As an indie author, you have to guard your schedule like crazy. You have to guard it from all the things that will suck you in like online videos and Words with Friends. You also have to guard it from the people around you who are so thrilled that you’re not working anymore (because it’s not work, right? You’ve quit that). They want you to go to lunch, go shopping, go get nails done. And I admit that I do those things occasionally. But if you do them all the time, you’re not really going to be an indie author at all.
Anyway, here’s how I like to schedule my time. I’ll give you the usual caveats that mileage may vary, and your time will be different from mine.
For the record, I don’t have any kids at home now although I did when I first started writing. My schedule is pretty easy now. I do have pets that have to be fed twice a day, so those times dictate the hours around them, dividing my days into early morning, morning, afternoon, and after dinner.
We haven’t talked at all about balance yet, but I’ve got to get that in here now. Because we, you and I, have to balance all of our plates in the air. Don’t know what I’m talking about? We have plates of personal time, family time, housework, working in the business, and working on the business. All of those things have to be juggled and kept in the air; If one falls down and breaks, we’re in trouble.
For example, if you don’t give yourself any personal time because, heck, you’ve just started, and you want to do a really good job, then ultimately you will suffer. You will crash and burn. That’s what dropping a plate is about. You absolutely have to keep them all in the air at the same time and it truly is a juggling act.
OK So what do plates have to do with scheduling your day? Well sometimes not much to be honest. Theoretically my day would have a little housework, some family time, some time to myself to either play with pets or make some music, or just sit and read a magazine. And of course every day has some work, whether it’s working in the business (writing) or working on the business doing things like writing proposals, mailing them out, or finding new leads. All the plates are in the air.
That’s the way it would be in a perfect world. I don’t know about you, but my world is never perfect. Let’s take today for example. I’ve just finished a book, it’s in the hands of my formatter so I can take it to the printer and have it printed up. So I have a couple of days that I thought were going to be my own. Finally I can get my hair done or get the house clean or just chill, something I haven’t done in three months trying to get this book done.
So this morning I got up at 5:00 o’clock because I’ve started getting up while Mighty Man is still asleep, along with most of the rest of the world. At 5:30 I went to the computer because I realized I need to work on a PDF file that was promised in the book to my readers. It’s pretty important that that PDF file gets completed around the same time as the book because there are links in the book to the file.
But I have a new Facebook group too, and that took some of my time. Then I spent 20 minutes — 20 minutes, y’all! Looking for a logo. Yes, my very own logo. I lost the file. It was ridiculous and I finally just downloaded it from someplace where I’d already uploaded it. I have no idea where that stupid file went. Note to self: Organize the filing system.
Then the guy that works on my websites had some questions, or rather had some work for me to do. So I did that.
Then I bottle fed one of my pets, and realized I was really hungry. So I asked hubby if we weren’t going to breakfast which means I want to go to breakfast in wife speak. So we did that.
So at 1:00 PM I had done about 30 minutes’ worth of work on the file I intended to work on at 5:00 AM. This is how my day often goes. And it gets more and more skewed later in the day, which is why I have learned to work early, which is why this lifelong night owl has turned into an exceedingly early morning person. People who know me can’t believe it.
That’s what you do to make it work.
Anyway back to the scheduling thing. usually I am a lot more disciplined than that. I started playing the viola 40 some odd years ago, and I pursued it with a laser focus. I believe that a lot of my self-discipline comes from playing music. Or maybe it’s my personality. At any rate, I’ve learned to be hard on myself and put checks and balances in all the right places so that most days, things get done. Tomorrow I’ll show you how that works on a normal day.