Take it from me: The moment it dawns on you that you’re failing at something is not a good time to start keeping track of your efforts. And the moment it sinks in that you’re succeeding? Well, that’s not a great time to get your act together either.
Bad form though it may be to admit it, I can speak to both from personal experience.
The Best Time to Get Organized
When my first novel was out on submission, I knew enough to save every email from my agent regarding where he was sending it or what response had come in. But I didn’t deem it necessary to log all this information in a single document—until the day we parted ways.
There’s nothing like wading through your mess of an inbox rereading the sordid details of every rejection you’ve received—just so you have what you need to approach new agents and likely log even more rejections—to make you wish you’d saved yourself the trouble.
Likewise, I can attest that your seat on cloud nine loses a bit of its fluff when you proudly take your first book advance to a tax professional, needing help filing for the first time ever, only to have her ask what related expenses you’ve incurred and realize you have to dig through a year’s worth of receipts for that laptop, the association membership, the cell phone bill, the workshop mileage …
Simple Steps to a More Productive Writing Life
The small steps that can save us from big headaches later are so easy to take—and too easy to forgo.
- You can look for new ways to map out writing time—or learn to live on less sleep.
- You can work through a plan for finishing your manuscript—or get caught in a muddle in the middle.
- You can mine your day job for inspiration—or waste your days wishing you were writing.
- You can submit smarter—or miss out on opportunities.
- You can research conferences that match your needs—or end up wasting your money.
The choice is yours.
Start your new year with a clean slate, a cleaner desktop, a fresh frame of mind and a clear path forward. The February 2017 Writer’s Digest will walk you through it, starting from wherever you are, to help you get to where you want to go. Inside:
- “Blueprints for a Better Book,” by historical novelist and experienced researcher Heather Webb, will teach you how to use timelines and other tools to keep your story and characters on track.
- “Map Your Writing Time,” by The Productive Writerauthor Sage Cohen, shows you how to find more precious minutes and hours for your writing—without losing sleep.
- “Rebuild Your Desktop,” compiled with you in mind, is full of free and easy downloadable spreadsheets you can customize to help you submit smarter, follow up faster and make tax time a breeze.
- “Put Your Workday to Work” offers up inspiration from fellow writers about how their day jobs actually help their writing—and how you can use your own non-writing hours to your advantage.
- “Story Structure, Simplified,” by popular writing coach Deb Norton, teaches an intuitive approach to help you give your story a strong foundation that isn’t formulaic.
- “Know Before You Go,” by award-winning novelist and workshop director Sharon Short, helps you make the most of your investment in any conference or workshop on your calendar this year.
Pick up a copy of the issue at your favorite newsstand, or download the February 2017 Writer’s Digest now. You’ll thank yourself later.
Yours in writing,
Editorial Director, Writer’s Digest magazine
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