Today, I have a few tips to help you in your business. In the last week, I've managed to:
- start publishing Writing Hacks, my free newsletter for writers, again, and I will be giving subscribers a tip or trick the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month.
- start publishing Wordplay, my new free newsletter for readers--book chatter, pop culture bits, swag & contest news--which will be sent to subscribers the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month, beginning this month.
- updated all the pages of this blog--actually I have only 3 left to update, and those should be done before I sleep tonight. Check out my blog pages please.
- started updating my website and will complete it by this weekend.
- updated all the Master Files I maintain (in the Tips, I'll tell you about these)
All kidding aside, I've just finished almost a week of catching up on virtually everything that's fallen through the cracks since last year when we moved. Well, I'd like to think I'm caught up on most of it, but the truth is that it will take me a while.
The last year has been brutal with so much life excrement happening that my writing time has been seriously affected. Just got my daughter through another surgery last week. By the time she's back to normal, I get to go in for a bit of surgery. Nothing serious--just a broken tooth root that's going to be expensive and put me out of commission for a week or so.
Attitude Check: When The Going Gets Tough
Before I get into tips on handling the business end of business, let me say a word about facing life's challenges. Always go into the challenge armed with a strong optimistic attitude. If you have someone in your life who deals with medical problems, then you need to be the face, voice, and embodiment of optimism. No time to weep and moan because it's your job to be strong. For them.
Never let them see you cry. It's up to you to be the one to say: "This is just a bump in the road. This will pass, and good times will be ahead. You will live a wonderful life." The worst thing you can do is show that person how depressed and sad the situation makes you. Pessimism is highly infectious. Do whatever it takes to be the ray of sunshine in their life--to be the person who lifts them up and makes them believe that all will be well.
Tips for Handling the Business of Business
1. Get a good day planner and use it.
If you're work is important to you, then you should know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. The key to taking care of business in a timely fashion is planning your work and working your plan. Sorry for all the cliches, but it's the truth. Things fall through the cracks if you don't have some kind of way to organize your tasks.
I prefer a written planner simply because it's easy to flip back and forth, scribbling notes on various dates. I never have to worry about a battery being low or anything like that. I can grab it and go. I've blogged before about the one I use, and the reasons are still valid.
The planner has pages that measure 6 7/8-Inch x 8 3/4-Inch. That makes it big enough to lay flat on my desktop but small enough to tuck it in my purse, laptop case, or messenger bag. It allows you to see a daily page plus your To Do list, your monthly agenda, and a Monthly Overview too. The Format is January to December, and the tabbed design makes it easy to see every important task at a glance, just as the name implies.
On the left is your permanent monthly To Do list. Next to that is the cutaway left and right pages for today and tomorrow. On the right cutaway page, you see the current month list, with each day listed so you can jot important reminders for each day and see the entire month at a glance, and don't forget the monthly calendar overview.
Last year, my planner got lost in all the packing boxes. I didn't find it until November, but I was in the midst of remodeling by then. I ordered the new planner in January I believe, but I was still remodeling. I didn't even start using it again until March, but by then I was in the throes of a pinched nerve in the back crisis.
Here is a link to the AT-A-GLANCE 2015 Triple View Daily and Monthly Appointment Book, Black, 7.88 x 9.13 x 1.06 Inches (70206V05) available with free shipping through Amazon though it's not eligible for Amazon Prime.
2. Make a list of everything that needs to be done.
Why write down the stuff--big and small--that needs to be done? Because it frees your mind to think about the important things--like the main focus of your business--instead of having all those anxieties eating away at your focus.
Writing it down is the first step in conquering the mundane task monster. Put the list in your planner in the Monthly To Do. Every week, pick 1 task to complete. If you finish it before the end of the week, pick another.
3. Start a Master List if you're a writer.
Master Lists can keep you sane--especially if you write series fiction. I have a master list for names--characters, businesses, places--and I update it with each new work of fiction. I have it in alphabetical order then I have it cross-referenced by book. Here are other Master Lists I recommend.
Master List for ISBN--book title, format (print, ebook, etc.), date assigned, and whether you bought it or it was "free" from whichever publisher you used.
Master List for Copyright--book title, format submitted to the Copyright Office, date assigned, what file the paper registration can be found, etc.
Master List for Publishing Contracts--keep the info in a digital file, especially any reversion rights clauses, and keep the paper contract in a file. (It's not going too far to make photocopies of copyright registrations and publishing contracts so you can keep the originals in a safety deposit box.)
4. Plan regular times to update important websites.
If a website is important to your business, then keep it updated regularly. If you set up a blog, don't let it languish. Post to it regularly. If you set up a newsletter, then schedule time to write compelling content. Put it in your day planner!
5. Filing is a necessary evil.
This applies to paper "stuff" that has to be filed and digital files that need to be maintained and updated. Set a regular time each week to address this or the minor tasks can become major.
6. Never allow your tasks to overwhelm you.
Everything in life is a learning experience. If you're just beginning as an indie author, you have a lot to learn. If you're already established, you still have a lot to learn to stay on top of the game. You can't learn it all in one day or one week. Pace yourself.
Focus on today and what you can do right now. Stop thinking about the days to come and all the other things that must be done.
Thomas Carlyle said: "Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."
7. Grow an attitude of joy about your work.
Do you still love what you do--the big things and even the small? If you don't, maybe you need to re-discover that love. Take the work out of your work and find joy in it. That's what will keep you going.
Like I told an old friend recently: take it one step at a time, one day at a time.