Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about time management. Namely, am I spending time and energy on the things that are bringing me money. As a freelancer, this question is vitally important, because if I don’t spend my time on the things that make me money, I will have no money.
I read recently on the latest Author Earnings that the most successful self-pubbed authors just do one thing: write. They don’t waste their time sharing knowledge of tips and tricks, they don’t do a whole bunch of other nonsense. They just write-publish, write-publish. And I thought to myself, “Sush, are you really doing what’s best with your time?”
Back in 2016, when I was a true full-time writer with naught but my words to focus on (and a whole lot of savings to live on), I wasn’t any more productive than I am now, book-wise. I put out four full-length novels a year, although I probably blogged a little more. Today, my time is (somewhat) split, as I work roughly 30 hours a month for a software freelancing company. Even with doing that, I’m averaging 300,000 words per year (4-5 books, depending on length). But still, I ask myself, can I do more?
Do I think I’ll ever get to the point where I can write a book a month? I doubt it. In the first place, I jump genres too much that I have to rebuild my audience in each one before I can release a book with any kind of sales. And in the second place, I don’t think I’d enjoy spending so little time in the worlds I create.
Writing is, and will always be, for myself first (which explains why I can’t stay in a particular genre for more than one series). I write books because I can’t get the stories out of my head until they’re written down. I build worlds to play in, and to rob myself of that joy because I’m trying to get a book out quickly or write to market just ain’t gonna fly. I admire authors who are able to do it; I’m just not that kind of writer. And that’s okay.
But that’s not to say I can’t learn from those book-a-month writers, which gets me back to this idea of time management. For the past year, I’ve been building out the SGR-Publishing blog, dumping all my knowledge of marketing and self-publishing and formatting. The idea being that I would use it to grow my freelancing arm, which would pay the bills my genre-hopping, book-a-quarter writing habit doesn’t. And also, because the content is evergreen, I could use and re-use it perpetually.
In 2018, I’m adding onto the content through infographics and adding only the occasional new blog as I think about it. But the question really boils down to: is this an efficient use of my time? I’m giving free labor and knowledge on the off chance that someone will hire me to help them. Could I be using that time to do something else, like write another book? And, more importantly, do I want to be in that line of work, editing and formatting? (I’ve decided: formatting yes, editing no).
So instead of spending my time building out freebies like an author income tracker in Excel, I am writing another book. This one is a non-fiction and includes a six month step-by-step plan to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row to publish. I’m opting to spend my time on it because when it comes out (June, perhaps), it would be a source of revenue. And it’s not overly complex or difficult, so it doesn’t take up any more creative energy that I could use toward completing Brynna.
I’m also going to continue re-posting the old blog posts with fresh images and infographics. Because it would bother me if half my blog posts had the old branding, so at the very least, I’ll probably update all the headers and images. And it is still nice to help other authors when they ask for help, even if I don’t get paid for it.
For me, it’s good every now and again to pause and assess what I’m doing with my life. To check the progress I should be making and to make sure I’m headed in the direction I want to go.