Journal of a Debut Year: Time Management

True confession time: I can be a little uptight.

Not about everything. When it comes to my house and my kids, I’m fairly easy-going. Dust is just topsoil for your home, right? And what’s childhood without a few opportunities to wallow in a muddy creek?

But when it comes to my writing, I’m pretty regimented. All the strategies I recommended in my post on prepping for your debut year NOW are ones I implemented well before selling my debut novel. And once I signed my name on the dotted line, I took up a few other organizational and time-saving activities that you might find helpful during your own lead up to publication.

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Practice To Do List Triage

This is something I do when on a deadline. Stuff can really pile up when you have to spend as much time as possible on your writing, especially if you’re not a full-time writer (I’m not–I started out as a stay at home mom and remain one, which easily takes up 12 to 13 hours of my day). To get a handle on things during deadlines, I take a hint from emergency rooms, where triage nurses decide which patients need to be cared for first. This means that when I’m on a deadline, I only do the essentials outside of writing, and let everything else slide until said deadline has passed.

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Implement Marketing Mondays

After I signed my book deal, I got into the habit of using any available time on Mondays for marketing research. I read whatever I could about marketing a book in order to get a better handle on what that entails, and when certain aspects of promo should be coming into play. This has been one of the best decisions I made, because now I have a fairly clear grasp of things and can devote my attention to the actual background work of promotion, as well as the all important writing another book! If you plan to start your own Marketing Mondays, Beth Revis’s Paper Hearts Volume 3: Some Marketing Advice is a must read. Following established writers on Twitter is also a great way to glean marketing and promo wisdom–many of them will tweet advice from time to time, and I’ve learned a lot just by listening.

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Work Ahead of Schedule

Probably the most consistently helpful thing I do as a writer now is keep ahead of schedule whenever possible. When I have a deadline, I work as hard as I can to keep a bit of margin so that if life gets in the way, I have a few grace days to use up while still staying on track. I try to stay ahead of schedule as far as future marketing and promo endeavors go, as well. Whenever I don’t have a deadline to meet, I’m already lining up blog posts, planning giveaways, and doing background work like putting together graphics and extras for newsletter subscribers. A lot of these things won’t come into play until summer or fall, but I’ll be at work revising my second book then. Time off-deadline means time you can spend getting non-essential tasks taken care of to make life easier for your future self 😉

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Don’t Expect To Do It All

You could make an entire career out of marketing your work and platform-building and never have time write another book. Choose a few things you enjoy doing to focus on (I’m not the first person to give this piece of advice, but it’s very true!) For instance, a lot of writers I know get involved in the Bookstagram community, and use their IG accounts to promo books by other authors as well as their own work. I LOVE looking at all their gorgeous book photos. But taking the time to plan and shoot beautiful Bookstagram pics just doesn’t appeal to me. I concentrate instead on my newsletter (use the subscribe bar found everywhere on this website to sign up!) and this blog. Figure out where your strengths lie and what you enjoy doing, and capitalize on that when it comes to marketing and platform-building endeavors. Do what you love and do it well, then don’t worry about the rest.

These are things that have worked for me when it comes to managing time during my debut year and the months leading up to it. Take what works for you, and leave what doesn’t <3

Journal of a Debut Year will be back the week after next, to talk book launches!

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