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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dear Scrambling Writer

Dear Chrys,

I love all of this [writing, blogging, critiquing, reviewing] but I seem to be scrambling to keep up. Does that ever happen to you?


Dear Scrambling Writer,

Yes, it does happen to me. This past April I was doing the A to Z Challenge, co-hosting here at Unicorn Bell, and preparing for two eBook releases and a blog tour. I had also just moved to another city and was celebrating a birthday. I was scrambling to keep up for a while there, but by planning ahead and taking care of my biggest responsibilities first, I was able to stay afloat.

Here are 4 strategies to help all scrambling authors out there:

1.  Cut back on your obligations.

You don’t have to critique, beta read, or review another’s work. I only beta read for writers who have helped me in the past, or if I really, really want to be part of someone’s project, even in this small way. And I only commit if I have the time.

I also never accept review requests and only review someone’s book when I get to it on my TBR list. Occasionally I sign up to review a new book before its release but that is only if I am a fan of the author and again...if I have the time.

If you don’t have the time, politely decline the requests you get to critique and review.

2. Schedule blog posts.

Brainstorm some blog post ideas. If you think about what you normally talking about on your blog (writing, publishing, gardening, parenting, etc.), you should be able to come up with several subjects. Then think about your book or WIP. Can you share a short excerpt or create an article around the theme, setting, or your characters?

Once you have some ideas, spend a day or two writing out several posts. When you’re done, schedule them to go on your blog. This allows you to stay current on your blog and not have to worry about coming up with something last minute.

Image from Wikimedia

3. Make a checklist.

You can do this for each day like I used to or for the week. Put the item that needs you attention first thing in the morning at the top and continue down to the item that could wait until later in the day/week. Then make sure to follow that checklist!
TIP: Get your blogging and social media out of the way first thing so you can focus on your writing for the rest of the day. Some say not to do this, but I find if I don’t check my blog, email, and social media and do the things I need to do with those, it’ll be on my mind, making writing impossible.
4. Ask for help.

If you are drowning and can’t find time to blog, open your blog to guests. You can schedule 1-3 guests a week. They can create an article about a topic you usually blog about or promote their work.

You can also ask your family to take some things off your hands around the house to open up more time for you.

For more tips on how to save time, if you feel as though you have very little of it: Dear Time-Strapped Writer 


Chrys Fey

QUESTIONS: Are you scrambling with all of your writing duties? How do you stay afloat?

Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.

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Leandra Wallace said...

Great tips! I always do my email/social media first too, otherwise I'm thinking about what could have shown up overnight that I'm missing. =)

Jess said...

Love this advice! I tried to pre-schedule a post last night (the first time I've tried this), for something that was supposed to go live at a certain time this morning, and it didn't work (boo!). I'll have to figure out what went wrong and try again, because you're right, that (in theory, if you're better at technology than me :)) can totally reduce last-minute posting stress. Thanks for all the tips!

Christine Rains said...

This is fantastic advice. I know the feeling of scrambling, never having enough time. Scheduling really does help and knowing it's okay to take a break from blogging.

Chrys Fey said...

@Leandra, exactly! I have to get it out of the way.

@Jess, oh, shucks! Did you hit "publish" after putting in the date and time? It'll only schedule the post to go live if you hit "publish." You're welcome! Thanks for visiting! :)

@Christine, yup! Scheduling and stepping back from some duties that you can put on pause for a while always help.

Anonymous said...

Great tips. To-do lists I find super helpful in I can see what needs to be done and focus instead of my mind running around trying to remember what I wanted to get done.

Liz A. said...

I also schedule my blog posts ahead. So much goes on in a given week that it's nice not to have to worry about posting something every day. (And you don't have to post every day. Once a week is plenty if someone is really strapped for time.)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great tips, Chrys! Sometimes, taking time out from obligations can help, if it's possible. :)

Chrys Fey said...

@Patricia, I love to-do lists! :D

@Liz, exactly. I don't even post every day on my blog. Three times a week for me and one of those is for a guest. Limiting the number of times you blog a week can definitely help reduce stress.

@Tyrean, Thanks! It sure can help. :)

Huntress said...

Another bookmarked post.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tips. We can only do so much. I've cut back on things so I'm able to handle other obligations.

Misha Gerrick said...

Great tips! I'm thinking about getting into the scheduling groove, because my blog tour was so calm for almost a month because everything was written ahead.

Chrys Fey said...

@Huntress, awesome!

@Medeia, cutting back is the best thing to do.

@Misha, thanks! I think the scheduling groove will work well for you. :)

Melissa Sugar said...

Excellent tips. I always feel like I'm scrambling. There just never seems to be enough time in the day for work, kids, after school activities, exercise, family, meals, housecleaning , social media, blogging , commenting ... Oh yes , I knew I left something important out ... and writing . Something or someone is always neglected. I do realize that I'm at fault for wasting time. It happens every time I get on the Internet. I start off reading one article for let's say research for my novel. Inside that post I find links to other posts that interest me even if they have nothing to do with the issue I'm researching. Two hours later and a hundred clicks later, I'm reading an article that I have no idea how or why I arrived on said page. I have to develop better self restriction skills.
Your tips make a lot of sense and intend to implement at least two of them. Thanks for the advice.

Chrys Fey said...

@Melissa, the Internet is a huge time suck and really does aid in procrastination. I hope these strategies help you! :)

Elizabeth said...

Great advice, Chrys! I agree with your tip on #3, if I don't get to comments/social media first, it's on my mind the rest of the day and I may not get back to it.

Chrys Fey said...

@Elizabeth, thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one like that. :)