Sunday, September 23, 2012

Writing On A Schedule

I am seriously trying to get my writing back on track. In the last three months I've made good progress on a new novel about two monks who run away from an abusive monastery only to be recruited back to help straighten it out. There's some magical realism involved and I'm trying to find a balance between good old fashioned action and sex and not too much drippy spirituality. That said, at its heart the story is a spiritual and romantic journey.

Unfortunately, I still have a day job and family and ho-hum things like eating and sleeping that conspire to keep me from writing. So I sat down and tried to figure out how I can best use my time. I was amazed to discover, for example, that if I set aside 9 hours for my day job and 7 hours for sleeping that leaves 24 - 16 = 8 hours for everything else I need to do during my waking hours. And that's just Mondays through Fridays. If I get lazy and sleep a luxurious 8 hours on weekends then that's another 24 - 8 = 16 waking hours on Saturday and Sunday. All total that's 72 hours of non-sleep, non-work time in a full week.

Wow! Suppose I just grabbed one-third of that time and devoted it to writing, publishing and promoting my books? That would be 72 / 3 = 24 hours per week for writing, editing, proofreading, formatting, blogging, tweeting, emailing, uploading photos and videos and any other activities I can think of to create and promote my books.

But is that realistic? In other words, is the other two-thirds of the time, or 48 hours per week, sufficient for shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning, family time, yoga, exercise, car maintenance, talking to neighbors, playing music, commuting, bathing, shaving, picking plums from my front yard... I think you get the idea.

My short answer is... I don't know. But I'm going to find out. I'm going to pretend writing is my part time job and I'm going to create a seven-day work schedule that adds up to 24 hours per week and see if I can actually do it!!  Starting with this blog post.  I has taken me an hour to write and proofread this thing.  But now I can scratch it off my list.

By the way I'm learning a lot about how much time we can spend publishing and promoting our work. I've got two books on Kindle now: Sea Changes and Northwest Fusion and there's literally no end to the things you can do to drive traffic to your book pages. I picked up several good ideas from a self-published author named John Locke who wrote How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! Check it out. I found it really valuable.

Wish me luck.  Please post your own ideas.  Would love to hear them!

- Bill