Behind the Scenes: My Writing Schedule



I am not an organized person. Clutter follows me like a little lost puppy, and though I try, I have always struggled to keep piles from conglomerating on surfaces. I often lose things as a result or forget I already set something aside and end up doing it twice!

GAH.

Just because that's my natural tendency, it doesn't mean I have to stay that way, right?

RIGHT?

*stands with hands on hips and imagines superhero cape waving heroically behind me*

I'm DETERMINED to do better! Whatever you are, be a good one, right? That's one of my favorite quotes. Let's put it in blocks, just because I like that and want it to stand out:

Whatever you are, be a good one.

I want to be a doggone good author, and part of that, for me, means I need a little more organization, including my writing schedule! I used to just throw books out without a plan, (probably one reason I have several unfinished series!). In the past, I just wrote what I felt like.

That doesn't work so well if you want a successful book business and happy readers.

My Writing Schedule

Since launching my Catelyn Meadows pen name, I've learned from fellow authors who are much better at planning their releases and I'm so happy to share the method I've deduced to crack my writing whip and keep me on track!

1. I figured out which series I want to focus on. 

Pick just one. Yikes. That's hard for me! My brain jumps from idea to idea, and if I don't write those down, I lose them! Another friend said she has a notebook for every book she's writing, and I started doing that, and kit-kat-kazoo does it work so much better. I'll go more into that in my next post.

Recently, I did a post on my Cortney Pearson newsletter, Facebook page, and street team to find out which series my fantasy readers wanted first. That was so great; now I have an affirmative direction to go.



As far as Catelyn Meadows, I started my Once Upon a Billionaire fairy tale retellings last year and it has been a ding dong delight to write these stories. They're fast, fun, and so exciting to me! It's fun to hear readers love them too. I'm going to be finishing that series this year, as well as a few others I've joined with some other authors to do.

2. I set publishing dates. 

I am extremely visual, so I wrote each book title on a notecard, gave it a corresponding, pretty strip of washi tape, and hung it up on my bulletin board. This is motivating for me. I then wrote a word count goal for each book, as well as its publication date. I can see exactly what I'm working on and when it needs to be completed.


(Not all of my titles are listed here because some of the clean romance ones are going to be a SURPRISE!!) But I sort out series by washi tape color. Because it's pretty. And because I like the visual reminder. 

3. I figured out timetables. 

It takes me about a month (maybe closer to six weeks) to finish a clean romance novel. I tried rapid releasing last fall and it was such a killer. I don't love it! So I knew I wanted to spread my releases out this year.

I know it takes my incredibly splendiferous beta reader about two-to-three weeks to read my clean romances. I know I need about a week to complete her suggestions. I know it then takes my first round editor about a month (though she has been awesome to do some quicker turnarounds for me). I then know it takes my formatter a week or so, and I'd like to have the book formatted for my review team to have at least a month to read the book before it releases so they can be ready to post their reviews.

(For fantasy, the timetable is a little longer. I only have one fantasy planned for next year.)

I know in the meantime I'll need to be plotting and drafting the next book. When I'm on my game, I can write about 5k words a day or more--but with homeschooling and church responsibilities, not to mention the dreaded house cleaning, I can't always be on my game. So I give myself plenty of time for drafting.

I love colors, so I've color-coded each task so I can see exactly when they need to roughly be completed.


I'm not sharing my full one because again, surprise!!! :D  But this is what it looked like before I filled it out. Go month by month. Start with your release dates and then figure out timetables for drafting those books, sending to editors, reviewers, etc.  

4. I wrote everything into my weekly calendar. 

I wrote specific dates so I have that reminder when I look at it. I know I'm supposed to have a certain book done by a certain week, and I know what I should be drafting and when.

Of course it can be subject to change because things will happen. But this gives me more of a guideline to make sure I'm on track.

This did take some time to put together, but I can't tell you how much this helps! Hopefully it might give you some help in planning your writing year as well.

I'd love to hear what your methods are if they differ from mine!


Cortney

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