Category Archives: Office

My Scheduling Process

Continuing the trend this week about how I work, I thought that I would share with you how I schedule my time.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

I don’t.

What I DO schedule, is projects by priority.

I know how long it takes me to finish the first draft of a project (Usually it’s 4-6 weeks.) I also know that my personal editing takes about a week, and that I can’t edit a project immediately after I’ve finished it. I also schedule time to plot, time to edit, time to query and time to work on other stuff.

I talk a lot about my “whiteboard of writerly doom” on Twitter, and it’s basically a simple outline of what I want to get accomplished. Right now, it has January through June on it. I erase things as I go, but I keep a book filled with my accomplishments so that I don’t forget how far I’ve come and how much I’ve managed to do in a year. It keeps the negative stuff at bay to be able to look back and say “I wrote five novels this year, and maintained a blog, and worked three jobs, and shot a guy in Reno just to watch him die.” I also started a book journal to track how many books I’m reading (one in 2014 so far because I’ve been busy and not giving myself time to read and relax!)

Anyway, the whiteboard is probably my best tool right now. Combining it with a day timer to track appointments and stuff really keeps me focused.

The way I whiteboard outline is as follows and this is exactly how it looks right now:

PROJECT LIST

JANUARY 2014 – JUNE 2014
_____________________

January

  • Finish ARTHUR 13
  • Specs portfolio
  • look up/query TV writer talent agents

February

  • begin 2014 book queries
  • BLOOD AND THUNDER
  • Plot ARTHUR 13 series

March

  • BALDER’S GAMBLE
  • finish JASPER LYCUS
  • edit ARTHUR 13

April

  • LAWMAKER
  • Continue book queries (if no luck)
  • Continue TV queries (if no luck)
  • edit BLOOD AND THUNDER

May

  • ARTHUR 13 Book 2
  • edit BALDER’S GAMBLE
  • edit JASPER LYCUS

June

  • plot PANTHEON HIGH SERIES
  • plot JASPER LYCUS TRILOGY
  • plot LAWMAKER SERIES
  • finish additional edits

~*~

You might notice there’s a lot of jumping around. It’s partly to keep things flexible if something takes less or more time than I expect, partly to account for unexpected illness/busy periods at work/beta readers and critique partners taking longer than anticipated/other unforeseen circumstances and partly to give me enough time between projects to come back with fresh eyes. Queries also take forever, so that’s why I plan to do some in February and some in April, as the longest response time I’ve seen for queries so far is 12 weeks.

The day timer is to track appointments, as well as queries, who I queried, how long their turnaround is you know, all that fun stuff!

So yeah, that’s how I try to stay organized. I’m really not very good at being organized, but I’m getting there. I’m feeling a lot more confident in my process this year, so hopefully, the muses will play nicely!

Do you have any tricks that you use to stay focused and manage your time?

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My Office, My Sanctuary

I just realized that today, December 20, 2011, is the first day I have been actively up in my office since National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) ended. NaNoWriMo is in November, and for those 30 days of amazing caffeine-fueled novel-writing insanity, I spent almost every day up here, sequestered away from the distractions of life and of non-novelist helpful things. Like my video games. And my books. And my fiancee.

It’s funny now, because my office is really a fantastic corner of my house where I can do everything that I need to do on a regular basis. I have a desk. It’s a really big desk, with a really comfy chair and a small footstool underneath. I have my extra monitor, I have a bookshelf full of reference books. I have my papers, my notebooks, my pens, my highlighters, my binders. I have a cork board covered in references and motivation, heck, it even says ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ right on the cork. I have some cool things I have framed. I have a SpongeBob SquarePants calendar. My pet snake, Rhaegar lives in my office. There’s a spare bed in here, made up with pillows and blankets and comfort. I have internet access. I have a smartphone. The bathroom is literally a few steps down the hall (so is my bedroom and the rest of my books, but that is another point altogether.)

There’s so little reason for me to leave this room when I’m working. I ignore hunger and thirst when I get really into something. I know it’s bad for me, but it happens. Actually, it happens a lot more than I should admit. Oh well.

Outside of my office is where all the bad things happen. Bills are waiting for me outside of my office. The need for food. Social interaction on a face-to-face level. (as opposed to Facebook or email or IM interaction.) Chores. Dishes. Phone calls. Household duties. Video games.

Distractions.

Okay, so there’s distractions in here too. I have the Internet. (And the LOLcats, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Cracked.com etc.) And I have Minecraft. Oh how I am addicted to Minecraft. I have my iPhone with me almost all the time. (There’s music on there…) There’s a bed. There’s Rhaegar.

But the distractions are different when I’m in my office. They don’t seem as big. Things don’t seem as bad when I’m in here. All the chores are pushed out of my mind. Financial trouble isn’t at the foreground of my thoughts. Bills and chores and the need for me to make dinner, and therefore eat, aren’t important. Sleep is… Well, it’s secondary anyway, but here it seems less tempting.

My office is a quiet little corner all of my own. I can be who I want, do what I want, distract myself if I want…

It really is like the Weezer song In the Garage. I had never really thought about it like that until now, but my office is like that garage; I feel safe, no one cares what I do because no one is in here to judge me, I can write, I can sing, I can be me.

Not that there’s really anything stopping me from doing that stuff outside of my office, but it’s the safety and the privacy that really makes it special.

Long story short, I’m glad to be back in my office.