Hello Visionaries! I'm so sorry the blog died over the holidays. I had a lot going on and honestly lost motivation to work on anything writing-related. I need to do a post on what I've done to get back in the groove, but that is something for another time.
In the next little bit, the WV team and I will be announcing something we're super excited about! So keep an eye on your inbox!
But for today I'm sharing some of my favorite organizing skills and tips. Many of these are relatable for a writer. I've expanded this post a little from mine and my sisters' blog www.sisters-three.com, tweaked it to be more writing-related, and hope that you guys enjoy these simple tips!
Step 1 – Don’t Over Commit
The first step to staying organized is to assess the things on your plate. As my mom told me, “You can do a lot of things, but you can’t do a lot of things well.”
The lesson to be learned here is you don’t have to sign-up for every cover reveal, blog tour, beta read, alpha read, or ARC. You don’t have to do every channel of social media. I know, it’s so hard not to feel like you should help everyone you know, but honestly, you can’t. Don’t stretch yourself so thin that you feel stressed. Leave room in your schedule to do things you want and also time to rest, breathe, and work on your own projects.
I've been in spots before where I signed up for so many things I didn't have time to write because I was too busy beta reading for other people, or where I didn't know if I was being the best helper for something because I had too much going on. Make sure you're not this person. It's so easy to overcommit and then end up letting people down because you can't physically do it all.
A good rule is, don't commit to so many things trying to be nice that you unintentionally are rude. Volunteering to help is great, but make sure you actually have time to help. This is why writing everything you sign-up for is important.
I’ve been in the spots before where I didn’t write what I signed up for down and ended up swamped with tours, ARCs, and looming dates for cover reveals. It stressed me to no end and took the fun out of all of it. You know, it’s kind of hard to enjoy a book when you know it needs a review posted by the end of the week and you have three more ARCs with reviews due by the end of the month, plus you had a word goal in your WIP that you can't reach now because you're too busy reading. Which brings us to step #2….
Step 2 – Assess Your Plate
Assess what is on your schedule already by writing down everything you do/want to do on a daily and then weekly basis. Such as writing, reading, posting on Instagram, your blog, etc…anything and everything that is a hobby or responsibility. This includes any beta reading or editing you’ve signed up to do as well. All commitments go on this list. Also, mark a calendar or planner with all the ARC due dates, cover reveals, and tours you are part of.
Once you have that list and your calendar look at them and assess whether everything is necessary. Are all of these things you need to keep doing? Have you stretched yourself too thin, taken on too many responsibilities?
Maybe posting on the blog twice a week is too much and you should cut back to once a week. Or maybe you have too many beta projects already and definitely don’t need to sign-up for more. Perhaps a monthly newsletter is just too hard to get out, alright make it a quarterly newsletter. Just assess your life and decide what is best for you. Not what all the advice sites are telling you to do, but what you can do without driving yourself insane or leaving no time to do anything you want to do.
What's the point in building a writing platform if you don't have time to write? You know what I mean? What good is an Instagram with 500, 800, even 2,000 followers gonna do you if you spent all your time on making content and didn't have any time to write?
This step was super hard for me, and one my mom insisted I do. This is kind of where you realize how much you over-commit, or maybe you don’t, but this will give you a good idea of what you are actually doing every day/week.
Step 3 – Create a Weekly Schedule
“Shouldn’t I make a daily schedule first?”
I know, sounds weird to start with the weekly schedule, but hear me out. I start with a wide view of what needs to be done for the week by making a list of all the things I need to get done. It usually looks something like this:
Editing/beta reading (depending)
IG posts daily
Blog Post for Sisters Three
Blog Post for Writers’ Vision
Emailing various friends (Between 2 and 5 depending on who has got back to me)
Research for Marketing/Releases/etc
Newsletter (depending on the time of the month)
Get the idea? Everything you need to get done this week goes on the list, you can even put chores on the list! (*ahem* I do, and I have a separate list for work too.)
The idea is that once you know everything you need to do for the week, you can move on to step number four!
Step 4 – Create Daily Lists
The final step is to take between 2 and 5 of the items from the weekly list and assign them to a day of the week! Or if it’s something you need to do daily you can assign them to each day. I got some really cheap weekly planner sheets from the Dollar General almost two years ago and I like using them, but the concept could be done in any planner or notebook. Here’s what a daily list for the week might look like for me!
School (meaning Author Adventure)
Etc. for the rest of the week it will look similar. I rotate doing school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then editing/beta reading on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturday I email all my friends and catch up on anything else I’m behind on, such as writing blog posts. But for those of you not working during the week, or not having such a crazy schedule as mine, you might find that writing a blog post on Wednesday is what you like to do.
At the end of it all, this is just how I organize my life and simplify it so that I don’t go insane. I’d say the first two tips are the most universal and I think everyone should take a step back and just look at what they have committed to do.
Learning to narrow down what is important and why it is important is something everyone needs to assess. I think as writers there are so many good things we can do or feel we should do, but in the end, we have to look at life and decide what we can practically do. You know?
We don't want to fill our time with so many things that there is no joy in it. That we are jsut hopping from one tour to the next, one release to the next, one WIP to the next. We have to have time to recharge, to spend time with family. Give yourself room to have a life outside of writing.
Yes, I said a life outside of writing. That is not all life is about and if writing and blogging and marketing feels like it has taken over your life then maybe it's time to pray about stepping back for a bit. Or just take a break and seek the Lord in prayer, asking Him what He would have you do. It seems like that would be too trivial to bother Him with but trust me, He wants to be involved in every part of your creative process.
As someone who spent years as an unorganized chaotic mess, I know how confusing and terrifying even organizing your week or even day can seem. I hope this post simplified it and gave you the courage to give it a try! I know that I’m finally learning the benefits of slowing down enough to lay out the week and chart a course of action. How about you?
Do you organize your week? Day? Month? Are you a planner when it comes to life or just a person who wings it? Did this post encourage you to try organizing? Is there anything you’d like to see from WV in the future? And lastly, do you have any organizing tips?
Writing to Awaken Hope!