4 VITAL Things To Know As An Indie Author (The Emotional Rollercoaster, part 2)

Well, maybe that last one...
You ROCK!

 

If you wrote a book and published it, congratulations! You’re a small business owner, and entrepreneur. A budding capitalist.

 

You write your product. That’s cool!

 

Then, you sell your product.

 

So… you’re a salesperson.

 

Ugh.

scared%20mom
Salesperson??? Nooooo!

Most of you NEVER wanted to be salespeople.

 

Your book/books are your business, and you have a small staff of employees. Probably just you. That means you are the boss, but also the manufacturer, the salesperson, the marketer, the accountant… the janitor… Since without sales there really isn’t any business, the most important thing is selling the product (after you have a product).

 

Whether it is a hobby or a part-time job or full-time job, that just means the amount of JOY or PAIN & SUFFERING you go through are magnified. Whether you are selling 1 book a week, 1 book an hour, or 1 book a minute, you probably want that number to go up.

 

Pick a good number of sales for a day, a week, or a month, or a year, and manage your expectations to trends, not little blips. Doesn’t matter what number you pick; some of you are new and some of you have been doing this a while. When I published my first book, it didn’t sell squat for a long time. A loooooooooooooong time.

 

Back then, if I sold a book a day, I was on FIRE! I was king of the world, a marketing genius! Things were going my way! Oprah was sure to call. I started rehearsing my Oprah interview questions and answers. Honest!

 

sk-well
Your writing self image when sales suck.

I don’t care where you are on the sales volume ladder, if you go a few days without making a sale, you will be convinced that you are suddenly a dog. Worthless. Unfit to walk the earth. Nothing is coming your way except more empty Amazon sales reports.

 

By picking a time frame of a week and setting my new-author-self’s expectations to sales over a week, I wasn’t disappointed if I didn’t sell a book that day. I kept doing things every day to sell books, knowing they’d come in. That’s hard when they don’t come in, which is why you track efforts and results, but you want to give yourself enough time to produce a result before stopping an activity.

 

  1. UNDERSTAND: You are the same author on a good sales day as you were on a bad sales day. Your book is still just as good. (This is easy to say but hard to make yourself believe on a bad sales day.)

 

Welcome to the emotional roller coaster that is sales! It will mess with you!

 

Give yourself time to develop that thick skin for this. It’s not easy. I have had a book flying off the shelves. THOUSANDS of copies over a few short days. I was a guru. Talk to me three months later when I hadn’t sold for three days. I was an idiot. Except, I wasn’t. I was just as good as when I was selling big.

 

drunk
Sometimes the brain doesn’t get it, either.

Your brain understands this. Your gut does not.

 

At first, you will question everything when sales dip. Or when your second book doesn’t launch better than your first. Or when book three is a blockbuster and book four sells in piddles.

 

Guess what? Even if every book does better than the prior book, you’ll wonder why they didn’t do even better!

 

You’re a tough boss!

 

When you started, you were planting lots and lots of seeds, not knowing which activities might result in sales. Most seeds come to harvest later on, maybe after you stopped doing the activity.

 

  1. Good salespeople prospect all the time, and try different things. So do good authors. That may be different things for different authors, but consider an “all of the above” strategy until you have the sales volume you want.

 

My friend Jason Matthews constantly re-tweaks his SEO keywords in his books, among other things.

 

Another friend, Kelly Abell, does lots of events and signings and lectures. As in, talks to groups of people who came just to hear her speak.

 

Another friend doesn’t do jack, he just keeps writing books. (He’s the one the rest of us hate.)

 

th
Like on a spread sheet? Ugh.

What you want to do is keep track of what you’re doing so that later on you can have an idea of what worked. That will help. Track results any way you can, so you don’t spend time or money on things that don’t work.

 

  1. Sometimes things fluctuate. Now, if your sales go to zero and stay there for six months, you really need to think about what you’re doing, but if you have an occasional blip, you need to let your emotional side know that it’s going to happen. Look for trends. Don’t freak out over any one little thing.

 

  1. Very rarely do two books sell the same. No two kids are alike, and your books are a lot your kids. They will sell in their own unique way.

 

Don’t get discouraged. Even Stephen King puts out a dud once in a while, but since his marking is so good you would never know it. Maybe if you had the insights on his sales numbers you would see certain books sell a lot better than others. He’s still a great writer.

 

Same with Steven Spielberg movies. Some are great; some are not. He’s still a great talent.

 

And in both cases, certain ones that didn’t do at the box office or with critics, you may have thought were terrific.

 

Don’t let your emotions run thing. Put your emotions in your books but try to keep them out of your book business.

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Dan's pic
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Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

 

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

 

How To Get Past The Tricky Spot In Your Story

Remember when writing was fun?
Remember when writing was fun?

We all occasionally reach a spot in the story where we don’t know what to do, how to get the characters past a certain obstacle.

If it lasts a while, people call it writer’s block. So don’t let it last.

In Poggibonsi, the tricky spot was trying to think up a way for Mike’s wife to take him back after he cheated on her. I was stuck for a long time on that. There was no rational reason for her to do it, and yet I know lots of spouses forgive a cheating husband or wife. But I couldn’t think of what that conversation went like or how he’d earn her trust back.

In The Water castle, we have a big confrontation with several characters and a resolution need to be created. Gina’s mom finally goes to help Gina and… what, exactly?

Something will come to me.
Something will come to me.

Beats me!

Similarly, Jenny was stuck on her big battle scene, so I rolled out these two examples for her, as I am for you, because she thought she had to solve the problem alone and that nobody else has these issues. Certainly not real authors with actual books being sold.

Ha!

But, okay, we all have those issues on occasion. What do we do about them?

Usually by telling somebody – in this case Jenny, one of my critique partners – about the problem, I have to clarify things so they can understand. That helps me clarify things for myself. So, simply by explaining the problem to another person, it unravels the mystery to my own brain.

I have a hundred ideas and they all suck!
I have a hundred ideas and they all suck!

And by doing that, I almost always have a few ideas of where things might head, and why they can’t head that way.

Then, lo and behold, as I walk them through my dilemmas, usually one answer remains as the only plausible path. And my dilemma is no more.

Other times, I am hearing the problem from a fellow author and I’m providing suggestions. They may not take any of my ideas, but the sheer act of rejecting solutions kind of implies to their own brain that they have something better. Certainly they have a better feel for their story. And just as often, an answer is derived.

It always does!
It always does!

It’s like in Shakespeare In Love, when Geoffrey Rush’s character (Philip Henslowe) spoke with Hugh Fennyman, the money lender for the play. The sponsor asked how all the issues would be surmounted and the play could open, and Henslowe basically said, “I don’t know, but it always does.”

Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.

Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?

Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.

Hugh Fennyman: How?

Philip Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

That’s my answer.

Talk the problem out with another author. An answer will present itself.

I don’t know how, but it always does.

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Your humble host.
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REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

What the HECK is a Virtual Assistant???

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

I know people who use Virtual Assistants and swear by them, and I know a lot of authors who are swamped with trying to run a blog and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and Snapchat, etc., and still find time to write – but don’t think they can delegate any of these tasks, and don’t think they can afford a VA.

So I asked my friend Michelle to explain what a Virtual Assistant is, and what she does, and to answer some basic questions for our group.

If you have additional questions or want to know more, ask your questions below as comments (others may have the same question) or contact Michelle directly. I’ll then ask her to answer it here, too, as a reply, and everyone can see her wonderful, friendly demeanor.

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MM 1A note to Dan’s readers: This post may come across as quite self-promoting, I know. I am writing about what a virtual assistant is because I AM a virtual assistant. I feel great about what I do, love helping people get organized, and think many people can benefit from quality assistance. What I’m not doing is writing to convert dozens of readers to clients. I work with only a handful of clients at a time, so that really isn’t my goal at all! If you are interested in more information, I would be more than happy to consult with you, and I have a wonderful network of great VAs who I can refer you to if we aren’t a good fit or if I just don’t have the bandwidth to help you.

That being said…

What is a Virtual Assistant??

I’m not talking about Facebook’s “M” or Siri or Cortana, here. A Virtual Assistant is (generally) an independent contractor who provides business support for multiple clients remotely. Some are generalists, and others have specialties. There is a very wide variety of personalities and skills in the VA industry. It has been growing for well over a decade and shows no signs of stopping.

MM 2As a VA, I work personally with creative professionals in order to maximize their time and efficiency and make them more productive and profitable. It’s a partnership in which I take over administrative tasks so that my clients can focus their energy on things only they can do.

If you are a writer, you need to put pen to paper (or, you know, fingers to keyboard)! All of the other things: the invoicing, website management, research, bookkeeping, travel planning, newsletter scheduling – those things should be handled by someone who can’t do what you are gifted and trained to do best.

Why Contract a Virtual Assistant??

Yeah. That.
Yeah. That.

I generally find that I can complete a client’s administrative and business support tasks in about 50-75% of the time it takes a client to do the same task, so not only does the client gain that much time, but the work is completed SOONER than it would have been if the client was handling it alone. Here are a few other quick reasons.

Partner with a VA so that you can…

  • Keep up the momentum of your growing business by letting your VA take care of things quickly.
  • Take a step back and look at the bigger picture of your business while your VA takes care of more of the nitty gritty stuff (including reports and analytics to help show you the progress you are making).
  • Avoid burnout by delegating the things you hate and focusing only on what you love to do.

What is the Cost of a Virtual Assistant??

Value is the importance, worth, and usefulness of something.

Of course, dollars do matter. As I said earlier, there is a lot of variety in this industry! You may pay anywhere from $2-$200 per hour, depending on what you need help with and the skills/experience of the VA, or you may pay a set retainer per month. Essentially, you can find a VA on any budget! I will caution you, though, that you get what you pay for. I have gone through several VAs of my own, and I’ve seen this to be true.

So before you decide on a budget and begin a search for your own VA, think about value.

tired_1794882bHow much is your time worth? What is it worth to you to get an extra 15, 30, or 50 hours a month to invest back into your craft, give to your family, or further your education?

What would it mean to you to finally be organized and on top of your back-end business tasks that bog you down? To know that nothing is falling through the cracks?

What sucks up your time that you DREAD doing? How would it feel to get that off your plate?

Examples and More Information

I’d like to leave you with a hopefully-inspirational list of tasks that you, as a writer, could delegate to a Virtual Assistant. (Note: it will be up to you to make sure the person you partner with is capable of performing all of the tasks you need assistance with, so make sure to vet your candidates! Some of the tasks below require specialized skills.)

  • Research & Fact-Finding
  • Scheduling Interviews or Promotional Activities
  • Formatting
  • Email Sorting & Screening
  • Invoicing & Bookkeeping
  • Proofreading & Editing
  • Website Set-Up & Maintenance
  • Publishing Assistance
  • Copyright Registration
  • E-Newsletter Management

Michelle Martinez partners with busy creative professionals to maximize their time and efficiency and keep them organized. She is the all-in-one solution for her client’s virtual business support needs. For more information, please visit http://michelle.io or email michelle@michelle.io and follow @MichelleAssist on Twitter!

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REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

6 Tips to Avoid BLOGGER BURNOUT – the dreaded affliction that kills you before you start AND after you’re a success!

Remember when blogging was fun?
Remember when blogging was fun?

We recently talked about these great blogs I’ve been reading that suddenly disappeared. (I was not directly linked to the disappearance of the bloggers in case you were wondering. No charges have been filed.)

We thought they might have burned out from too much success.

I know, I know: Burn out from too much success? I’m more like to burn out from wasting hours on a blog nobody reads!

Been there.

My blog sucked and I was kinda clueless. (See post: My Blog Sucks And I’m Kinda Clueless HERE)

The disappeared blogs were popular, had large followings – and then POOF, they were gone. We wondered why. After much extensive research, which means a quick internet search, I found out. And as promised, I am sharing my findings to keep you from the same fate.

First, whether you have 2 followers or 10,000, blogging takes time.

Is this you?
I think I’ve had enough

We understand pretty easily why people would quit doing an unsuccessful blog; it’s a little harder to understand why somebody would stop doing the thing that was achieving what they wanted! What’s up with that???

First, it could be money. I don’t know the numbers, but if I had 10,000 followers on a WordPress blog, and somebody said I could earn $1,000 a month if I could get half of them to switch over to a private domains where I could run ads, I’d probably do it. Because that’s $1,000 towards a car payment or the rent or the promotion of books, or whatever. But also I know from experience that $1,000 a month becomes $10,000 a month a heckuva lot easier than $0 becomes $1000.

Finding ways to monetize your writing mean you have taken a big step toward doing it full time, quitting your hated job, unshackling yourself from the life of quiet desperation…

FREEDOM!!!

Yeah. That.
Yeah. That.

Ahem.

Between a blog site that actually pays you to do it, book sales, and freelance writing gigs (remember, Stephen King wrote stuff for Stag magazine for a while there – getting paid to write is getting paid to write), you start to see the pieces of the puzzle coming together to pave your dream. So I am totally on board with that. Most of the people who go that route won’t make it, but that has more to do with business sense than quality of writing, and if they leap too quickly, they starve death before they figure the business side out. (I include a success story as well, so stay tuned.)

But Blogger Burnout was far and away the more likely culprit as to why these popular blogs went bye-bye!

Most bloggers got into blogging for the fun of it. Authors tend to do it as a platform builder, but quickly find that it’s not fun (it’s hard work and takes time away from writing) or it’s LOTS of fun (it’s NOT hard work and it takes time away from writing).

There are only so many hours in the day.

After spending a requisite number of hours building a following, the fun time blogger sees success! Now what?

I actually am loving this! REALLY!
I actually am loving this! REALLY!

They feel pressure to top their best post each week.

Last week I got 100 replies; this week only 30.

WHAT DID I DO WRONG???

They are adding followers by the boatload for a while and then they go a few days or weeks without adding any or, God forbid, they see a decrease.

Noooooo!!!

Ego is a tricky thing, friends.  Seeing the numbers go up, up, up every week for a year is very gratifying.

There are some simple reasons big bloggers walk away.

  1. They bring pressure on themselves to be funnier, wittier, livelier, flirtier, cuter, spunkier – whatever it was that worked – and to reply to each and every of their 150 replies per post with the same vigor and energy that they had when there were only ten replies.

And suddenly it’s not fun.

burned out womanThe ideas aren’t there.

They start dreading doing the thing…

  1. And while we all might be overworked at times at our jobs, a blog usually doesn’t pay its owner anything. It was fun, so when it stops being fun, it has stopped serving its purpose. Ditto if the blogger runs out of ideas.

At that point, if it were a job, we’d look to change jobs. All that means is quitting the non-paying hobby that isn’t fun anymore, or taking time off until it looks fun again.

Blogger Burnout.

I'm just going to lay down here on my keyboard for a minute...
I’m just going to lay down hereon my keyboard for a minute…

It’s the same as any other kind of burnout. When it happens we want time off. Before it happens – as in, before we have the success of 10,000 followers – we think, no, we KNOW –  we’ll manage it better than that unhappy soul who walks away at the top of their game.

BTW, tell that to the many blogs that went belly up in their first year after investing the time and not seeing it get off the ground. They spent the hours and it didn’t work. And if you don’t see a positive result, you become extra motivated to stop and move on to something that does work for you. Usually, the “unsuccessful” bloggers just quit too early in the process, before they figure things out.

  1. But the ones that figure it out and become successful may quit, too – when the negatives outweigh the positives.

06222014 BG 3And there’s one more thing. There’s a community feel to a small blog with a handful or regular followers. It’s fun and it’s a happy place and everybody gets to know each other. Others want to experience that feeling so they join. Next thing you know, your intimate get-together is a full-on rave-style block party and you don’t know any of the faces you’re looking around at. Your friends left hours ago and the cops can’t be far away. And somebody keeps putting cigarettes out on your floor. Who does that? Use an ashtray or an empty beer can, for pete’s sake

When you wake up with a headache – more from being tired than hung over, you know what you want to do. Or, what you don’t want to do.

  1. You miss the fun feel and you don’t like the new entity. You want it to stop.

BLOGGER BURNOUT IS A THING, so here are the tips to avoid it. I found several articles but the one I quote from is the best.

happy-woman-jumping-in-golden-wheat
Not a maxi pad commercial

Here are tips to make your small blog successful and your large blog not a burnout threat, while bringing quality of life thoughts to your overall author experience – which is something we advocate all the time here.

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Lindsey was an elementary teacher who blogged about cooking and one day she and her husband realized she made more money from blogging than she did from teaching, so she became a full time blogger.

“Building a blog is a gradual thing that takes TIME – it’s not an overnight thing and it doesn’t come without putting in many hours of focused work. If you enjoy it, it won’t feel like work and you’ll be able to do more and stick with it – which will eventually lead to growth.

 

“One more thing: try not to stress. Ambition and drive are virtuous in their own right, but so often those lead to comparison and perfectionism, which are joy-stealers (says the ambitious, comparing, perfectionist blogger). I can honestly say that some of my all-time most fun moments as a blogger happened in those first few years when fifty people visiting my site in a day was a big deal and making $20 from ads felt like winning the jackpot, so don’t wish those early days away. Enjoy the process of growth and have fun!” – Lindsey, Pinch Of Yum, “Frequently Asked Questions.” (emphasis added)

Yay, success!
Yay, success!

Yes, she’s the success story I mentioned earlier.

MOST readers will gloss over the part where she says she worked “15 hour days, 7 days a week.” Don’t. That’s important.

“…my constant over-working-ness over these last few years has kept me from really going deep with any of them, plus it has kept me feeling edgy and frazzled and rarely at peace. And I don’t want to live like that.” (LINK to quote)

I don’t list all 15 of her thoughts but I can select and summarize a few that are relevant to our discussion and turn the floor over to her for the rest of you who are interested. Lindsey’s quote are in italics.

  • CHANNEL COMPETITION AND JEALOUSY.

You want to be where other people are. That takes time. View it as a goal and don’t be angry you aren’t there yet. You will be.

  • SET STRICT RULES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA AND COMMENTS.

“Why should I let a number of likes on something affect my real life happiness? For me, the solution was just to stop looking and checking compulsively.”

  • SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT YOUR BLOG.

A break is a good thing. Take them now and then.

  • SINGLES, NOT HOME RUNS.
Is THIS you, too?
Is THIS you, too?

“It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that every individual thing that you do as a blogger needs to be 200% awesome, absolutely incredible, a knock-it-out-of-the-park home run. And then when you work really hard on something and it’s not really like a home run as much as just, like, a regular post? It can start to feel blah. Depressing.

…it is not realistic to think that all of your creative works are going to be a home runs.

The people I see being successful… are the people who know that some of their work will be home runs and a lot of their work will be singles or doubles. Or maybe even, umm, strike outs.”

  • STICK TO AN ORGANIZATIONAL SYSTEM.

“I put events into the Google calendar as they come up, and… for each day, I define the three main things that I’m trying to get done.”

  • LOG OUT OF EVERYTHING. DO IT NOW.
This might be going a little too far.
This might be going a little too far.

“I would never get a blasted thing done if it weren’t for this little hack: I log out of everything. Like, fully log out erase any pre-saved passwords. I can’t tell you how many times every day I type in http://www.facebook.com only to be reminded that I need to log in in order to creep on my friends’ lives. DANG. But for whatever reason, that one little extra step of logging in is always enough to stop me.

“All bloggers will have to figure out what works for them with email, but I try to limit myself to checking email once a day, and when I check it, I clear it out all the way to the bottom of my inbox.”

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Allllllllmost there.
Alllmost there.

In other words, YOU be in control. I’ve discussed this before, about finding time to write (CLICK HERE), and also when you find time, actually write (CLICK HERE). Some of you respond immediately to every email or Facebook post, any time of day, because you’re always plugged in. I’m the opposite. I usually have that stuff shut down and there are very few apps on my phone so I CAN’T do it anytime anywhere – which makes me stick to my schedule, stay in control, and avoiding burnout.

What is YOUR system to avoid BURNOUT, in your blog or anywhere else? Share your tips!

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selected passages for this post were taken from:

15 WAYS TO AVOID BLOGGER BURNOUT

Posted by Lindsey on “Pinch Of Yum” in November 2014 and in the “FAQ” and “About” sections of her site, just a few of the many terrific pages there. Check it out!

http://pinchofyum.com/15-ways-to-avoid-blogger-burnout

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Your humble host.
Your humble host.

REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

After you FIND time to Write – actually WRITE!

 

Authors are, as a group, unorganized and easily distracted. Me, included.

Kim Cardashian's butt? AGAIN??
Kim Cardashian’s butt? AGAIN??

After I find them additional hours a day to write, they fill that time up with nonwriting. Emails, Facebook, Twitter, online writing course, articles.

Cat videos…

First, write.

ONLY when you have the writing finished for the day, then and only then do you allow yourself to access distractions like email, CC, etc. They suck you into a time vacuum and you look up and an hour’s gone. Set a goal, maybe for a number of words. (I usually go for a scene, not words). When the scene is completed, you’re all set. If you have time aside for writing, FB and Twitter and the rest will happily wait while you write. Because if the writing doesn’t get finished, the rest doesn’t matter. You need to set a date by which to have the book complete. What? Blasphemy! Well, if you know roughly how long it takes per chapter, and how many chapters roughly remain in your outline, you have a number to hit. Yeah, the numbers will be off, but every evening will be like Christmas when you are banging it out and getting closer and closer to your goal of a completed book.

01 postcards (2) b

Get the goal set right now, today, and then lay it out. It’s February. If you follow this advice, your book’s first draft could be finished by the end of February, depending on how far along you are with it. Allow a few weeks for editing and beta readers, and maybe another draft, and on March 31, you’re ready to publish. Friend me on FB and I’ll help you at every step along the way, but odds are you will NEVER finish the way you are going, and I want you to finish! The first book is the hardest. When that’s over, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. Like driving a car. You could barely keep it on the road when you first climbed behind the wheel. Now you can talk on the phone, eat a cheeseburger, tune the radio, and drive simultaneously. It’s effortless.

Get to the writing first. All the rest will wait.

As good as it feels to do all the other stuff, how SATISFIED will you feel on Tuesday when you wrote for 4 hours on Monday? You’ll feel amazing.

Now, how will you feel on Tuesday if you did CC and Fb and email on Monday – and didn’t write?

I still haven't finished my NaNoWriMo
I still haven’t finished my NaNoWriMo

Which feeling do you prefer?

Write. The other stuff will be just fine without you. Do that crap at lunch, do it at breakfast, or take a break from it for a month, but realize that IT IS PREVENTING YOUR BOOK FROM GETTING WRITTEN. A year from now will you be happier that you did emails and FB and CC, or put a book out that is selling?

It feels like this - but in my brain!
It feels like this – but in my brain!

Focus: keep your eyes on the prize.

Oh, and if you still need ways to find time to write, that’s here
https://savvystories.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/how-to-find-time-to-write/

5 Ways To Find Time To Write

I don’t have time to write!

And I'm having a bad hair day!
And I’m having a bad hair day!

Sure you do, Binkie. A book a year may have worked for a booze-addled Hemingway, but times have changed. There’s the interwebs! Plus, you’re no Hemingway. And alcoholism turned out to be a bad thing.

(Who knew?)
(Who knew?)

But we all have the same 24 hours each day. That’s plenty of time to write your Great American Novel if you follow these tips.

1. Wake up an hour earlier.

What! Blasphemy. When do I sleep off that hangover? Hey, do you wanna write a book or not? One hour a day is 30 hours a month. That’s a lot of writing time. DON’T look at email or anything else during that hour. It’s Christmas morning. Go open the present that is your book.

2. Work through lunch.

Kim Cardashian's butt? AGAIN??
Kim Cardashian’s butt? AGAIN??

Do your planned social media from your phone, using delayed posts for most of it. (See? Planned.) Check Facebook, your blog, etc. – quickly. That maintains your presence; supplement that with your amazingly insightful posts at lunch each day, or maybe even write at lunch. There are very few social media crises that need your immediate attention 24/7. Hit it, then forget it. No more Facebook until lunch tomorrow. It’ll be okay. Nobody’s going to miss you. Besides, you’re not addicted to social media; you can quit any time you want, right? And, no, I don’t tell my followers that’s what I’m doing. They don’t seem to notice. Then Twitter from your phone spontaneously.

3. DVR everything

A 60 minute TV show becomes 42 minutes if you jump over commercials. (Why are you watching TV anyway? You should be writing!)

4. Don’t go to movies

Most suck anyway. Between the drive, parking, waiting through previews – which I like – leaving and coming home, it’s four hours, not two. For a few months while you’re working on your GAN, skip movies.

5. Write while driving

What? Let me explain. When those ideas come popping into your head like rabid squirrels during your commute, use your phone to send yourself an email. Talk-to-text is great for that. Pull over if you need to, no big deal. It’s two minutes, and like your “experimental” phase in college, it’s only weird the first few times. You saved the hero? We might need that gem. Email it to yourself.

It was the butler the whole time!
It was the butler the whole time!

Okay, now you have 40+ hours a month plus whatever you had before. With that, you could keep your day job and write Lord Of The Rings. And have it not suck. Yeah, I said it.

I’m not saying write to the exclusion of everything else in your life – like eating. Or seeing those other people in your house who want to talk occasionally. You can still play a round of golf – although my buddy who golfs can’t find time to write. I write, and can’t find time to golf. (I don’t like golf, that’s why.)

What I am saying is, you can have a thorough social media presence and still find time to write your book.

What are your time saving tips?

curious-woman