Time Management Tips for Authors

Time management tips for authors is a hot topic these days with the writers in our community. The number one barrier to book writing we see time and time again is that authors don’t think they have the time that it takes to write a book. While this might be true for some, it’s definitely not the case for all. In our 2018 Women in Publishing Summit, we interviewed Lise Cartwright author of The Detoxing Diet, No Gym Needed and dozens of other titles. We picked her brain about productivity and she’s given us a few really great tips (these tips helped her write 10 books in a single year).


Tip #1: Schedule Your Writing Time


One of the greatest things you can do for your writing career is to schedule your writing time into your calendar and keep that appointment, just like you would a doctor or dentist’s appointment. Lise recommends scheduling out your writing time as well as your down time. This can be done either with a pen and paper planner or on a digital calendar such as Google Calendar or iMac. Lise recommends using a digital calendar as the main hub because it’s easier to move things around and create flexibility if needed.


Figuring out what your peak productivity time is and using that time to write will help you maximize your writing hours. Productivity apps such as the [email protected] app will help cue your body into focusing for a certain time period. Lise recommends taking a five minute break every hour to reset your focus and take a quick break.

Tip #2: Protect Your Time


Your emails will still be there, so don’t feel as though you need to check your inbox every 10 minutes. Instead, set a time in the morning and a time at the end of work your work day to check your emails. Don’t be afraid to keep a calm inbox. “I have a note in my email signature that says ‘this is a calm inbox. It’s only looked at once in the a.m. and once in the p.m.’ so that I’m training people to know they are not going to get an immediate response,” says Lise.


The same is true with social media, Netflix and any other distraction vice. If you want to get your book written, you’re going to have to focus in on your writing time instead of jumping around from place to place. If necessary, use the Chrome extension called Stay Focused to monitor and limit your time on those websites.


Tip #3: Plan With Mind Mapping & Great Notes


To make sure she always knows what she’s working on before she comes to the computer to write, Lise uses mind mapping to flesh out the idea. When she first has an idea, she sets a timer for 30 minutes. “If I can go non-stop for 30 minutes and I’m not struggling to come up with stuff, then I know that’s the book that I’m going to write. It’s free flowing, it’s an easy thing to do,” says Lise.  Next, she mind maps it, leaves it for 24 hours and then comes back to it. Then she sets a timer for another 10 minutes to see if any other ideas bubble to the surface. She does this because your subconscious mind works in the background during that time. “You might see something that inspires more ideas, so it’s really important to give that 24 hour gap,” states Lise. After that, she groups ideas together, begins to form a loose outline, add bullet points to her outline and moves everything in to Scrivener. Before she writes a chapter, she spends another 10 minutes mind mapping.    


Lise also recommends keeping a notebook for ideas. At any given time, she’s got 30 or more ideas for  her next books already captured. This helps the mind mapping process become even more effective because the idea has already been thought of!


Are you ready to up  your productivity and time management? Join us for the Write Publish Sell Summit and learn from the pros!


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time management tips for authors