by Christopher Slater
I would be completely shocked if I am alone in saying this, but I am way too busy! I mean completely, totally, don’t-know-how-I’ll-ever-get-caught-up busy. As a parent, a husband, a teacher, and a writer, I have found myself with far too many projects, requirements, requests, and desires to do all of them, or even most of them. Obviously, the things that I need to do for my family and my career have to come first. That leaves me with a very limited time for writing. So how do I prioritize what I write?
This first thing that some writers, especially first-time writers might be asking is, “You write on your book. What else is there?” I was one of those people not very long ago. You have a story that you want to get done with and that is all that you focus on. Well, you know the old saying about how ignorance is bliss. Once that story is done and out there, that is when you realize that there is other writing that you probably should have been doing. It’s usually too late to make up for at that point and you find yourself trying to catch up, and that just adds to your stress.
So what is this other writing? Well, you are reading one right now. A blog can be a good way to get your name out into the world. Other writing includes articles, short stories, or reviews of books and stories to try and get your name to be more recognizable. It makes perfect sense from a marketing standpoint. It doesn’t make sense from a time management standpoint. This is something that I am still trying to work out myself.
So what can an amateur writer do to prioritize their writing? Well, the first thing that you can do is look at where you are in your writing process. If things are trucking along easily with your story, keep at it. There is nothing worse than trying to pick up lost momentum. Get that story completed, but before you start submitting the story, start putting out some blog posts and reviews to get yourself established in the community.
This is something that I wish that I had done, and I am still playing catch-up because of it. If you are stuck in a part of your story, then make writing blogs, reviews, and articles your priority. It can help you press the “reset” button on your brain and come back to your story with a refreshed imagination and sense of purpose. Also, some of the interactions that you have through the blog or other online discussions can yield new ideas.
The second thing that you can look at is whether you can create some shortcuts in your various writings. For me, this has usually consisted of doing a video blog instead of a written blog. I do understand that there are some that prefer to be able to read the blog instead of watching it, and I apologize to those individuals, but I can put up a vlog more quickly and still share it on a number of platforms. So whatever shortcuts you can find, take advantage of them.
Finally, you have to look at what is most important to you. Some people want to make certain that their writing sells. For that, you will need to prioritize your marketing. Blogs, reviews, and social media will have to come first. Others simply want to write a story that they feel is good. That is when you make writing on the story a priority. Of course, most people want a combination of the two, and that is when I refer them to the previous two ideas I have provided. That’s where I find myself and where I imagine most writers are.
Finding a balance is a challenge. Then again, what isn’t? I hope to get to that balance soon. In the meantime, I’ll figure out my priorities for writing as I go along. What about you? What do you do to decide what to spend your time writing on?
Guest post contributed by Christopher Slater. Christopher is a Middle School History teacher in Tennessee. He’s also a husband, father, and author.