Do you ever feel like you've worked hard all day but have very little to show for it? Do you feel like no matter how many hours of work you put in, you'll never reach your word count goals as an author? Have you ever gotten through a week of freelance writing only to wonder where all your billable hours went?
In our first All Indie Writers monthly writing challenge, we're going to address these issues by figuring out where our time really goes and how we can increase our productivity once we're armed with a bit of knowledge.
About the Monthly Writing Challenges
On the first of each month we'll start a new monthly challenge for writers. Some of these will work for any type of writer while others will be tailored to bloggers, freelance writers, or indie authors.
A new section of the writing forums has been added specifically for challenge-related discussions.
Every month I'll add a new challenge-specific forum to that section so we can chat about our goals and progress.
I'll announce a schedule of upcoming writing challenges next week after community members have had a chance to weigh in.
You can see the proposed challenge list, share thoughts on them, or share your own suggestions throughout this week.
July's Writing Challenge
Here is some background on July's writing challenge from the official forum announcement.
I'm kicking off our series of monthly writing challenges with this one for July 2014.
Goal: To figure out where our writing / working time really goes so we can optimize our schedules and become more productive writers
Challenge: Choose one of the following options, and carry out your tracking for at least one full week during the month of July.
- If your focus is on billable hours (as a freelance writer), use a time tracking app such as Toggl to keep track of what you really spend time on during the day.
- If you're more interested in word counts (as an author or blogger for example), keep a running list of everything you write each day and add up your total word count -- manuscripts, blog posts, emails, social media updates, research notes, personal notes, outlines, etc.
Share Your Stories: I encourage you to share your goals and results here in the community so we can all support each other. To do this, first register for an account if you don't have one (it's free). Then start a new Topic / Thread in this challenge's forum area. This thread is your own, though other members can comment there; you should not post your personal goals and results in someone else's thread as a reply.
Tell us about your starting goals (how many billable hours you want to work in a week, what your word count goals are on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, etc.). Then come back and share the results from your tracked week. Are you reaching those word count goals but "wasting" them on sending too many emails instead of working on your book? Are you spending too much time reading blogs and checking your social networks and losing billable work hours as a result?
Share what you learn about your own habits and schedule and what your plans are to improve how you spend your time so you can reach your writing goals.
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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