Confessions of a Scheduling Newbie

Things have been a little crazy for me lately, though it’s pretty much my own fault. I’ve given myself way too much to do. I’ve put off writing a blog post for the past couple of weeks because each time I think of it, it’s like I revert back to being a 10-year old, stomping my foot and complaining that I don’t want to.

The truth of the matter is that when I feel like this, on the edge of burn-out, it’s hard to create new writing–creative or otherwise. It’s also hard for me to write about something as if I didn’t have all these clouds looming overhead, like I’m being insincere. Honestly, though, I think I just need to vent my brain on occasion–acknowledge that big hairy monster in the closet so that I can move beyond it. That’s the hope, anyway. Lucky for you, you get to be here to witness the mess. You’re welcome.

Anyway, here’s basically what I’ve saddled myself with:

 

Getting A Shadowed Spirit ready for publication

For the sake of brevity, let me just say this includes the final editing, and working with awesome artist Ferdinand Ladera in finishing the cover art. When these are done, then it’s time to format and get the cover layout designed with the title, back copy, and all that.

Ugh, I still need to write the back copy…

 

Keeping up with Hazel and Holly

So far, I’m keeping up. Barely. I’ll start to lag behind my schedule, then I’ll have a good day and get a couple chapters done and then I’m caught up again. Of course, I gave myself a healthy buffer, so as far as posts go, we’re good to go for a few months.

I’ve also been busy with getting a cover made for when it’s published into a book (which has always been part of the plan). It’s totally premature as the series is nowhere near being ready for publication, but we thought it’d be fun to have a cover now to use on the blog with the series, and which will allow me to make a nice landing page for it. Which, of course, brings me to the next item on the list…

 

Upgrading the website

This is where things start getting convoluted. See, I’m currently taking a marketing course on how to get one’s online business going. That led me to realize my book landing pages were woefully inadequate. So… I’m upgrading them. Slowly. I’ve only done the one for The Thirteenth Tower so far. I’m pretty pleased with it, but it took me a few days to make. And it’s just one page. I still need to do the other books, as well as all the opt-in pages I plan on making for the purpose of trying to build my email list.

 

Finish the marketing course

This is actually a product launch course – Product Launch Formula by Jeff Walker. It was not cheap. But, so far, I’m really pleased with it. I’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of course content, and yet I feel like it’s already completely changing the way I think about marketing. I’m actually getting excited about marketing my book, which is something I never, ever thought would happen. Having my mind so utterly blown so early into the course, well, I’m feeling confident that it will end up paying for itself in the long run.

The course and the website stuff are what have been causing most of my feelings of being overwhelmed. I have a tendency to work very systematically, in that I often feel like I need to complete one step before moving onto the next. This is sometimes a good thing. It’s worked well for writing books so far, and was great when I took Latin. (I actually miss my Latin homework… is that weird?)

But in this case, I’m not sure it’s going to work. I’m rather slow in implementing some of the changes I need to make and, at the same time, I feel like I’m missing out on the course as I let it sit while I’m making said changes. Ugh. Deep breath.

 

Job searching

I’m currently writing full-time at home, and I love it, but part of me feels like I shouldn’t completely throw myself under the bus of unwashed hermitdom. A nice part-time job in an archive or creating websites is something I’d enjoy, and would hopefully keep my brain from going to scary places as often as it does. Which leads us to…

 

Staying away from scary rabbit holes

I’m pretty sure other writers know what I’m talking about. You’ll just be surfing the ‘Net, maybe doing some casual research or whatever, and the next thing you know, it’s night time, the cats have knocked all the books off the shelves, and you still haven’t showered or eaten. Nor have you written a single word or done anything else productive.

This happened to me as I was checking out the Patreon website, which appears to be a promising platform for artists and content creators to make a little bit of money for whatever they create. This includes writers. Man, I seriously got sucked into a black hole of obsessive scariness as I tried to figure out how I could make that work for me and exploring the various possibilities. For now, I’ve decided to leave that particular beast alone. I might revisit it later, because I still think it could potentially be a good thing and fun besides. Just… not right now. My sanity depends on it.

 

Sweet, sweet clarity

The good thing with all of this, though, is I’m coming to the realization that I need to schedule my time. Actually, it was Anders that pointed that out for me when he was at the receiving end of my most recent panic-stricken brain-vomit. “You need to schedule your time,” he said, and I just stood there, blinking, like it was the greatest revelation ever.

I haven’t really done this–schedule my time. Before, it was mostly just “write, and when you’re tired of writing, either write something else or do blog or marketing stuff.”

Now the “marketing stuff” is becoming a prominent player in my life, and it’s not working just shoving it to the side as the ugly step-child it’s always been to me. It’s kind of exciting, but also scary. At the end of the day, I’m a writer. I still need to keep writing, and I’m generally resistant to things that pull me away from it, however necessary they might be.

So, here’s to scheduling and booting hairy monsters out of my closet. Also, here’s to shooting radioactive mutants in the face, which is what I’ll be doing tomorrow. Good times.

Youtube clip:

 


20 Comments

  1. Hi Sara – good for you … it is a balance – we want to learn so much and then we want to blog, and write … let alone the other things. Good luck with it all – it will happen – take care .. cheers Hilary

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Hilary, and yes! We want to do all the things! Too bad there’s just not enough time to do it all. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  2. If you’re excited about marketing from this course, I think I might look into it. For me, marketing is by far, and I mean like to Pluto and beyond, the hardest part of the self-pub business.

    A few weeks back, I got pulled into a rabbit hole of buying a watch that suits my character. My watch broke for the last time, and I decided to put it to rest. I might have spent 2 full days searching every possible vending site online for the best watch for me. A freaking wrist watch! Needless to say, I found nothing online. I decided to go to Walmart and buy something from their counter. Timex Expedition Chrono watch for $30 bucks. Climbed out of the rabbit hole and wondered how the week flew by. It’s amazing how obessed we can become with the silliest of things.

    Good luck with your serials, and with scheduling your time. We all need help with that, especially with the internet at our fingertips.

    Now, time for Words With Friends… :-1

    • Sara C. Snider

      Oh, I know what you mean. Before, I’d probably have to give a good long think if given the choice between doing marketing stuff and having a root canal done. Not saying I’m totally awesome at it now, because I’m not. But I’m much more open to the idea of it, and looking forward to trying new things. For me, that means a lot. It’s still way too early to see any results this course might bring about. But maybe when I do I’ll write a post about it.

      That’s funny about the watch, and I can totally relate. Suddenly the watch (or whatever) becomes this Important Thing, when, really, it’s not. And then we wake up and feel stupid and mildly concerned about our priorities, hehe. Rabbit holes are scary!

      Thanks, Tanya! The Internet is both a blessing and bane, that’s for sure. And I love word games! 😀

  3. Lori Wing

    I totally understand the rabbit hole issue. Research is sooo addicting, and I also have to schedule my time to avoid letting it take over. Prioritize each task, don’t overbook, and pat yourself on the back as you check items off your list. Another tip to successful scheduling: ask yourself if this is a “need to do” or a “want to do”. Not that you can’t do both, but it feels like a reward when you make time for a want item. It also gives you an extra boost of determination when you go back to the need items. So excited for all the good things you have happening!

    • Sara C. Snider

      Research can definitely be addicting. I would love to be hooked up to a machine that monitors the brain during one of those rabbit hole sessions. Bet that would be illuminating. Literally.

      Thank you for the advice! “Need to do” or “want to do.” I’m definitely going to keep that in mind. You are, of course, the scheduling master. I bow to your expertise. 😉

      And thank you! I’m excited too!

  4. Jennifer Tyron

    Um….frivolous sister here…are you playing Fallout 4!? How? Do you have it early in Sweden? I’m so excited!

    • Sara C. Snider

      It comes out tomorrow (Nov. 10), worldwide as far as I know. Soo excited. Oh, and it’s your fault I’m even playing it in the first place. You mentioned Fallout 3 in a past post, so I finally gave it a go. So much fun! 😀

      • Jennifer Tyron

        HAHAHA! I’m on the cusp of maxing out my second Fallout New Vegas character. Love it. Tristan says I have to wait on Fallout 4 until it comes out in an Ultimate Edition release after winning game of the year, as it undoubtedly will….but I don’t want to! Maybe Santa will get it for me. 🙂

        • Sara C. Snider

          I couldn’t get into New Vegas like no. 3, which is weird because everyone says it’s the better game. Though, the Science Fiction DLC for New Vegas was totally awesome. My favorite one out of either game.

          What’s in an Ultimate Edition? We bought our copies on Steam, which include access to all future DLC when they’re released. I’m pretty happy with that. Don’t know what else is needed. 🙂

          Oh, and you poke that Santa with a stick until he gets the message. 😉

          • Jennifer Tyron

            The Ultimate Edition is usually released about a year after the game is out and will include all the original content plus the DLC on one disc. I play on console so it’s handy, and usually cheaper. But…I want it now!!

            Lemme know you like it. 🙂

          • Sara C. Snider

            Will do! 🙂

  5. Wow, you have got a lot on!

    Speaking as a project manager who can organise everyone else’s time, but not my own, I feel a lot happier when I do manage to create a plan, or at least have a list of tasks. I’m using asana.com both at home (writing) and at work (project management) for keeping track of tasks.

    • Sara C. Snider

      That’s cool that you’re scheduling/planning. Planning nerds unite! 😉

      Thanks for the tip about Asana! I hadn’t heard of it, but it does look like it could be useful. Thank you! 🙂

  6. Michelle Morrison

    It sounds like you’re keeping occupied. You can only do the best you can, and you do have to set priorities and decide what is most important to be working on. I often wish I could be three people working on different things at once…. :-p 🙂 I am looking forward to seeing Hazel and Holly’s story in book form, which I’m sure you will get done as you’re able. 🙂

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Michelle and, yes, we can only do our best. I have to remind myself of that sometimes, so thank you for that particular reminder. A clone or two would definitely be handy! 😀 And I’m glad you’re looking forward to Hazel and Holly in book form. I am too! Stay tuned for a cover reveal! 🙂

  7. Whoooops, you’ve got a lot on your plate Sara! Hermitdom seems to be the name of the game when there is just too much – 🙂 as I know from personal experience. And always – for me – doing a bit of research leads to anotherbranch, leads to another .. and before I know it its way past the time I had scheduled! Yes please to join the ‘planning nerds unite’ ..
    I like that thought about need to vs want to …

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Susan. It’s comforting to know you understand the ways of the hermit, hehe. And you can totally join the Planning Nerds Union! Maybe we should get a banner… 😉

  8. Sara, that sounds a bit like me… except that I do hav ea part-time job!

    But hey, everything is so exciting! I love that landing page for your book, how did you do it?
    And the marketing course sounds so intersting. Will you share what you’re learning? I’m so curious 🙂

    • Sara C. Snider

      It must be the name. 😉 And, despite the stress, it is pretty exciting! Thanks about the page. I used a plug-in from Thrive Themes called Thrive Landing Pages (click the name to go to their website). I also learned how to make 3D book images in Photoshop, which I’m quite pleased about haha. 🙂

      The marketing course is actually really interesting (I still can’t believe I’m typing those words). And yes, I’m thinking I might do a blog post or two at some point about what I’m learning. I’m still in the processing phase right now, trying to let it all sink in. In the meantime, you can check out Jeff Walker’s website. He’s got a bunch of videos up where he talks about marketing and gives advice about various things.

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