Guest Post Today!
Today we have a special treat. New cozy mystery author Gilian Baker is here with a helpful post about how to budget your time—something that’s a constant struggle for me. Details about her book and how to get in touch with Gilian are at the bottom of the post. Her new book, Blogging is Murder is now available at Amazon.
I’ll be back soon with a new blog post. —Janice
How to Budget your Time between other Projects and Your Writing
by Gilian Baker
Budgeting time for writing, I’ve found, is just like budgeting for anything else that’s important to you. It can’t be something that only happens if you have the time and energy at the end of the day. You have to make it happen. But how? These are the techniques I’ve found most helpful.
Switching up Mindset
Since I’m still new at publishing my cozy mysteries, I have a “day job,” like most new authors. I’m a freelance writer, among other things, so I work a lot. When I decided to complete my first book, Blogging is Murder, it felt like too much fun to be labeled work. So, it ended up getting put at the end of my list every day. With a deadline for publication looming, I had to change my mindset and fast! If authoring fiction was going to be another branch of my writing business, I had to make it a priority, not something I did when I had time. (I never did.)
Most Important Task List Making (MITs)
I’m famous (or is that infamous?) for my list-making prowess. I make lists for everything, and then I combine them onto a master list. (Yes, I’m serious.) Making an MIT list each day is a must to ensure I get around to plotting murder on a regular basis. Without this focused list of three or four tasks, it’s too easy to get sidetracked on other projects that are important, but not as urgent as meeting a book deadline.
In Blogging is Murder, my protagonist, blogger Jade Blackwell, uses her MIT lists to make sure she gets her work done while helping get her friend off the hook for a murder she didn’t commit. If Jade and I didn’t use MIT lists, she wouldn’t have her own series and her friend, Liz would be serving a life sentence.
As with lists, I must schedule things into my week or they just won’t get done. This even includes doing fun things like meeting friends for lunch and going to yoga class. I kick it old school with a paper planner and a big desk calendar. I also have a schedule for client work, just like Jade does. She and I both use an online project management system to keep ahead of our work.
I’ve learned that writing my schedule in pen stresses me out, so now I write it in pencil. Only “today-or-never’s” get added in ink. That little trick helps me be flexible so I get it all done, but not stress myself out too much.
Outsourcing and Project Management
Many online entrepreneurs and authors outsource work to freelancers. Like Jade, I have a virtual assistant (VA) and freelance writers I contract work out to. As an author, I also have a publicist who manages my marketing tasks, a graphic designer who makes my book covers, etc. and an editor who proofs my books before they are published.
Outsourcing time-consuming tasks makes sure I have time to actually sleep.
Jade also has a VA who performs a lot of different tasks for her, including managing her team of writers. Readers meet Jade’s VA, Geena, in the first book and will get to know her better throughout the series.
If you’d like to see how Jade juggles her days between blogging and sleuthing, grab a copy of Blogging is Murder, the first book in the Jade Blackwell Mysteries series.