by Stacy | Jun 8, 2021 | Time Management for Writers, Writing Life
I’m so excited! My brand new course, called Time Management Blueprint for Writers: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book, is now available.
This self-paced, comprehensive course will guide you through the process of organizing your life one step at a time so that you can become healthier and happier while boosting your creativity and productivity.
It can feel impossible to balance your dreams with a day job, family responsibilities, household chores, and a never-ending list of distractions all vying for your attention. Everything seems urgent and you’re pulled in too many directions, which can result in fatigue, stress, irritability, and frustration that you lack the time and energy to pursue your passion.
Manage Your Time
Through a series of engaging written lessons and short video tutorials that get straight to the point, you’ll assess your life in four key areas: Electronic Clutter, External Clutter, Internal Clutter, and the logistics of Getting Things Done.
In Time Management Blueprint, we’ll cover:
Tackling email and social media
Organizing your digital files and bookmarks
Automating routine tasks
Decluttering your home and setting up an inspiring work or writing environment
Unwinding, improving focus, and getting into a flow state
Handling distractions and interruptions
Prioritizing, planning, and breaking down goals into manageable steps
Mastering your calendar
Pushing through creative blocks and setbacks
Nailing your writing or work sessions
If you’re ready to stop spinning your wheels and reclaim control, then Time Management Blueprint for Writers: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book, will give you powerful and practical tools to succeed and find balance.
Many of you know me as a fiction writer and developmental editor. This course is all about editing different aspects of your life. In addition to the lessons and videos, you’ll get extensive cheat sheets recapping all the key points of the course, a workbook, spreadsheets, habit trackers, and more.
The below bonuses are always included with the course.
5-minute meditation – Unwind with the guided meditation, Pressing Pause, contributed by Melanie Steele. This audio is one of her Monday Meditations for the Writer’s Soul.
4 free Trello boards – Start organizing your life with free Trello templates offered by Brit Poe of Thriving Scribes. Brit, creator of the in-depth course Trello 4 Authors, has shared four boards from her paid program. You’ll get her Day Board, Week Board, Year Board, and Goals and Intentions Board.
Writing productivity spreadsheet – Track your word counts with this user-friendly spreadsheet offered by Rahel Wallace, author brand coach and creator of the Indie Author Support: Prosperity Through Community Facebook group.
Start managing your time better so you can be healthier, happier, and more productive. Enroll here!
by Stacy | Mar 22, 2021 | Special Events
Since I’m launching a time management for writers course later this spring, productivity is a topic I’m very interested in. Everyone has different strategies to share and different methods that have worked for them, which is why I’m so excited to have Katharine Grubb of 10 Minute Novelists lead a guest workshop in my Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group.
Katharine will be leading the Time Management Mini-Boot Camp: A Crash Course in How to Organize Your Life For More Time To Write on March 26 at 10 am EST. Make sure to request admission to the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple group to attend live as the workshop will stream in the group, not on the event page. A replay will be available.
In this live presentation, Katharine will give you practical tips on how to organize your foundational truth, attitudes, people, time, stuff, tools, margins and fails so that you go through your day with order and determination. Through these simple steps you will gain power to be organized and make more time for the people and passions that you love. Your dreams are worth ten minutes, but the rest of your life is worth so much more.
More About Katharine
Katharine Grubb is a poet, novelist, and former homeschooling mom who likes to bake bread, hike the Massachusetts woods and encourage others. She is the author of several books, including Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day and is the founder and CEO of 10 Minute Novelists Facebook community.
Join the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group here.
by Stacy | Aug 17, 2020 | Mindset and Creativity, Writing and Editing Resources
Katharine Grubb of 10 Minute Novelists has a brand new book out and it delves into questions such as how do you start writing, how do you visualize yourself as a writer, and how do you get your writing done. Below, Katharine tells you a little about her book Think Like A Writer In 10 Minutes A Day and shares an excerpt. If you’re a new writer, or if you’re having trouble fitting writing into a busy schedule, then it’s time for you to meet Katharine!
Are you a writer? Or are you not one? Do you see yourself as a writer?
Have you fallen in love with the written word? Have you ever savored a story, wondered how words came together, longed to see your name on a cover?
Have you ever thought you’d like to create something, anything, with words, but you don’t know how?
The first step? See yourself as one. Then, as you get used to this new “identity”, you can take steps to physically and emotionally set yourself up to be productive. This will mean creating a writing space, organizing your time, seeking inspiration, and writing regularly without fear.
I made this jump from non-writer to writer back in 2006. I had five children, all eight years old and younger, and decided that it was time to restart my lifelong dream to be a writer. Once I saw myself as a writer, grew in organization and discipline, and conquered my fears, I finished projects and published them. Since 2006, I’ve written ten books.
My newest book Think Like A Writer In 10 Minutes A Day is for the hesitant writer who hasn’t made that jump yet from non-writer to beginner. This book is for that critical first step: to think like one.
Here is an excerpt of the book’s introduction.
Back in the early days of my writing life I was asked one question more than any other: “Are you a pantser or a plotter?” I don’t remember how I answered because I don’t remember understanding what they were talking about. I found out later, that this ubiquitous, reductionist, and rather uninteresting question was really asking, “How do you think?”
If I answered, “I’m a plotter,” then it would be assumed that I had studied story structure, logically worked out plot points, and analytically planned my story before I began the drafting process. If I answered, “I’m a ‘pantser’,” then that I would imply that I “wrote by the seat of my pants,” pursuing emotional tangents rather than a strict plan, and preferring creative spontaneity instead of structure. If I did have a preference, and it was the opposite choice of the person who asked the question, then I may have received a condescending rebuttal on why my choice was “incorrect.” Sometimes it might even be implied that once I claimed a “side” I had to be loyal to that “side” for the rest of my career.
All of that is hogwash. In reality all writers, whether they want to admit it or not, need both approaches in the way that they think not just of their stories, but also of their writing goals.
What does it mean to think like a writer? There are as many ways to think about and approach writing as there are books on a public library’s shelf. Writers, especially new ones, don’t need a false dichotomy to dictate how they should approach their writing. Both “pantsers” and “plotters” think like writers, and if they are comfortable with their methods, then they are successful at it. How much more interesting it would be if writers were asked instead, “Oh, you’re a writer too? How do you process your ideas?” Or, “What’s going through your mind when you create?”
All successful authors, back in the beginning of their careers, to a mental leap and first saw themselves as writers. They set up their lives, physically and emotionally to achieve their writing goals. They all, for lack of a better term, had a writer mode in their settings, either analytical or emotional (or a combination of both) and tuned into it as they worked on their projects.
If they were in “writer mode” then they organized at their time and resources in such a way that they were able to get their writing done. In “writer mode” they were conscientious of their environment, looking constantly for inspiration, and came up with ideas from a myriad of places. But also, because “writer mode” is solitary, they may have faced self-doubt and fear, and perhaps slipped into despair. (Sadly, thinking like a writer has a sordid history.) All writers, new and experienced, have to set their minds intentionally, and decisively, on what they want to accomplish or they will never see their dreams come true.
I had to make that decision too. Back in 2006, I had five small children, all 8 years old and younger, and I thought it was the perfect time to start my writing career. Even though I didn’t know how to begin, I decided to commit at least ten minutes a day to my writing dream. I had to think differently in order to become something different. I had to change the way that I viewed my time, energy, and environment, to meet this simple goal. I knew I needed to think like a writer in order to be one. But I didn’t know to do that, so I guessed.
I read library books on writing, scoured writing blogs for fresh insight (whose advice was often contradictory), and slapped together my first website. I “pantsed” well over 200,000 words on my first novel before I formulated some sort of plot. I probably could have saved a lot of time had I a plan of action, or a community, or even another writer to tell me what to do next. I wanted to think and act like a writer, but I had no idea what that was, so I just followed every whim. For better or worse, I “pantsed” my way into thinking like a writer.
Had I “plotted” my way into thinking like I writer, I might have created a regular writing schedule, and equip myself better in organization and discipline. I would have educated myself on storytelling basics. I would have read more books that were similar to what I wanted to write. I would have worked more deliberately to expose myself to culture and beauty so I would be inspired. I would have understood that all writers struggle to find their voice and purpose. I would have come to terms with my emotional resistance, who kept telling me “what makes you think you can pull this off?” I probably could have thought like a writer from the beginning, but I couldn’t get out of my own head to do it.
What I needed to learn came 10 years after I started: I finally realized that writerly brilliance was not ever easy.
Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, had the truth I needed. “A brilliant author or businesswoman or senator or software engineer is brilliant only in tiny bursts. The rest of the time, they’re doing work that most any trained person could do. It might take a lot of tinkering or low-level work or domain knowledge for that brilliance to be evoked, but from the outside, it appears that the art is created in the moment, not in tiny increments.” (P. 51.)
I did get the tiny increment part right. It was in 2006, in between childcare, household management, and homeschooling that I began to set my timer for 10 minutes. I put the time in, but how much more efficient that time would have been had I been thinking like a writer in the first place.
This book is for the new writer who is facing the ocean of possibility as a fiction writer and doesn’t know what to do. This is a hand-holding, coaxing book of instruction to new writers who don’t have the skills or courage to put their toes in the water, much less sail. This book is meant to save the struggle of figuring things out for the first time fiction writer. To change metaphors, my previous book, Write A Novel in Ten Minutes A Day, is the Couch25K for fiction writers, but Think Like A Writer in 10 Minutes A Day, is picking out the first pair of sneakers. After each section, this book provides exercises that can be done in a series of 10 minute increments. They are meant to be personal, journal type responses with no real deadline, and certainly no right answers. To do the exercises, you’ll need a notebook, or a new document on your laptop, or some way to keep everything together. You can do these exercises as you see fit, perhaps one a day. Some can be accomplished in 10 minutes, some will require several 10 minute increments. All are completed when you say they are.
This book is divided in three sections. The first section will address the more analytical, logical parts of writing. In this part, I’ll be leading you through exercises to help you clarify your personal definition of success, challenge you to use your time and space better, and review you on the basic understanding of writing skills. These are important concepts, but they’re not that sexy, so we’re addressing them first to get them out of the way. If you are really into Seth Godin or Getting Things Done, you’re going to love this part. Each of the exercises, in this, the logistical thinking section, will help you think more objectively about your writing journey.
Then, the second part will address the more touchy-feely, artsy-fartsy ways in which you can think like a writer. In this section, I will be encouraging you to get in touch with your feelings, identify yourself as a creative person and speak to yourself about your desires to write. Then, we’ll wrap it up on the importance of authenticity in your writing and how to tap into your reality as a creative person. If you are really into Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, or Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, then you are going to love this part of the book. Go ahead, write in the margins. Stain the pages with your tears. That’s what the emotional thinking part of the book is there for.
But there’s a third part too, resistant thinking. This part is arguably the most important, because if you can’t manage it, you certainly can’t succeed in the writing world. Like it or not, there is a part of your brain that is quite happy if you stay on your couch, flip back and forth between Netflix and Hulu, and eat your weight in Hot Pockets. This part of your brain does not want think like a writer. This part of your brain knows that writing is hard, so it will do everything to stop you. It will throw you lies, doubts, fears, and the reminder of what that teacher said to you about that poem you wrote all those years ago. If you have read Austin Kleon, or know what lizard brain means, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. I have a section here to help you combat resistant thinking and hopefully prepare you for the constant battle resistant thinking will fight as long as you decide to pursue this dream.
Brenda Ueland said this in her book If You Want To Write (p. 4) “Everybody is talented because everybody who is human has something to express.” I believe that because you chose to read this book that you have something to express too. Perhaps like me, you need to get yourself out of your own head, think like a writer is supposed to think, and begin your journey.
1.1 Find a way to journal; either create a new document on your computer, a note on your phone, or pick up a cheap notebook somewhere, set a timer for ten minutes and write the answer to this question: Based on the Brenda Ueland quote you read above, what would you like to express?
1.2 Would you most likely be a “plotter” or a “pantser”? Why?
1.3 Which of the ways of thinking: logical, emotional, or resistant, do you think is the easiest to understand and practice? Which do you think will be most challenging to learn about?
Buy it on Amazon
More About Katharine
Katharine Grubb is an almost-done-homeschooling mother, poet, hybrid author, camping enthusiast and confident home cook who thinks that she is the funniest person in her family. She is the founder and CEO of 10 Minute Novelists and lives in Central Massachusetts, USA, with her husband and a ever-varying number of her five mostly-grown children. She is the author of Write A Novel In Ten Minutes A Day (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.)
Can you relate to any of the above struggles? Share your thoughts in the comments!