Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Writing Wednesday - Getting Organized

Recently, my DH gave me the gift of a lifetime - to retire from the "day job" and dedicate my time to becoming a serious author. Sounds great, right?

For the past three months I've been depressed and overwhelmed. The entire task of organizing my life as an author seemed too big - there were so many things to worry about. Promotion. Submissions. Self publish or traditional. Social networking - for a shy introvert, that was the worst.

To keep my mind busy, I wrote and finished a book. But then I had to face reality. Now I have yet ANOTHER book, joining half a dozen others in folders on my laptop. I can't keep writing and ignoring the rest. I took two classes through my writing groups. One was for social media, the other for self publishing. After reading some of the assignments, I realized I could achieve peace of mind by doing one simple thing: making a spreadsheet, to help me keep track of what I'm doing.

You can all design yours to fit your needs, but these are my tabs:

Submissions - I have a list of agents, contact info, their specific guidelines and I can track when I sent and when I hear back from them
2013 Goals - this includes my daily writing goals, submission goals and blogging goals. Also, specific weekly and monthly goals.
5 Year Goals - Self explanatory - where I would like to see my career in five years.
Expenses - I like to buy small promo items to hand out. This also includes conferences, contests, etc.
Income - This is still blank for 2013. I do have a few books published by small presses, but I need to get more out there (back to 2013 goals).
Blogs I Follow - So I can keep track of blogs in my genre that I will follow and comment on without feeling overwhelmed.
My Books - A page to keep track of my titles and the progress (word count) of all WIP's.
Book Reviewers - If you want to be noticed on Amazon, the more reviews the better. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of review sites out there. Make a list, get your books out there.
Twitter - I made a list of people in my genre who I wanted to keep in touch with, to follow and re-post their tweets.

Every author needs to establish a platform. Being social is a big part of that. I know it can seem daunting. That's why I suggest the spreadsheet - you can see your goals in a black and white, quantitative way.

I hope this helps! I'd love if you would share some of your tools on keeping organized.

See you for Foodie Friday!



  1. It sounds like such an undertaking. But, you can do it. Sounds like you have an amazing start and setup going. :) So glad you get to write full time. :) I'm looking forward to more to come from you! :)

    I use time as well. When doing blogging and twitter and such, I set times. I do better with a schedule. Keeps me going. But there are a few things I will allow going over time frames, writing of course is one of them. ;) It can take the blogging time. lol. Although, I make up for the missed time on another day. :) It all works out in the end.

    Best of luck to you!!

    1. Thanks, Melissa. You're right. I need to schedule specific times for different things. I love your blog posts, I imagine they take a lot of time.

    2. Oh thank you Sharron. So glad you enjoy stopping by. And yea, they do take time, but I've figured out how to squeeze it in...pretty much all the time. :)

      I'm such a schedule person, it really helps me get through the day.

  2. I have most of those in several different Spreadsheets and Documents.

    I have a submission spreadsheet, Review spreadsheet, Promotional spreadsheet (I made promotion blogs different from review blogs to keep them straight in my head and many overlap but some don't.)

    Expenses I kinda keep the receipts together in a folder and collate them at tax time. (yeah kinda lazy but there is only so much time a day to worry about stuff.) I do have a spreadsheet for my royalty statements from my short epub work. It's kinda nice to see some income even when you can only buy a happy meal with it. I also keep a Word Document listing all my books and their published info - cover, pub date, publishing house, etc.

    My most important documents to me are really my storyboards in Curio for Mac and my word tracking spreadsheets that records time spent and words written for each story and one that records the days totals.

    1. Wow, Beth, you sound very organized! I never thought of doing a separate spreadsheet for each thing - I have all of my tasks on one, on different pages. But I can already see where this may become to much info for one spreadsheet. I need to use storyboards. I've been using spreadsheets to outline my books, but I think storyboards would provide a better visual. I appreciate you sharing!

  3. If you want to get more BLOG exposure, look into It 's a blog amplification network. Find a group with whom you have something in common.

    It sounds like a great plan. It's important to write the books, but it helps if readers get to discover you. :-)

    1. Amen, Eliza. You've been telling me to do these things for ages! You were right, of course! I've been meaning to check out - I'll add it to my spreadsheet! :)