How to Be Intentional With Your Time

44073723_sThere are a lot of articles and books about time management offering tips for managing your time; only touch a  piece of paper once, keep your work area clutter-free, and get up an hour earlier than the rest of the family.

However, today I want to talk about time in a different way; scheduling your time. Earlier this week I talked about breaking through your writer’s block when the muse seems to have abandoned you. After I published that article I remembered a book that I’ve had for years, one of my favorites, that offers a writing prompt for every day of the year.

The book is A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves and is one of my favorites for when I am struggling for something to write about. There is a different prompt for each day like “write about abandoned houses” or “write about a daytime moon.”

Along with the prompts are chapters filled to the brim with advice and suggestions for writers. I learn something or am reminded of something that helps me every time I pick up the book. Today was no exception.

In the beginning of the book Judy talks about making a commitment by making the time.

“Talking about writing isn’t the same as writing. Anyone who has promised herself she’d go to the gym today “no matter what” then finds herself still in her office clothes at 10 pm known this. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” the world-be exerciser says day after day, just like the would-be writer.”

That is so true. We have to be disciplined with our writing. The more we write the better we become.

However – get ready for an unexpected twist – it dawned on me that the same concept is true for promoting our book.

We have to make time each day for working on promoting our book; whether that is sharing and communicating via social media, writing a blog post, calling libraries seeking speaking opportunities or writing a monthly newsletter; each day we need to do something to help get the word out about our writing.

Need a place to start? In 2012 an article was written entitled 46 top websites to promote your book. That list went viral and more and more sites were added. The list is now over 100 websites long. If you just added your book to one site per day, that will give you 100 days of book promotion.

Seth Godin is a little bit snarky but he usually offers great, honest, never sugar coated advice. This is especially true in his article – Advice for Authors.  One of his first tips is:

The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you’ll need later.

You heard it from a marketing guru who has successfully published more books that “Carter has liver pills.”

Readers in the Know has compiled a really cool chart that will help you manage your online promotions by providing a chart of information on each site. The chart includes information on free versus cost promotion, whether the site provides a live link to your book and more. Check out their form. 

Sometimes our struggle with book promotion is the fact that there is just so much to do we don’t know where to start so it is easier to just go get ice cream.

Hopefully these resources will give you a starting point. Work your way down the lists of websites that will help get the word out. Set aside time each day. If you need to, use a kitchen timer to help keep you focused. This is a great tool if you tend to lose focus when on YouTube or Facebook or Twitter. Keep focused on the task at hand; getting the word out about your self-published book.

Bottom line: Sadly, we all only have 24 hours in the day. There is no bargaining tool that will give us any more time and so it becomes our most precious commodity. By setting aside time each day to write and a little more time each day to promote we will more closer to that ultimate goal of having your book in the hands of every reader worldwide!