The reason I qualify being an author by using the word “independent” is because, when people think of authors, they tend to come up with names like Patterson, King, Koontz, and Grisham. They write a manuscript, then others take over with many of the endless details. Their work isn’t done, of course, but their primary concern is the book itself. As an independent, or indie, an author has to do everything him or herself. There are exceptions, of course, but, everything associated with the book has a cost attached to it. In my case, after I finish the story I have to read through and edit it, usually several times. For example, my last novel went through about a dozen revisions. I have to go through it and correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. I have to design the cover. I have to come up with some sort of marketing plan. I have to find beta readers, if I’m using them. I have to maintain my website, my Facebook page, and my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. In other words, I’m a one-man band. And having all those duties means I have less time for what authors do: Write.
That means that I have to budget my time. I have to make time for all this book-related stuff, and still do whatever else has to be done. But what do you do when you need to do all these things and you’re a procrastinator by nature? I’d be the first one to admit that I’m not the most organized person in the world. I constantly write myself notes so I won’t forget this or that - and promptly misplace the notes. I like to chalk my lack of organizational skills up to being “creative”, as if the two are intrinsically linked somehow. That’s probably absolute nonsense, but hey, if it makes me feel better…
Case in point. I received a royalty payment recently. From a site I couldn’t remember ever putting my books on. How can an author not know who’s selling his books? In the interest of full disclosure, I feel it necessary to mention that the payment was for 69 cents. And PayPal charged me 37 cents in fees. Net amount, 32 cents. But, to not remember, or keep track of, who’s selling my books; that’s just pathetic. So I had to devise a plan to make myself more organized. Here are a few tricks I discovered that may help you if you suffer from this same “affliction”.
I straightened up my work area. Simple? Yes. Effective? You bet. You know all those lost notes I mentioned earlier? I found quite a few of them. Note to self: When using Post-It notes, they may wind up stuck to something you never meant to stick them to!
I began organizing all my writing stuff. I now have a file box that contains a separate index card for each character in all my current projects. And all my reference books are lined up against the wall, rather than stacked here and there.
I set up an accordion file for business receipts, orders, research, labels; everything I waste time looking for when I need them.
Once I was (fairly) organized, I made a schedule for not only writing, but whatever else needs to be done as well. Chances are if I’m sitting in the living room watching TV, I’m not doing whatever is on my schedule. As a result of these few minor changes, I’ve been writing more and recently finished two of the short stories for my upcoming book within a day of each other. (Note: I said “finished”, not “wrote”; they were well along, but I hadn’t found the time to wrap them up.)
So maybe the rock isn’t swimming, but it’s not just sitting on the bottom of the pond, either.
Sometimes small changes get big results.