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Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Posts Tagged: time management for writers

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The weird thing about the new paradigm of publishing is the Digital Age Author is a very different creature. She might be a single mom trying to squeeze in a couple hundred words before the kids wake up or a husband struggling to fit in a writing burst during a lunch break. It can be a dad striving to finish his book while still caring for his family. Maybe it’s a retired person balancing FINALLY pursuing that dream of writing…while caring for grandkids.

Which is to say that a lot of part and full-time writers are also caregivers. Many of us wrestle with guilt. I do. I love writing SO MUCH and it is SO FUN.  But if I write instead of finishing laundry I am “bad” 🙁 .

I’ve learned a rather weird lesson lately and I believe it’s worth pondering. We talked about workaholics the other day. It is no great feat for us workhorses to take on MORE WORK. The true challenge is when we’re given the choice of a great opportunity and a nap and we are directed to take the NAP.

AAAAGHHHHH!!!!!

I am learning the same thing with givers. WANA is truly unique and I don’t say this because I started it (because frankly, I didn’t). WANA was actually birthed by people who took my classes. They were natural givers. The only “special” thing I did was spot this phenomena and then nurture it. WANAs are SO generous and kind and supportive and it is the greatest collection of amazing individuals one can find.

But lately I’m starting to see the dark side to giving. Every strength has a blind spot. Remember this when creating characters 😉 .

And the easy blind spot for givers is that we overdo it and wear ourselves out. Yeah, I saw that too. But one that snuck by me is that giving is not always good. NOT GIVING can be the greater gift.

I grew up with a Scandinavian mom and Norway is the motherland of OCD. Work was what we did and we made it fun. But I recall being 4 and making my bed. Mom would praise me, then remake my bed so it didn’t have all the lumps and the bedspread was even. Later, when I was 8, I loaded the dishwasher. Mom would thank me…then rearrange the dishes to wash more efficiently. I’d organize a closet and she’d be THRILLED…then redo it. Finally, in 2009 I made a Christmas dinner and Mom tasted it, and then reasoned everything and I snapped.

Why must you redo everything I do? Why isn’t what I do ever good enough?

My mom was speechless (which she’s like me so that’s actually a HUGE deal). In her mind, she’d been “helping” me.

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I have family and friends who are in real rough spots these days, people I sacrificed A LOT to “help.” In retrospect, I should have left it alone. By helping, I didn’t allow them to fail and learn lessons when the lessons were far smaller and the consequences for failure far less painful. I also stole the possible victory they might have enjoyed if they’d accomplished “whatever” on their own.

I didn’t mean to. I was “helping.”

So what I’m challenging all of us to do is to look for ways to give by NOT GIVING. Write the book. Don’t “fix.” Don’t “do” beyond the writing. Once the words are down, have at it.

The other day, I sent Hubby to the store instead of doing it myself. Did he shop the way I would have shopped? No. I can make a penny scream. Hubby pays retail *twitches* But he did it and I kept my mouth shut when I SO wanted to tell him how he could have saved money by doing this or that or go to this store instead of that one and NEVER THAT one, they gouge!

I also asked Hubby to help Spawn with his martial arts in the evening so I can write. And this is excruciating because I taught martial arts for years. I need to mentally duct tape my mouth shut and not correct how Hubby’s teaching him and show a “better or easier way.”

Me doing everything is not a gift. It’s control. It can disempower others. It also steals the joy of contribution and the thrill of accomplishment.

When a friend has a problem, resist the urge to fix. Instead, say, “Wow, that’s a huge challenge, but I know you can figure this out. You can do it!”

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This morning, I let Spawn make his own PBJ sandwich instead of making the “perfect” sandwich served on an adorable clean plate with decorative garnish. I even said nothing when he piled on half a jar of jelly. I merely smiled and exclaimed, “Great job!” ….then walked away before I scraped most of the jelly lump back in the jar.

Writers crumble at building a brand or doing social media and writing. Why? We fail to see we have help. Outsource. Maybe see if there are ways that we can make our family part of our publishing team. Let the teenagers find the funny memes or videos to use on a blog. Let them be part of the success instead of shouldering everything alone. Let Hubby go check out book covers and see which ones catch his eye. Maybe let a family member do some research for you. Also, let them know that when they leave you to write, they are helping write the book. They are helping the creation process.

This is a lot to ask. Of you of me…and OH DEAR GOD SPAWN IS NOW MAKING A JELLY SANDWICH WITH NO PEANUT BUTTER! HOLD ON! ….*breathes* I’m cool. Still here.

What are your thoughts? Do you suffer from Compulsive Helping Disorder? Are you struggling to let others help YOU, to ask for help? GASP! Did you ever think your helping could be hurting? I didn’t until recently so it’s okay. We are all friends here and I have jelly in my curtains and I am OK with that.

****Please pray for me *head desk*

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of AUGUST, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Will announce July’s winner later this week.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE here’s my newest social media book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. Only $6.99.

I have a new class series GOING PRO—Craft, Business and Brand. Take one or all three for a discount. Also use WANA15 for $15 off. Each class discusses the CORE ESSENTIALS. What is the essence of great writing? What is the heart of a brand/social media? What are the basics of publishing when so many options are available?

Original image via Wikimedia Commons.
Original image via Wikimedia Commons.

Back when I was in sales, we had a saying, Fail to plan and plan to fail. I have a lot of people ask how I manage to get so much done, and much of it boils down to planning and TNT. We can’t use TNT if we don’t plan.

What is TNT?

Aside from the explosive stuff Wile E. Coyote employed in his many unsuccessful attempts to snag a roadrunner, TNT is Today NOT Tomorrow (a great acronym I learned in Peg Pickering’s book, The Art of Getting It Done).

The world will never reward us for what we intended to do.

In Part One, we explored the notion of being busy versus fruitful. I also shared a neat, yet scary bit of math. We can miss out on a lot of great stuff because of five minutes wasted. Just wasting 5 minutes, 12 times a day adds up to over 340 hours in a year (over TWO WEEKS or 31.6 eight-hour work days).

Why Plan?

Planning helps us maintain focus. I can tell when I have failed to plan and make lists. For instance, I had a WAY off day yesterday. Many of you might have noticed this because it’s the first time I have failed to post a blog in four years. Anyway, I went the store (no list) and forgot the three main things I went for, yet managed to buy $100 worth of stuff. Yes, I needed the “stuff” but I REALLY needed new dishwashing gloves, dog food and envelopes.

Also, since I didn’t make a list, I forgot to bring the two things I needed to MAIL (ergo why I needed envelopes), which would have been simple to mail since the post office was on the way HOME.

Now, I have to go BACK to the store to get the envelopes and go to the post office. This is easily 45 minutes I blew because I didn’t take FIVE minutes to make a list.

Planning can feel very counterintuitive. We feel like we are wasting time sitting down and making lists and agendas. Yet, a little bit of preparation can give a major return on investment.

Your Time is Valuable: How Are You Spending It?

Time-effectiveness studies conducted by DuPont demonstrated that, for every one minute spent planning, the time required to complete an activity is reduced by 3-4 minutes. Spend 10 minutes, reduce completion time by 30-40 minutes. Spend an hour, reduce by 3-4 HOURS….When properly used, 15 minutes of planning can effectively control your time for an entire day (The Art of Getting it Done, pg 64).

Planning Prepares TNT

Ever had a day where you know you did a lot, yet you were miserable because you felt like nothing was truly accomplished? Humans tend to take the path of least resistance. We will fold laundry or tidy the fruit bowl instead of tackling the hard stuff, the stuff that scares us.

The ugly stuff usually:

Involves doing something out of our comfort zone.

Doing something out of our natural skill set.

Tackling something overwhelming in size.

Yet, the ugly stuff is also what gives us the best returns. These are what Brian Tracey calls FROGS, and they must be eaten FIRST. Unless you’re from the bayous of Louisiana, the idea of eating a frog makes us cringe…so we put it off….and off…and we will do it Monday or start next month.

BITE ME!
BITE ME!

Uneaten Frogs Cause Depression, Anxiety and Procrastination

Whenever I start feeling “depressed” I stop myself. Am I really “depressed’ or am I overwhelmed? What frogs are bouncing around out there that need to be eaten? What is scaring me? Uneaten frogs hop around in our heads and distract us. They keep us from sleeping well.

My FROGS this week? Final planning for WANACon, taxes (UGH), finalizing a paper version of Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World. 

I am a relatively new entrepreneur. WANACon is a revolutionary conference that brings all the best of a writing conference to YOUR HOME for a fraction of the cost (only $119 if you sign up before the 15th). Real, live interaction with top-tier professionals, NYTBSAs, editors, Amazon, etc.

But we have to train speakers to use the technology, recruit shepherds/moderators, and create forms to systematize our processes (NOT my area of strength).

I am new to self-publishing (part of why I recruited Amazon to present at WANACon). I’m slow because I don’t understand as much as I need to. I’m used to being fast, confident and in control. Now? I feel like a moron (but I’m learning).

Taxes scare me. I once had a panic attack on the phone with a lady from the IRS who practically had to talk me off a ledge, and they owed ME money.

Frogs Require TNT

When we plan, we need to be honest. Write down the BIG stuff, the stuff that scares you. Then employ TNT, Today Not Tomorrow. Some frogs are bigger, grosser and uglier and maybe they can’t all be eaten in one day. Break it up, then blast each part with TNT.

As an example, I was injured in college and couldn’t work for a time. I had to use credit cards to live. Debt piled up. How did I eat THAT Frog of Debt? I listed all the credit cards and payed the minimums on all except the smallest. I focused all my efforts paying off the card with the lowest amount. I worked from smallest to largest, eventually paying them all off.

Did the same with the medical bills. No, I couldn’t pay off the $3,500 ER bill, but I could pay $30 towards it. I could then pay OFF the $68 x-ray tech fee and work my way up until even the big stuff was eaten.

Why smallest to largest? Because we need to feel accomplishment or we get discouraged. Small victories add up, and give us energy and confidence. Make planning and TNT-Frog-Eating a habit? You’ll be shocked how much you will get accomplished.

What are your thoughts? Are you discouraged? Overwhelmed? Have you struggled and found a system that helped you slay your frogs?

I love hearing from you!

Since it was such a HUGE success and attendees loved it, I am rerunning the Your First Five Pages class SATURDAY EDITION TOMORROWUse the WANA15 code for 15% off. Yes, editors REALLY can tell everything they need to know about your book in five pages or less. Here’s a peek into what we see and how to fix it. Not only will this information repair your first pages, it can help you understand deeper flaws in the rest of your manuscript.

My new social media book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. Only $6.99.

WANACon, the writing conference of the future is COMING! We start with PajamaCon the evening of October 3rd and then October 4th and 5th we have some of the biggest names in publishing coming RIGHT TO YOU–including the LEGEND Les Edgerton. 

If you REGISTER NOW, you get PajamaCon and BOTH DAYS OF THE CONFERENCE (and all recordings) for $119 (regularly $149). Sign up today, because this special won’t last and seats are limited. REGISTER HERE.

Writers are no strangers to stress. Many of us work full-time day jobs and write, or we balance a family and write, or we balance a family, a day job, and school, and write. There is just so much to keep up with, and few of us are blessed enough to have a secret lab with a death ray that will vaporize intruders….though I’m still saving. Frequently, writers will whine say, “But I just don’t have tiiiime. Writing and work and blogging and social media. There isn’t enough tiiiiiiime.”

Granted, all of us are spread thinly, but the thing is we have the same 24 hours as everyone else. Often we DO have the time, we just lack focus. We don’t have a time management conflict, we have a values conflict. Very often we have plenty of time, we just have values or beliefs or weaknesses that are devouring our time.

For me?

I have always struggled with organization, and frankly, if don’t make a list, I will be sorting baby pictures or writing out greeting cards in three minutes flat. I’ve always been envious of people who run their homes with military efficiency. You know the people I am talking about; those folk who aren’t afraid of their closets and actually know what is in every drawer.

Show-offs :P .

Know Where You Are Weak

Yet, I have to say that just because something is our nature doesn’t mean that we are to be a victim to our innate shortcomings. In fact, Bob Mayer gives a wonderful exercise in his workshops. He says to look at our Myers-Briggs personality…then look at the opposite of our personality, and likely that is the area we need the most work.

I am going to take it a step farther. I believe that the opposite of our personality could be what keeps us from ever enjoying great success. That simple weakness could be where all your minutes are hemorrhaging away, bleeding out your energy unnoticed.

More on this in a second…

Procrastination is Birthed from Fear

One of my all-time favorite books is Eat That Frog—21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracey. For those of you who follow this blog, I’ve mentioned this book many times before because I love it. It WORKS. Anyway, in Eat That Frog, Tracey gives an interesting rule.

Rule: Your weakest key area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities.

Tracey advises that you sit down and write out all that is required for you to do your job. We’ll take five for our purposes today. As a writer I must:

  • Have a good imagination
  • A solid command of grammar
  • Possess a modicum of talent when it comes to writing prose
  • Have the self-discipline to write
  • Possess superior organizational ability

When it comes to the first four, I totally ROCK….and then we get to that last part *winces.* Superior organization? Oh yeah.

That.

First of all, even when you write non-fiction, information needs to flow in an optimal way or it won’t be enjoyable reading (this is part of that ever-elusive “voice” we’ve been talking about).

Same thing applies to fiction, and the way we organize and deliver the story is a HUGE part of voice. If we hope to be a successful novelist, we have to be masters at organization. We have to balance narrative plot points, character arcs, POV, setting, dialogue and keep everything straight and give it perfect timing.

The greatest part of dramatic tension is relaying the right piece of information at the right time. We have to manage all these components over the span of 60-110,000 words. This is one of the reasons many aspiring novelists never get beyond the “aspiring” part. They believe that the talent to manage all of this information is something writers are born with, when in fact it is a skill that 99% of the time must be taught, and then refined with a lot of trial, error and shots of tequila.

Writing a novel is an entirely different creature, yet many new writers mistakenly believe that they can jump from short story to novel with no problem. Sure. That is like creating a three-bar melody and then believing we are ready to compose a symphony with a 100 piece orchestra.

Not happening.

And, if I look at where I have had the largest struggles when it comes to writing…it has always been in my ability to organize (or lack of ability as the case may be).

Ah, but if we look at my Myers-Briggs, I am an ENFP, which means I am highly skilled at concepts and BIG ideas…but I fall apart when it comes to execution because I have to work extra hard to manage the small details. If we look at the opposite of my personality we get…my husband. Seriously, there should be a picture of my husband below the ISTJ.

Tigger married Spock.

ENFP (The Inspirer)——ISTJ (The Duty Fulfiller)

HUBBY: Kristen, you are being illogical.

I have creativity, imagination and enough energy to power a small city, but it is clear where I fall abysmally short. Ah, the devil is in the details.

I think this Myers Briggs test is a great exercise for getting a clear idea of what specifically is in our nature that needs to be addressed, the weakness that is the biggest time and energy suck. But I want to take it another step.

The Pareto Principle

In Eat That Frog, Tracey also introduces the Pareto  Principle. In 1895, economist Vincent Pareto noticed that society seemed to naturally divide into what he called the “vital few” and the “trivial many.” 20% of the population had all the wealth power and influence and the bottom 80% got whatever was left. He later discovered that this principle held true in all economic activity.

In short, 20% of our activity will account for 80% of our results.

This means that if we have a list of ten things to do, TWO of those items will be worth as much if not more than the other eight combined. But can you guess which items we are most likely to procrastinate on doing? The items that will cause us the most stress and sap most of our energy? Right. The two activities that could make the most difference. We are also most likely to procrastinate where we are weak.

Can you guess where I procrastinate? Yep, any activity that requires organizational skills. Whether it is plotting my novel or filing invoices, I do everything I can to get out of doing the chores that require I operate where I am weak. Yet, remember the rule I began with?

Your weakest key area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities.

This rule basically says that if I do not figure out a way to mitigate or correct my greatest weakness, that it will always be my single greatest limiting factor.

So What Can We Do?

First, buy a copy of Eat That Frog. LOVE this book and use its principles to get A LOT of work done. See, knowledge is power and once we become aware of our limiting factors, then we can take action. We aren’t at the mercy of our nature.

I know organization will never come natural to me, but it does come naturally to my mother, my sister-in-law, and my husband. When I need a system worked out for me, I have learned that I don’t have to do everything. I can delegate. GASP! I know! Cool, right? This frees me up to focus where I am strongest, which will make me more productive, which will alleviate stress.

Of course, delegating isn’t one of those things I do well, naturally either, so I have to surround myself with friends who will slap me correct me if I fail to delegate properly.

Hi, Piper! Hi, Ingrid! Hi Jenny!

I also make lists every day and no longer try to just “keep it in my head.” I then look at that list and whatever item makes me cringe when I read it (FROGS)? That is what I do first. Remember, 20% of our activity is going to account for 80% of our results.

When I tackle the toughest items first, I actually get more accomplished overall.

How?

When we do the toughest jobs first, we get an endorphin rush from the sense of accomplishment. Also, since our toughest jobs are out of the way, the other “less important” chores go faster since we aren’t dragging our feet dreading the FROGS.

And how does this apply to writing? Well, I know that my prose is strong and I suffer no lack of imagination, BUT I do not naturally plot well. I used to get lost in the details and had a tough time keeping everything straight.  This is why most of the writing books I now buy have to do with various ways to plot.

Instead of reading book after book studying my strengths (dialogue), I started to focus more on my weak areas, because those areas would be my limiting factor if left unaddressed. I also know that my writing will be faster and cleaner and require fewer revisions if I can strengthen this weak area. I also surround myself with fellow writers who are natural plotters because they can add even more strength to my area of weakness.

We Can’t Change What We Won’t Face

What is your weak writing area? Work on that FIRST. Find fellow writers who are strong where you are weak. #MyWANA is a good place to start.

Same in life and business. What is your weakness? Is it organization? Confrontation? Community? We don’t need to remake our personalities, and I do believe we should work to make the most of our strengths, but we must acknowledge and account for our weaknesses. Some weaknesses we can and must conquer if we want to be successful. Fear is a good example.

Maybe the two things I don’t want to do are because I fear rejection. Well, the best way to conquer a fear is to face a fear. Sometimes the only way out is through.

Other weaknesses? Those might be best delegated. I know I will never be highly organized. My brain doesn’t work that way, BUT I can delegate to people who are and, odds are, if they are good at my weakness then I am good at theirs. They help me and I can help them and then we are always working in the areas where we are strongest. TEAM.

Fact is, until we take an inventory, we can’t make a plan. Again, knowledge is power.

So what are some issues you guys struggle with and how do you deal with them? Any books or resources you can recommend? Are you a master at organization and maybe can offer tips? Or, are you like me? A junk drawer junkie? How do you overcome the clutter?

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

One of the greatest parts of my job is that I am so blessed to be surrounded by people more talented than I am…so I can learn. Who Dares Wins Publishing makes this easy, and that is why I love having my fellow WDW authors as guest bloggers. You guys might remember Natalie Markey. Well, she’s back! And she is going to teach us a critical skill for success in any field, but especially in the writing/publishing field. TIME MANAGEMENT! Oy vay! How I struggle with this…which is why I seek out experts. Her bio is at the bottom of the page, and so are links to buy her book.

Today, I am going to share Natalie with you guys. Take it away!

***

Everyone is trying to be many people at once. I have the writer me, the wife, me, the mommy me, the housekeeper me, and well you get the idea. But how can you take everything that you are and cook it all up to create the perfect time management solution mold for you?

No one said life was easy—it’s hard. So are soufflés! I love to cook and still mastering a soufflé is very much a work in progress! We are all chefs struggling to find the right ingredients for life. How can you master that perfect soufflé?

It is possible to have it all and keep that scary to-do list at bay. How you may ask? Below is how I do it on most days while caring for an active toddler, a demanding dog and two bunnies.

1. Day of Cleaning- Before you can really take on your life’s goals (all of them) you need to have a clean space to accomplish them in. This is the hardest part for some. It helps me greatly to just assign a big clean day once a month. This way nothing gets too out of hand. Now I will still put stuff away and do some cleaning each week normally as I wrap things up for a day. However, a good clean should get a full day for the main reason, as it will have your entire focus. By assigning a day you won’t be feeling pressured to get back to your WIP or write next week’s blog posts. You won’t feel bad putting those things off because they weren’t scheduled for that day. By having a clean work space you can find things easier, move around with ease and make the most of all your time.

2. Reasonable To Do List- I’m a fan of lists. Many people are but keep your list reasonable. You know realistically how much you can do. Don’t exceed that expectation. If you create an impossible to accomplish to do list then you will only be depressed when it doesn’t get done. I try to put at least 2 extra items more than what I think I can get done. This way if I make more time I can always strive for the whole list but if these items need to moved to the following day then it won’t be a big deal.

3. A Well Thought Out List of Goals- Always keep your goals in mind. What do you really want? Don’t get so bogged down with social media and other projects that you lose sight of your big picture.

4. Priority List- It’s good to have a to do list but if there is no order to that list it could be more troublesome than helpful. In all aspect of life you need to do some things before other things. Wednesday’s is our trash day. If I waited until I met my daily word count before taking the trash out then I could miss trash day. It is just as important to prioritize with your writing as it is to prioritize with other areas of your life.

5. Spiral– For daily notes. Keep track of where you stopped when you must run into that meeting or when the baby wakes up from naptime. This will save time when you can return to writing. The days of trying to find where you left off are over! I use my daily notebook as a place to keep any ideas or distractive thoughts that pop into my head as well.

The other day I had a great idea for a scene later in my WIP. Instead of jumping to that scene or forgetting the idea I wrote it all down and then quickly returned to the original scene I was working on. It is important to stick to your goals and stay on track. Ideas are great but don’t let them take over your work!

6. Extra Pens- Or anything that you may need but frequently lose. I am always losing pens so rather chasing them around the house and wasting time, I always keep extras by my side so I can avoid a search. Think about what supplies you need to get your work accomplished and keep them close at hand to avoid getting up and trying to find them.

7. A Few Dabs of Non-Writerly Passions- Discover you non-writerly passions and use them to help ease your writing stress. Not only can doing the things you love ease stress but it can also save you some time. If you are stressing over a scene sometimes walking away from it is the best way to handle the problem.

What do you love other than writing? I love cooking, reading, and caring for my pets. For this example I’m going to talk about cooking. I love cooking (I bet you figured from my references.) at my house I cooks all the meals except for the times my husband has time to grill with his work schedule. Dinner must get made at some point so that’s what I do when I get stuck on a scene or I need a break from writing. I can relax, make dinner and return to my writing with fresh eyes. This really saves time!

You can rise to greatness, just as your soufflé can rise to yumminess. Just like you know what foods you like, know what routine works best for you. If you don’t know then I advise keeping a journal and tracking what time of day you do various tasks. Are you effective at doing that task at that time of day? Until you have the answers don’t be afraid to experiment. You don’t always have to follow the recipe! Figure out what your time management tastes are make it work for you.

And you can think you’ve found the best way to manage time and then still hit snags. Remember I said in the intro to this post, “I do it on MOST days.” Life happens. My dad was diagnosed with heart failure on December 27. That was not in my plan. Spending time at the hospital during his surgery was not a neat bullet point on my to do list. Things did not get done. While being out of town for a month and half and not being able to write too much I fell horribly behind in my non-fiction and it took me a while to return to my groove.

Life happens. Sometimes the soufflé burns. Always refer to your priority list and remember what needs to happen first if you can only do one thing.

How did you find the best time management “recipe” for you?

***

Thanks Natalie! So what are your biggest time management issues, questions, problems? Everyone who shows Natalie some comment love today gets double entries for my critique prize.

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

Natalie C. Markey is a veteran freelance journalist of ten years. She is the author of ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog.’  In addition to multiple freelance contracts, she continues to write non-fiction as well as young adult and middle grade fiction. Markey speaks professionally about dogs from an owner’s perspective as well as teaching on writing issues like how to have it all as a writer and a mother and time management for the busy writer.  A native Texan, Markey currently lives in an Arkansas forest with her supportive husband, daughter, dog and two rabbits.  Follow her at www.NatalieCMarkey.com @NatalieCMarkey Pen to Publish blog