Getting organized during the lull….

As a author, I have a lot to keep track of and to schedule. I hate it when I can’t find something or my email inbox balloons to hundreds of emails. I’m afraid I’ll drop the ball and miss something, like forget to include a guest author in my newsletter.

I don’t have problems meeting critical or hard deadlines, but I need to look farther ahead. For instance, I’m planning a special Cyber Monday sale, but I didn’t think of it enough in advance to buy some slots in advertising newsletters.  I thought about it a month ago, but by then, the newsletters I wanted were booked up.

I need to rely on my computer programs more and less on handwritten notes and lists, which can get messy and/or lost.

Writing takes first priority. I squeeze in a few non writing tasks, but it seems like there’s never enough time and mini projects start to pile up. All the “little things” become like gnats, a distraction from what’s important.

I’ve found it very useful to have nonwriting days to take care of all those other tasks. It’s amazing now much I can get done when I’m not writing!

I came to the conclusion I needed an organizational system.

Last week, I sent Hunted by the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-if Romance 6) to my beta reader. I haven’t started writing the next book yet (which will be Alien Mate 2), so in the lull, I set up some Excel spreadsheets. In the short run it might seem easier to jot something down in a notebook than open up a computer program, but in the long run, having it in a spreadsheet will save me more time.

This is what I got accomplished in the past two weeks:

  • Set up a spreadsheet for expenses and royalties (I was doing this by hand on accounting paper!)
  • Worked out a spreadsheet for my reader newsletter schedule/content
  • Transferred my handwritten “to do list” for the production/promotion of Hunted by the Cyborg to a spreadsheet
  • Wrote my 2018 business plan
  • Finally set up autoresponder emails on MailChimp for new subscribers to my reader newsletter (Doing this had necessitated figuring out how, which meant spending some time on MailChimp)
  • I not only cleaned out my email inbox, I also reorganized my folders, creating new folders/subfolders, deleting ones I no longer needed, and regrouping the old ones I don’t use but still want to save.

Going into 2018, I’m going to rely on Excel more and handwritten notes less, and I plan to schedule more nonwriting days for planning and organization.

Do you have an organization tip to share? What keeps you organized?

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8 Responses to Getting organized during the lull….

  1. Gill says:

    I’m with you on excel. I love spreadsheets!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I’ve only used Excel on a very limited basis in the past, but having set up these spreadsheets, I can see it’s much more flexible than using a Word table or writing down the data by hand.

  2. Anna Zaires says:

    You are amazing! I also love Evernote in place of handwritten notes. Easy to search stuff and can always jot something down quickly.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I had to Google Evernote. I’d never heard of it. I think it would be a great tool for someone who is “desk-less” and works strictly from their laptop.

  3. Organized? What is the ‘organized’ of which you speak? For me, it’s an alien word, I’m afraid.

  4. Misa says:

    I have a business plan for the crochet/crafting side of things, but not the writing one. It just feels to ephemeral to pin down to me.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      It can be, because there are so many things you can’t control—but for scheduling, and figuring out what you need to do promotionwise, planning is big help. You can miss out on a lot of opportunities if you’re not positioned to take advantage of them.

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