Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Writer's Wednesday: When Time is at a Premium
When I handed in a book on November 30, I made a promise to myself to take it a bit easier in December. After 2 years of January deadlines, both of which were interfered with for varying reasons (one being breaking my wrist), I was thrilled to be off the hook so to speak. Oh, I still worked. I revised a manuscript and sent it to my editor at Samhain. I held my annual Christmas contest, did up blog posts, etc. Revisions hit just before Christmas. I actually worked pretty hard. But I also did Christmas baking. Watched movies. Finished my shopping. Hung out with the fam.
I did know however that January was fast approaching. And with it - crunch time.
And writing this book is not the only thing on the agenda. I also have the first book of a duet hitting the shelves this month - that means promotion. I have edits due to arrive at any moment and then author alterations that will demand my attention. Just my luck - tomorrow I'm also attending Jury selection as I am one of those lucky random few to be picked. And as any working mum knows - there is laundry. Cleaning and cooking. Chauffeuring kids.
If I let it, it would be easy to get overwhelmed. So what I need to do is break it down into chunks.
8 weeks of 5 days a week is 1250 words a day. But I don't REALLY have 8 weeks. Because I need a week of that to edit and polish. I could factor in weekends, but I don't because that is when the family is all home. Unless I absolutely have to, I don't work weekends. For one, I like relative quiet when I work and having everyone home doesn't lend itself well to that. And for another, if I don't take time away, I get very grumpy. I'm just as productive by giving myself evenings and weekends to recharge. That is the time I spend with my family, and I guard it fiercely.
So - 7 weeks. That would be just over 1400 words a day. If nothing goes wrong. But things always go wrong and often I go over the 50,000 word mark. So let's give myself a word count daily goal of 1500-2000. A weekly goal of 7500 to 10000. TOTALLY doable.
One of the main things to avoid is distraction (aka word count procrastination). Promotion is big with this so at the beginning of the month I check the schedule, see where I'm blogging etc. and do up all those posts in advance, sending them to the proper people. I also, on that day, do up my monthly newsletter and update my website. Then I don't need to look at it again for the month.
And finally, focus goes hand in hand with prioritizing. If I really focus and put making word count first, I can get my 1500 words in a morning. That leaves me 2 hours in the afternoon to do things like work on Pink Heart Society work, answer e-mail, and the zillion other things that somehow seem to crop up during the day. I might even manage to feed my family.
It's not foolproof, but having a plan of attack goes a long way to alleviating crunch stress with me.
Do you have any tips for dealing with a full plate of work?
Donna's newest release is One Dance With The Cowboy, book 1 in her Cowboys and Confetti duet set in Larch Valley. It's available at eharlequin and Mills and Boon now and hits store shelves on the 12th.