This week, I’m excited to bring our readers a guest post from author and blogger Jen Greyson.
Time Management for Indies by Jen Greyson
One of the things I learned with my first publishing contract was how well I write to deadlines. I’m a genius at leaving everything until the last 36 hours and then pulling college finals week-worthy all-nighters. Now that my deadlines are self-imposed, it has become very important to figure out how to create a time management system—and stick to it.
My background is in project management, and I’m dependent on tools like Excel and Wrike and nifty buzzers that help remind me what I’m supposed to be doing day to day. Writing and publishing a book isn’t as simple as sitting down, bleeding onto a page, and then hitting publish. There are relationships to manage online (social media is nearly as important as the book!), blog tours to schedule, book covers to design. All those things impact a deadline, and—self-imposed or not—if I don’t schedule and manage each step, I get behind, something gets missed, or I spend too many midnights pulling my hair out.
Wrike is one of my favorite tools for time management. It’s free, it’s simple, and there’s an app for that. Some days, it’s nice to be able to click “write 1000 words on Mia’s story” and know that the two hours I spent agonizing over a scene earns me a crossed-off item on the To Do list. Writing a book takes time, and when I have a day after day after day of writing the middle, it’s easy to get discouraged—or worse, distracted—so if I know it’s just an item on my To Do list for the day, the reward of crossing something off is enough to keep me plugging away.
Getting behind is my worst enemy. When I’m figuring out my daily goals, I just work them backward from the deadline, so if I miss a day, I have to account for those words somewhere, and it can become crippling when a weekend with the family turns my 1,000 word days into 2,400 word days. I’ve had moments where my “goal” has become so huge that writing loses its fun. On those days, I reevaluate my deadline, what’s left, and how I can reasonably accomplish it before going back in.
AND THAT’S OKAY!
Writing gets to be enjoyable. Yes, some days are hard and I don’t want to push through to the other side, but those scenes always become the most rewarding.
This is what works for me, and the beauty of being an artist is that there’s no “right” way to manage your time. Experiment, try new things, pitch what doesn’t work or mash a couple together. Just finish. Always finish what you’re writing.
Every story deserves to be told.
From the moment she decided on a degree in Equestrian Studies, Jen Greyson’s life has been one unscripted adventure after another. Leaving the cowboy state of Wyoming to train show horses in Paris, Switzerland, and Germany, she’s lived life without much of a plan, but always a book in her suitcase. Now a wife and mom to two young boys, she relies on her adventurous, passionate characters to be the risk-takers.
In early 2013, Jennifer turned her passion and talent for writing into a cloak of invisibility and acted as a ghostwriter for a romance novella, then another, and another . . . now she’s a full-time Professional Ghost.
“It was never about telling my stories,” Jen says. “It was always about telling everyone else’s. My gift is to be invisible. To be a ghost. To ensure no one dies with a story still in them.”
Jen also writes new adult fantasy under her own name when she’s not ghosting and enjoying the wilds of the west via wakeboard or snowmobile. Lightning Rider, hit shelves May 31, 2013 and Shadow Boxer releases January 7, 2014.