Time management is a real biggie for me. There is always so much to do. There is always a new banner ad to design, another radio show needs a promo ad, there’s guests to book on the radio show and outlines for their interviews to create… writing articles for newsletters or blogs… emails popping in every few minutes with a request to provide articles, an interview or networking opportunity. Keeping records of all of this and making sure that everyone has been followed up on, while finding new contacts, new opportunities to reach an audience that has not yet heard of our work – this can eat up a lot of time. I find it can be difficult to let some opportunities pass by, since I would love to do them all but of course, reality sets in and I do realize I cannot do it all.
Part of the struggle with time management is keeping up with the new technologies, each of these takes a little time to become accustomed to. New book releases are the most time constraining tasks that a writer will experience. We need to find patience through this busy time and know that there will be time for writing again soon enough. Besides being patient, keeping good records is essential to ensuring nothing is left behind along the way.
Let me walk you through my day: As soon as my coffee is poured in the morning after breakfast, I am ready for the office. So my day can start at 7 AM and can go to long into the evening. However, I also help my husband run Drum-it’s other endeavors, look after our yard and garden and do most of the household duties. On top of this I have 2 dogs to maintain – so I find myself doing a few hours here, a few hours there … kind of intertwining everything, finding a way to balance it all.
Recordkeeping is the best thing that ever happened to me. Whenever I have queried a media contact, for instance, I'll head over to the Excel file where I'll record brief information on name of the media, the contact, the email/web address and then brief notes to myself in the Notes column - such how we connected and what was said. I use color-coding for easy referral so that I can see at a glance who needs a follow-up, whether a project is completed but not yet published, and so on. Every 3 months or so I go through this file and eliminate all the rows that have no colors (this means that if I have not assigned a color code, there was no response to my query) because I no longer have a need to keep a record of those contacts. At the same time, I'll do any follow-ups that I can.
Research is key for efficiency in my writing process. I do tons of research, glean the best from it, add my own personal twist and then tweak it to suit the audience the project is intended for. Everything is researched… the content itself, the audience, the publication – their departments – and their staff… then comes the promotion aspects. This way, I have a brief plan of action for each project.
It sounds complicated, but the whole thing takes just a little effort; the outline and record-keeping aspects of a writer's career can make all the difference when it comes to doing things efficiently, effectively, and at a comfortable pace.
~ Written by Lillian Brummet; co-author of Trash Talk, author of Towards Understanding and co-author of Purple Snowflake Marketing (a book promotion guide); host of the Conscious Discussions talk radio show and owner of the Brummet’s Conscious Blog: www.brummet.ca