The Writer's Desk

Writing, publishing & marketing notes from Jamie DeBree & her alter egos

Writer’s Notes: January 11, 2015

Given that daily updates here just aren’t really working for me (cuts into the writing time, and even more so now that I’m trying to get to bed earlier – yes, I know, laugh it up. I did say”trying”…), I’ve decided to change the direction and focus of this blog to something more manageable (and possibly more useful for other writers).

The plan at the moment is a weekly discussion of what I’ve been working on (vaguely) for the past week, not just as far as writing goes, but also in terms of the business end of things. Sort of a semi-transparent peek into what this writer does on a daily & weekly basis to write, publish and sell her work. It will serve as sort of a journal for me to keep track of everything, and perhaps it will provide encouragement or helpful information for others traveling similar paths.

All that said, let’s jump right in and look at last week’s progress, shall we? I’ve got two active projects at the moment, and made a little progress on each of them last week.

The Time Stone (children’s lit): 1628 words added

Meadowlark Pulse (romantic suspense): 542 words added (start)

Considering my goal is to write 2k words a (week)day this year, or 10k words per week however I need to arrange it to get it done, that was pretty pathetic. I’m trying to change up a lot of my routines right now though, and my mind has been rather chaotic, which isn’t good, but it is what it is. I’m getting a handle on that,  and have better plans and organization in place for this week, so that should help. I’d cross my fingers, but it’s hard to type that way…

One of the things that hung me up last week was blog posts. I’m used to writing them the night before they need to be posted, but as I mentioned above, I’m also trying to get to bed earlier (an hour and a half earlier, so quite a lot of “work time” cut out of my nights). So working on blog posts late at night just cuts out the writing time, and the writing is more important. Then, of course, I’d sit a the computer knowing I’d promised a post, but also knowing I was way behind on word count, and trying to figure out which to do/which to let go (yes, it seems like an easy decision, but…yeah. No.). As a result, I either did the blog post (Mon/Thurs), or I spent the time thinking I should be doing one or the other and not doing anything. You can see how well that worked…

So this week, new rule. All blog posts have to be written and scheduled before bed on Sunday night, or they just don’t get done. Period. No blog writing mid-week, because that time is already spoken for. That takes the decision out of it, and all I have to do each night is sit down and start writing. Problem solved, hopefully.

The other thing that hung me up, and I’m keeping this intentionally vague, is that I’m not terribly enamored with one of my projects. It’s not something I’ve done before, and I’m having a hard time with it, on several levels. Mostly just my own insecurities with regard to the focus of the work. I’m taking steps to deal with that, and I think things should go more smoothly this week. Here’s hoping.

As far as business-type stuff goes, I’ve set aside an hour and a half each weekend day for marketing/promotion and business stuff, respectively. Saturday mornings, I’m supposed to work on anything marketing/promotional related for 1.5 hours…and I spent this weekend’s time coming up with a new title for my next release, and making cover art for said title. That sort of thing I can do in the evenings in front of the TV though, so I think I need to refine my scope. Those Saturday hours should be spent submitting to review sites, scheduling memes and/or contests or checking out advertising opportunities. It’s only my second week though, so I expect to have my “to-do” list a bit more refined in the near future.

Sunday I spent my business time on bookkeeping. Specifically, catching up on last year’s sales and income reporting. Unlike a majority of the writers I know, I actually hate spreadsheets – I find them boring and tedious, so this is the sort of thing I put off all the time just because I don’t want to do it. Which means at the end of every year,   I’m inputting sales and payment data for the entire past year into Quickbooks so we can file our taxes. Highly inefficient.

This year, once I get the books caught up from last year, I plan on using those Sunday hours for…exactly that, among other things. One Sunday a month will be devoted just to bookkeeping, or more if needed. A really good, efficient change, to be sure (and I’ll be able to see if my promotional efforts on Saturdays are having any effect or not, so win-win).

And then Sunday afternoon (just before starting this post, actually), I started moving my active projects into Scrivener from the Writer’s Cafe program I’ve been using for writing. I’m still not absolutely sure I like Scrivener better, but it is more widely used, and has the ebook compile function that might save me some time on the back end, so I’m giving it a shot.

I also downloaded the writing I did last week from my Alphasmart Neo to the proper story files in Scrivener, and later this evening, I’ll type my scene notes for what I want to work on this coming week to files on the Neo so I’m all ready to write tomorrow evening after work.

Organization is the name of the game if I want to keep everything moving forward, and I do. I feel pretty good about the upcoming week, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things shake out with these new changes.

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