Fact: the more you write, the more you earn — so time management for writers has never been more important. If you want to make a great income, you’ve got to carve as much writing time out of your day as you can.
Another fact: you’ve got more time that you think you have. Without putting too much pressure on yourself, you can use stray minutes — while waiting for meetings to start, while waiting for your kids to finish their sporting activities — for writing prep.
If you’re a MasterChef fan, you can think of your writing prep as creating your mise en place for upcoming writing.
Then, when you sit down for a writing stint, you’ve got everything you need to pound out the words.
Writing prep: use stray minutes to read, outline, and plan
We’re all pushed for time, so it’s vital that when you sit down at your computer, that you’ve got everything you need to write as many words as possible.
Your prep can include:
- Reading your previous day’s work, so you’re ready to write the next scene in your novel;
- Outlining the next couple of scenes in your novel, or a short story;
- Research — looking things up on the Web, calling and emailing sources for articles and ebooks;
- Outlining blog posts you’ll write tomorrow, and next week;
- Drafting social media posts…
If you can do your prep in stray minutes, or even while you’re watching TV with your family, you’ll have more time to write.
For me, efficient prep means using apps which make it easy, because whatever I’ve written on my phone, or on my iPad, instantly shows up on my work computer.
My favorite writing prep apps include:
- Ulysses (Mac) — I can outline blog posts, write scenes for my novel, and make notes, on my iPad. The material’s instantly available on my Mac;
- Quip (Mac and Windows) — Quip’s a unique productivity app; it’s become my favorite notepad, collaboration tool, to do list for projects, and scratchpad. You can create in Quip on any device, and your writing’s immediately available everywhere.
I love that Quip lets me pin my most-used items to the desktop, and lets me chat to clients, right in the app.
- Evernote, of course. I wrote about my favorite time management tools last year; I mentioned Evernote in that post.
Use Quip for prep — it’s free
You can set up Quip in any way you choose.
Here’s what I do:
- I create folders for my current projects;
- I pin documents in folders to the desktop, so that I can see what I’m working on;
- I post MS Word docs to Quip from Scrivener (compile docs from Scrivener into MS Word, then drag them into Quip). This means that I can reread scenes, make changes, and plan upcoming scenes, no matter where I happen to be. I now hope that clients will be late for meetings, so I can get more done in Quip :-);
- I add reading lists for research to Quip;
- I create To Do lists for projects in Quip.
The beauty of Quip is that I can delete a document permanently, or if I think I’ll need it again, I can move it to the Archive so that it’s out of the way.
Write! Only the words count
Research isn’t writing. Drafting social media posts isn’t writing. Only writing is writing, and only the number of salable words you can write in a writing session matters.
Let’s say that you’ve managed to corral two hours of writing time each day for writing your novel. You’ve got a family, and a full-time job.
Without doing writing prep, when you sit down to write, you read your previous day’s writing, and plan an upcoming scenes. That takes you half an hour. If you manage to do writing prep in your lunch hour on the other hand, you’ve got two full hours to write.
Try writing prep yourself. Once you get into the swing of it, you can do it anywhere.
There’s NEVER been a better time to be a writer. You can make as much money as you like, depending on how many words you can write. Have fun. 🙂
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Never have there been so many writing opportunities. We writers are very spoiled. You can achieve almost any writing goal you care to set. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. You need to create a strategy to achieve your goal, and a plan. Team Up’s been helping writers to achieve their goals for several years.
YOU can begin to build a great writing career too. Write with Angela — Team Up is fun. 🙂
How to profit from your writing: online store.