Time-Savers for Writers: Ways to Automate and Delegate

For two weeks this summer, I got to set aside other writing projects to focus on transmedia storytelling. (I know, I know…you never would have guessed!) In case you’re curious, here’s a screenshot of what I’ve been working on (and will *hopefully* unveil before the year’s end–fingers crossed!!):


It was pretty darned exciting: my brother-in-law flew into town to help with website and database coding and my husband/co-conspirator and story inventor took time off work to help with writing, story structure, and all the little details involved in telling a story through multiple media channels. We started each day early with an update on where we all were and worked pretty much nonstop, bouncing ideas off each other, brainstorming, troubleshooting, critiquing…

Sounds like fun, right? It was! It was also a ton of work. And a ton of time. We only had two weeks together, and needed to make the most of it.

Can you say BUSY? Yes, that would describe us!

The truth is, though, we writers are often usually busy. Even if life and work obligations don’t fill up your to-do list, don’t you find yourself cramming in as much as possible, because there are so many cool ideas to explore, so many projects you want to work on? Or maybe you’re simply busy because it’s November now, and with or without NaNoWriMo to fill your spare time, this time of year can easily get out of hand.

Whatever the cause of your busy-ness, I thought you might appreciate some of the time-savers that help me stay afloat when my schedule gets crazier than usual :).
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Should You Blog Before Publication? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

How much time do you spend online?

Last week, I ran a poll asking readers how many hours they spent doing online “platform-building” activities each week.

h.koppdelaney-5 Photo Credit

The (currently) winning choice on this poll?

Are you kidding? I don’t track my time online! I don’t even want to know.

It prompted an interesting discussion in the comments, where you all raised a lot of excellent questions about the social media versus rest-of-writing-life balance. Readers asked questions such as

  • Does my blog reach my target audience (that is, the people who will purchase my products or services) or only my peers?
  • Am I spending so much time platform-building that it’s taking time from book writing?
  • Should I set a timer for my online activities?
  • Or should I set online-free zones?
  • Do blog challenges sap too much of my creative energy?

Have you ever been plagued by these sorts of questions? I know I have!

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Finding Time for Writing…at the Wild Writers

This week I’m blogging about Finding Time for Writing: the Power of Small Assignments over at the Wild Writers—because heaven knows there’s not time for much else this week! Small assignments are the ONLY way I’m keeping my head in the writing game, so I don’t completely lose momentum by the New Year.

Here’s a teaser:

As I write this, I’m sitting in my living room before an undecorated Christmas tree, with my kiddo whistling Christmas carols as he puts together the Lego train that will circle the tree—and I’m coughing counterpoint to the music, sick with a nasty case of bronchitis that’s knocked me out for the past few days. The house is a mess, the presents aren’t wrapped, and there definitelyisn’t time to write.


Not exactly. That used to be my view of situations such as these…but since a dose of writing time is my best antidote for stress and overwhelm, I’ve got a few  tricks up my sleeves for sneaking in a bit of writing even when my world gets topsy-turvey.  Inspired by Heather Sellers’ Page After Page, here are some “small assignments”—writing tasks that take me anywhere from 5-55 minutes—that help me get my daily writing dose even during the craziest times of year. Hope they help you, too!

Click on over for 26 ideas on how to insert a little bit of writing pick-me-up time into even the craziest schedule.

:) Cheryl

cheryl snow

It’s That Most Wonderful Time…for Writing?

I LOVE this time of year—the time with family, picking out those perfect gifts to give, playing in the snow, baking cookies….and I hate it a bit, too, for all the same reasons—the stress of travel, picking out gifts, running errands, dealing with snow storms, trying to maintain a decent diet in the face of cookies and appetizers and other yummy waistline-builders.

HikingArtist-dot-comIn the midst of all this, finding time for writing sometimes feels impossible. I certainly am finding myself more strapped for time to write, read, critique, blog, and Tweet than usual! My NaNoWriMo novel was derailed this year (alas), I haven’t begun Christmas shopping, I still haven’t finished unpacking from our Thanksgiving trip, and laundry is starting to creep into my writing time.

So how does a busy writer do it all?

My friend Pam asked this very question over on the Wild Writers blog a few weeks ago, and I really liked her answer: you don’t (do it all, that is.) It’s easy to be hard on ourselves for failing to keep up on blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and let’s not forget the all-important WIP, especially because as you read everyone else’s blogs, FB updates, and Tweets, it might sound like everyone else is all happy-happy, joy-joy, singing carols and munching sweets and wrapping gifts in color-coded wrapping paper. Theoretically.

But let’s not forget that people tend to put their best face forward in those venues. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—who wants to read griping?—but it’s worth remembering if you find yourself comparing a crazy, stressed-out afternoon to someone else’s ever-cheery updates.

So—if there are any others reading this with the bad habit of comparing yourself to others—I think it’s time for an end-of-the year vow to STOP COMPARING and start figuring out what works for us. We don’t have to do it all.

At least, not all at the same time :-).

My vow for December: I won’t compare my efforts and accomplishments with those of other people.

What’s yours?