So this week started off great, and then…The. Frustrations. Happened. In my case, it’s stuff like a price change challenge from Amazon. The other four vendors changed the price right on schedule while Amazon said they have to “research my request”. Then two of the first three bloggers on my blog tour have not posted on schedule. Add in that I had to chase down some other issues related to writing and deal with a lot of errands and appointments that happened to all fall in this week. Nothing in that list was terrible or disastrous, just details popping up like whack-a-mole.
Frustrations happen. And we have to figure out how to remain productive through them. To be clear, I’m not talking about disasters, tragedies or illnesses. Those all deserve time off with no guilt. I’m referring to all the normal issues that come with the job and life. Amazon for instance; I knew they were going to do this. It wasn’t a surprise. But it still takes time to handle, and it frustrates me that readers are paying more at other vendors, but I can’t change those prices or Amazon won’t price match. Rock meet Hard Place However, this is the game I signed up for when I chose to publish with Amazon. It’s their platform and their rules. I have to accept it as part of the job description, do what I need to, then get back to my priority.
To that end, I thought I’d share a few tips I have for trying to remain productive during the frustrations. These are basic, but does a reminder hurt?
Set a writing time It’s okay to keep your days fluid if that works for you. But set aside a time in there to commit to your yourself, your book and your dreams. Even if it’s a half hour, those half hours add up enough to one day become a book.
Have a daily goal: For some people it’s word count, page count, or if you’re like me, it’s set amount of time. Word and page counts don’t work in my process, but if I commit a chunk of time and don’t get distracted by other tasks, that works for me. Remember: To make dreams a reality reality, you have to break then down into tasks, prioritize them and follow through.
Develop a routing to shift into writing: I usually start with getting a cup of coffee, take out my story bible notebook, a yellow pad and a freshly sharpened pencil. Then I open the file and work UNLESS I go down the email and social media rabbit hole.
Turn off, or mute, your phone and social media. I turn down my sound. Anything important will pop on my phone screen and I’ll usually see it. I’ve read studies on how much time we lose to buzzing around online, and it’s an eye opener. We all get the same 24 hours a day, it’s up to us what we do with them. I don’t think the latest Twitter feud is a good use of my time, do you?
End your day’s writing on a cliffhanger. In other words, leave off where you’re super interested and engaged so you can’t wait to get back to it the next day. This has backfired on me, I’ve left my characters in the proverbial corner, and the next day realized I have no way out. But, hey, if writing was easy, we’d all be billionaire bestsellers. In general, though, the concept works.
Don’t should yourself to death The shoulds: I should write a newsletter, hit all the social media, write two blogs, write a reader magnet story (a freebie to use as a magnet to get more people on your newsletter), write four chapters and end world hunger. Ease up on the shoulds and constant pressure on yourself. I can should myself into scrambling around like a mad woman that achieves nothing significant. That’s not being productive, it’s being busy and there’s a big difference. Instead, prioritize. Isn’t writing the next book the most important goal? (I need to put that sign up in my office!)
Take Nora’s Advice of “You Can Fix Anything But A Blank Page:” So write. (I’m looking in a mirror on this one too!). Keep writing until you fall in love and can’t stop writing. Go for it!
I hope these help. Do you have tips you’d like to add?