Don’t Let Time Pass You By

As writers, we each face our own struggles.  I tend to think a lot of my issues could be alleviated if I had more time in the day. Seeing as how I don’t have access to a magical hourglass, I had to consider other options.  The one that screamed for my attention was time management.  My situation is not unique.  Like many of you, I work full time.  That leaves a few short hours a day to take care of my home/family, exercise, write and grow my audience.

Building my author platform

It’s hard.

Who knew there would be so much effort required?  I thought writing the novel was supposed to be the most difficult part. Imagine my surprise when I realized I needed a twitter account, a Facebook author page, a blog, etc.

It’s time consuming.

Each plank in the platform comes from the connections we make.  Those connections take time to cultivate.  That means we reach beyond ourselves.  We engage others.  We listen to their ideas. We share ours.  In short, being a good neighbor requires being social.

But – here’s the catch

Building my platform was taking too much of my writing time.  Seriously.  It was so easy to get caught up in reading the posts on certain Facebook pages.  And then there was Pinterest. My goodness – I was on my way to becoming a “Pinning” junkie.  I have boards dedicated to my blog, to interesting faces, beautiful places – things that may or may not inspire scenes in future stories.  There’s boards dedicated to my books.  I’m sure you get the picture.  😉

I needed to get a handle on my socializing…

I love my blog.  I love the blogging community.  I decided that my blog would become the hub of my social media/platform building efforts.

Blog Hub

This is still a work in progress.  But it has helped ease the stress of coming up with so many new ideas for posting to the different social media sites.  Take my Facebook Author page – I guess I’m a bit ambivalent when it comes to this page.  I hate feeling as though I’m shouting Look At Me! and my Facebook author page makes me feel that way.  By sharing my blog, I have activity on my page without bashing people over the head with Buy My Book posts.

There’s still the Time Management thing…

This requires discipline and lots of it.  I’m not the most disciplined person.  I have a tendency to fly by the seat of my pants – which is probably why I’m a pantzer and not a plotter.  To help keep myself on task, I came up with a schedule. It’s helped by making me more mindful of my time.  I decided to limit my interactions to about 30 minutes an evening.  That means I have to choose which sites/communities I am going to visit.  Take Mondays, for example.  I’ll visit blogs that I follow as well as Twitter.  Tuesdays will be G+ communities and maybe a stop at my Facebook Author page.  It’s not a perfect plan but it is helping me stay focused and freeing up my time.

schedule

Not sure where the lines that separate Thursday, Friday, and Saturday went…

I’m always looking for new ideas… What are you doing to maximize your writing time?

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14 comments

  1. Oh my word, you just said everything I’ve been feeling lately! Things have become a lot easier after I started concentrating on the blog and linked it to all the other social media! Such good advice!

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  2. Wow! That’s pretty amazing! I’ve been considering the same thing. How do you grow your online presence, write, work, and all the other important pieces of life? You’ve given some great ideas. That’s an amazing starting point. I gather this is new for you. See how it goes over the next couple of weeks. You’ll come up with tweaks along the way.

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  3. I think it all comes down to knowing YOU. what YOU are capable of and what you need for yourself. I like your “table” and it shows self discipline which is what any self employed ANYONE needs. It shows, what, where, and when you can do your thing. I find that i cannot work when I am tense. That means if anyone or anything out of my norm comes into my space, I cannot work. Also – I HAVE to play solitare before I write and I HAVE to win at least 2 games. I know– it is weird- oh well. I DON’T CARE. I know what turns the key to start my writing “engine.” Writing is such a personal and individual thing – we can all offer advice to other writers, but I think it comes down to the individual KNOWING themselves and what turns their own personal engine.

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  4. Social media calendar. For you, I would recommend Post Planner, and it’s very inexpensive. Take 3 hours a week and set that aside to schedule your posts for the week. Post Planner not only lets you add in your RSS feeds to post, you can add in other FB and Twitter accounts to find things. It has built in image finders, recommendations for status ideas, questions, polls, quotes, etc. that you can just repost on a schedule. You can set up schedules for each social media channel by day or overall. And you can schedule to multiple channels at once.

    Here’s what I’ve learned. If you have back content that’s evergreen, repost that stuff. You don’t have to be posting new stuff all the time. Keep a spreadsheet of it, or use Post Planner, or Buffer or whatever to analyze your top stuff and pop it over for posting it again in any channel you want.

    I usually do this for my clients (and there’s no reason you can’t do this yourself):

    Post planner (I’m doing this today for a client):

    1. Planning out 2 tweets / day for the next 7 days
    2. Planning out 2 FB posts / day for the next 7 days, comprised of articles, visuals (both found and proprietary–ones I create), and relevant videos.
    3. I take one FB post for each day and post it to G+.
    4. 15-20% of what I post to Twitter is going to be promotional, so those are repost tweets with different text. So that’s not original content.

    I don’t work for Post Planner, nor do I syndicate or guest post for them. I also use Buffer and Hootsuite, but I have many different clients with many different needs, and I use Hootsuite to publish to G+, and Buffer because I can post to Pinterest easily.

    So make it easy. If you just post to FB and Twitter, use Post Planner because it has really cool recommendations for visuals, posts, quotes, fill in the blank and status ideas all built in. And you can build your own from FB pages, twitter ids, and other blogs right there. And it’s not expensive at all.

    If you really need to schedule Pinterest, just add on Buffer. I promise you the money you spend is well worth your time of just 3 hours per week.

    If you want to schedule out your G+ stuff, just get the free Chrome extension called “Do Share”. I love it. Free, people. Free!

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    1. I’ve never heard of post planner but I’m going to check it out. Thanks for sharing so much information. I will definitely use your suggestions. One of the first things I’m going to do is go back to old posts and see what is still relevant.

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  5. Sorry, one additional thing I didn’t address.

    Setting aside the 3 hours a week to do the above will leave time to set aside during the week to attend a twitter chat or two, or to engage with your audience on your chosen platforms without feeling stressed. That’s always good, right? 🙂

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