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Time Management for Writers

There is a lot of talk about self-publishing nowadays. The pros being bandied about include having more control, publishing faster, and potentially making more money. But that’s not what I was thinking when I heard about Kindle Direct Publishing in 2011.

I was thinking – this is the business Ive been waiting for!

Ever since I was a little kid with a Kool-Aid stand, I’ve wanted to own my own business. By the time KDP came along, I’d already had two businesses, both writing-related. But I’d come to dread getting more work each week because I couldn’t tell if my customers were going to be easy and fun to work with or complete nut cases.

Now I have what I’ve always wanted – a business I run mostly by myself. If I hire an outside contractor for something like editing or design and they don’t perform as I’d like, or we have a personality clash, I can hire someone else for the next book.

The down side is that I am in charge of everything. Everything.

Little Miss Lovesick_FINAL_OUTLINEDSo after I published my first book, Little Miss Lovesick, in 2011, I quickly realized I was going to need tools to manage my time. I considered tools I’d already used as a magazine editor and a conference director, and I tweaked them for my new business. I bought books on organization and time management. I tried a lot of new things and took a lot of notes on what worked and what didn’t.

Eventually, I started sharing what I’d learned with other writers, then started an online class on time management for writers. Other creatives started asking questions, so I tweaked the class slightly to accommodate other creative people.

I’m excited to say I’ll be teaching the class in person at the California Dreamin’Conference next March!

Some of the tips I’ve shared with writers include:

  • Start now – You don’t have to wait until January to start planning your calendar; you don’t even have to wait until Monday.
  • Restart – Time management is slippery. Things will always come up that force changes to your schedule. You can hit the restart button at any moment and work around the changes.
  • Write it down – People carry a lot of information in their heads, but even the most organized people compartmentalize and forget things. Writing your target deadlines down on a calendar will help you to keep track of where you are and what still needs to be done.
  • Sticky notes can keep you calm – If you write directly on your calendar and something changes, the new information might be difficult to find. Worse, the scratched out information may be a reminder that you didn’t make your original deadline. That can end up making you feel bad, and no good can come of wasting your energy that way.

I’m excited to share this and much more at my workshop in March. I hope you’ll join me!

If you, too, love the idea of owning your own writing business, if you have a manuscript ready to self-publish but don’t know quite how to start, or if you want to learn how to do it in case you decide to self-publish in the future, I’ll be teaching “Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing” next month. This online class offered by OCC RWA runs September 15 – October 12. You can get more information and sign up here. Or come to the OCC meeting on September 13 and hear an abbreviated version of the class.

Happy Writing!

Kitty Bucholtz Author Photo2Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story, “Superhero in Disguise,” are now available at most online retail sites. Superhero in the Making will be released this summer.

You can find Kitty at her website and on twitter.