to remember that it's as much about the here and now as building my platform. Thanks for the great post.

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    1. Great plan! I love that you and your daughter sneak on facebook:))

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  15. This is really timely for me as I think I'm about to pop a vein with trying to get everything done to market my first, just-recently-released, fiction novel. My head is swimming, chest is tight, and I feel like if I let up even for a second - poof! - all the networking I've done will be for nothing. It is a slippery slope these days isn't it? You've got me thinking more deeply about time and how I spend it these days - something I've been mulling over for a few weeks now actually. I think I need to write up a post today! Thanks for the inspiration! And can I just say high-five for getting your own time under control, you're like my online hero right now :-)

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    1. Thanks for the post. I just turned in my edits on May 1st and I am having a hard time gearing up for the next project. Kinda feeling burned out. I love timers. Use them for housework, kids, homework, and writing.

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    2. KC! Good luck with the new book!! That's exciting!

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  16. Excellent and timely post Tonya. It's obvious from all the replies that we're all struggling with this issue. Because I come from a background in working from home in commissioned sales (real estate and mortgage sales), I learned a long time ago that you have to allow yourself to have a life outside of work. Make no mistake about it, writing is work as much as it is a craft. It's waay too easy to think to yourself "just one more thing, then I'll quit". Timers are a great suggestion. I also use time blocks, i.e. 1-2 hours for one project, 1/2 hour for another, etc. It actually works! :)

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    1. I think it's a constant struggle, but I've found if I've stayed on task and not stray I'm good. One day of stray and I'm completely off:/

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  17. Hi Tonya!

    Structure - what a concept!! I always THINK I have these things under control, then before you know it, an hour has gone by at the computer and I haven't accomplished nearly what I planned!!

    I love the idea of having things timed.

    Great post!!

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  18. I'm not very good about balancing my time right now. I need to figure it out. I like your timer idea.

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  19. I'm up there with Sonia, but am realizing just a little organization goes a long way. (So does being alone--i.e., five hours at a Dunkin Donuts while waiting for son's concert to end, lol, or getting up before family.

    Thanks, Tonya. Good luck with those books and congrats!

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    1. Oh, Joanna~ I'm so glad you stopped by. Yes! I know exactly what you are talking about. Squeezing in every single second you can.

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