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.
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:
JANUARY 2014 – JUNE 2014
- Finish ARTHUR 13
- Specs portfolio
- look up/query TV writer talent agents
- begin 2014 book queries
- BLOOD AND THUNDER
- Plot ARTHUR 13 series
- BALDER’S GAMBLE
- finish JASPER LYCUS
- edit ARTHUR 13
- Continue book queries (if no luck)
- Continue TV queries (if no luck)
- edit BLOOD AND THUNDER
- ARTHUR 13 Book 2
- edit BALDER’S GAMBLE
- edit JASPER LYCUS
- 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?