Saturday, June 18, 2011


by Mary Andrews

The Fireborn Chronicles: RESONANCES is my second book in the Fireborn series. The first book absolutely proved to me the need to keep order in my files. After a while, different copies of the different drafts and critiques all started to get jumbled up.

When you finish the book, there will be more to handle

There’s also the matter of creating a file designated for promo items: bio, blurbs, one sheet, tag line, synopsis, summary, cover (in different sizes), mug shot, excerpts, banner, book trailer, promo items (book marks, business card designs),as well as interviews from others, and interviews that you’ve done. For this I keep a WIP file full of files for each project—all in one place. Very handy and easy to save all at once.

There’s need of a TO DO LIST to keep appearances and promo dates straight. I keep an ongoing file on my desktop for this. As each appearance or deadline passes, I color it a light grey. This way I have a record of past and future places, people, and websites I’ve worked with in case I want to contact them again, and it helps to see just how much you have or haven’t been doing sometimes.

Without some form of accountability it's easy to allow yourself to flit about. That's where having a racing partner and preset goals can help. Do you keep track of your word count per day?It may be that you work better with scattered attention, using bit writing to work things out in your mind as you go.If you are showing a satisfactory word count doing this, then maybe it's not a problem for you.

If, however you are being distracted by email or research or escapism, then it is a disruptive point of discipline you will have to deal with sooner or later. Email can become overwhelming since an online presence and networking are so important. A feeling of entrapment can overwhelm a person when there are so very many things always needing to be done.I've always felt that the only real right we have is the right to be wrong and these are the times when most people tend towards the dark side.

When everything starts feeling like a requirement all the joy can just fade from the work. We all go through this sooner or later. When this happens it will be up to you to find a way to achieve a balance or you'll end up screaming into the night like a loon.

Start by prioritizing. Sit down and figure out, realistically, how many hours of your day are available for your writing. From that point, look at your list of things to do. Start with your writing time. Assign it whatever amount of time you need to achieve your word count goal.

Now convince yourself that this time is undeniably the most important thing for your writing career--no product, no need to do the rest. (Feel free to write this down on a card so you can see it whenever you are at the computer.)

Next, pull out that timer and set it to whatever time you decide should be used for email. Read & respond to most important emails first and keep an eye on that clock. When checking out group sites, set them on digest so you will receive them in bundles with an index of the subjects at the top.

Any posting without RE: at the top is an original statement. These alone can summarize what's going on, but the digest format allows you to click on the listing you want to read and will take you to it.

Instead of dragging your cursor all the way back up, click on the RETURN TO TOP option at the end of each message. If you find that you want to delve into some things just for fun, leave the email in your in box for later. If they accumulate and you do not return to them or cannot remember what was so important, maybe it wasn't after all.

When your time's up, it's up. Consider using some of these things as rewards for achieving your goals. Also consider before opening anything that you can delete some of them if you know they are not necessary on this day, and simply save without opening some for times when you might enjoy them more.

It is good to remember that the trash bin will hold them for a while before final deletion. They are still available for retrieval at your leisure.

Marketing will also become a time draining but most important factor--as big as email. So figure out how to keep abreast of it early and you will probably be less likely to be found babbling in dark alleyways. It's upkeep can be designated to certain days of the week or certain hours of the day. (If it is all caught up, you can use these times to celebrate in any way you like and feel accomplished at the same time.)

This all sounds so militaristic, doesn't it? If you are the type who wails against confinement or who refuses to be rigid about these things then don't be. Find other ways to shuffle these factors about.

Above all else, be sure not to forget to prioritize a slot of life for your actual life. Divorce, charges of child neglect, starvation and drooling are not conducive to production or success. Another benefit of scheduled writing time is that you can claim family downtime afterwards and they will acknowledge what you are doing as a career instead of a hobby. Everybody can be happier if they know what time you will be home from work.


Heather Haven said...

Mary! Fabulous stuff! I am really bowled over by all the information you share. I hope you do seminars on this and if you don't, consider it.

Charlie said...

Great suggestions. This is the one I struggle with the most!
C.K. Volnek