Time Management Tips for Published Authors
Do you have a few books under your belt but having a tough time trying to manage all the things, right?
There’s this added pressure now that you have a few books out. You have to keep up that marketing momentum. Make that publishing deadline. Show up for your tribe. Do all the marketing things that got you to this level.
Yeah, there's a lot going on.
So what do we do? How can we really manage all these things while maintaining our sanity?
It really starts with mindset and self-care. In order for us to really make the best decisions for our business, we need to be mentally and physically able to do that. You have to be in the right headspace to approach any problems or struggles that we're having. We need to be physically able to write those books, attend events, or conduct author interviews.
You don't want to come down with a cold or be sick if you have to be like on a live chat, right?
At the end of the day, you’re the heart of your writer business. You have to make sure that you are in the best shape ever.
How can you get yourself in the right mindset to manage your writer business?
We have to get rid of this idea that we can balance writing and marketing.
Balance does not exist.
We hear a lot about work and life balance. I used to believe in that concept until I became a single mom. I learned the hard way that balance doesn't exist. There's going to be times where certain things will take high priority and everything else has to take a back seat. You may be more focused on writing and certain marketing tasks may have to wait, especially if you're under deadline.
If you’re getting close to a book launch, then the marketing has to ramp up and writing may have to wait until that’s over. Your workload will ebb and flow along with your energies and priorities.
And it's okay!
If you try to give 100% to everything all of the time, you’re just going to drive yourself crazy.
How Can an Established Author Manage Writing and Marketing Their Books?
Plan Your Day
And I know it seems super simple but when we keep all of the things we need to do in our brains, we can get stressed and overwhelmed. Just as you would sit and write out book ideas, flesh out characters, and plot out scenes – treat your to-do list in the same way.
Write it out all of your tasks so you can physically see what you have going on for your day. My day job authors may be very familiar with this because you always have to plan your business around your day job. But also I find that a lot of full-time authors also struggle with this because now they have all of this time, right? They don't know exactly what it is they should be focusing on for the day and they’re less productive.
That’s why it pays to take the time out whether the night before or in the morning to really sit down and plan your day. I have this little special notebook where I list what I’m working on each day. I keep with me because it helps me stay focused on what I need to work on instead of getting the squirrel syndrome where I want to do all the shiny things.
I know this can be so hard for people to do. But when you're working on so many different things at the same time, it's especially important to have everything in its place. You don't want to waste time looking for stuff. If you’re working on a book promo projecting, you don't want to waste time hunting images, blurbs, or caption copies. You want to have that all in an organized folder either on your desktop or in Google Docs, which is my personal favorite.
Another part of staying organized is keeping a calendar. Writing deadlines, giveaway dates, when to turn a draft into an editor, when to book a cover designer, when to pay a freelancer – you want to have all of this on the calendar. Whether it's digital one or a paper planner, keep some sort of calendar. So you can stay organized and on top of all these dates and deadlines.
Beware of Busy Work
If you’re full time and you have all day to devote to your business, it’s super easy to fall into the busy work trap. When figuring out what it is you really should be working on, ask yourself: Does this task move business forward?
What are some tasks that’ll move your business forward?
Writing that next book
Ads or promos that will drive sales
Giveaways that will expand your tribe
These are things that will help you grow that tribe, get your book out there, and build your author platform.
What does busy work look like?
Changing the colors on your website for the 20th time
Scrolling on Instagram for hours
Trying to find a new font to use on a graphic
Posting to every single social media platform all the time
It’s super easy to fall into the busy work trap because you know, our brains are wired to do the things that are easy. Do you write another chapter or scroll on Instagram? Scrolling on Instagram is so much easier, but we're building a business. You’re at a point where you need to become more disciplined, streamline your work, and really be able to focus on those big things.
What happens when you do have to focus on more projects but there's still other smaller tasks that still need to be done on a regular basis?
You have two choices:
1. You can pull back on some of those projects. As much as you would love to do an email course and do more speaking engagements, you simply may not have the time to do them. These are decisions you'll have to really sit and analyze where your energy needs to go may go.
There are some successful authors that were doing speaking engagements all the time, but then realized it was taking away from their creative time. Remember these needs and priorities will shift and change depending on where your writer business is going and what your goals are.
2. It may be time to bring on some help. You may need to hire people to help manage smaller tasks like posting to Facebook, writing up blog posts, or putting together email sequences. That can free you up to dive into a new series, attend more conferences, or do more podcast interviews. The Content Creative was born out of was the fact that many of my fellow authors wanted to scale and needed help from someone who understood their business and their audience.
The key thing about time management for writers at your stage in the business is figuring out where you should be spending your time. Planning your day with tasks that move your business forward and staying organized so you’re efficient with your time can make a big difference in how you work as a writer.