How Routines can Free us from Guilt

One thing with my writing that has been a constant struggle is how to divide my time between marketing and writing new material. Some long-time pros advocate focusing on the new writing, as the best marketing is to publish a new book. I observe other authors who seem to publish a book (or two, or three), then spend all their time marketing and networking. Both approaches can work, but the former begs the question, what good is publishing another book if they’re all invisible? And the latter often makes us cranky, because we got into this because we love to write, not because we love to market.

Clearly, some balance is needed. But after seeing so many marketing ploys either not work for others, or work only when those others have many more books out than me, I sort of gave up on it and focused on learning and writing. And no one was finding my books. Which brought forth all kinds of unhappy thoughts: if no one’s reading, why am I bothering to publish? I really needed to do something to keep my books out there.

I switched gears into marketing this summer. It has helped. I wasn’t happy focusing on that, but I couldn’t mentally switch from new writing to doing marketing each evening.

Isis has no problem with guilt - but is good at inducing it in others!

Isis has no problem with guilt – but is good at inducing it in others!

Then it dawned on me that some advice I saw for balancing the publishing tasks with writing could also work for the marketing: set aside one day a week for that stuff, and write the rest of the week. I’ve been doing this for stuff around the house for years–for example, Monday nights are when I do bill paying and bookkeeping for my husband’s businesses. Anything that comes in during the week goes into my letter sorter, and stays there until Monday. It’s so much more efficient than dealing with each piece of paper the day it comes in–or putting it off, and being late. I’ve read variations of this before, so I don’t know why I never tried it–until now.

Last week, I devoted Sunday to writing my blog, doing website stuff, and getting through a couple things on my marketing list. I didn’t plan to write that day, so no guilt there. And I got a lot done, in addition to the usual household stuff I do on Sunday.

I also did no writing on Monday, which is typical since that’s bookkeeping day. But I did write every other day this week, and again–no guilt over not doing any of the other tasks.

So we’re going to stick with this plan for the time being, and adjust if it doesn’t work. One catch is that sometimes Sundays are taken up by other things, like family get-togethers. I have one of those coming up next week. So on those days, I’ll just pare down my usual list to maybe one item that can easily be done after I get home, and ditch the guilt.

What I read this week: I’m only about halfway through this novel, so I’ll blog about it after I finish.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: Last week’s goal was to write 5,000 words on the novella, plus do 3-5 items on the marketing/website list. I added 7500 words to the novella (though admittedly, some of those were copy/paste from my outline), plus I updated my headers on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and set up a special offer for my newsletter readers, and sent out a newsletter. Speaking of which, anyone is welcome to sign up for that, which you can do here. I also received my upcoming novel back from my editor, so making the edits is my writing priority for this week. In addition, I’ll complete another 3-5 items from my website/marketing list today.

What about you–do you have certain tasks you delegate to certain days? Or do you try to do a little each day? If you don’t, do you get a bad case of the “shoulds,” or is it just me? What are some routines or time-management tips that have helped you? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

10 Responses to \