Once upon a time, the only thing a writer needed to take care of was the writing itself.
In modern times, with the rise of social media and self-publishing, a writer needs to do more. I and the other talented wordsmiths in my #6amAusWriters Twitter group refer to this as “authoring.”
Sometimes when we check in during the early hours to work, instead of putting down words or editing, we’re organizing social media posts, blogging, making graphics, and whatever else is needed to keep the writing side-show going.
Because of this, there are weeks when it feels like you’re never writing. And that’s before dealing with the reality that authoring can be overwhelming and full of anxiety, especially when it’s not something you’re comfortable doing.
Unfortunately, a writer who wants any type of success needs to be authoring, though, so here are some tips for how you can ace it.
The Art Of Authoring
Spending all your time writing and then approaching authoring last minute, or half-assed, is the worst way to go about it. Not only will it stress you out and make you resentful, but it may be obvious to others that you don’t care about promoting your work. And if the writer doesn’t care, why would a reader?
As reluctant as you might be, accept that you have to do some authoring, and give it all you can. Who knows? You could find that you like it and that it’s another creative outlet.
The key to nailing authoring is being organized. Sit down and decide exactly what you’re capable of/willing to do and how you’ll do it. With that info in mind, make yourself a list or use a whiteboard to keep track of the tasks that need to be done that day/week/month.
Being clear about what you have to do and when you have to do it will go a long way to making authoring easier.
Once you know what you’re doing and when, it’s time to create an authoring schedule.
This should be something that fits in with your current capabilities and is flexible for when the unexpected crops up.
I’ve readjusted the way I schedule my authoring over the years. Previously, I’d assign certain days to it. For example, Tuesday’s would be blog writing days, and Thursdays were reserved for putting together said blogs (layouts, graphics, etc). Sunday would be for graphics (creating the Monday Motivation, Wednesday Writing Tips, Marketing Monday, and Teaser Tuesday images I post to social media every week), leaving the other days for writing.
Once I published my first book, though, something had to give. As well as the extra authoring work of running a newsletter, registering ISBNs, and formatting book layouts, I had to break my schedule into one week of novel writing, and one of authoring.
For me, this one week on, one week off schedule is the easiest way to get some solid writing done, but also stay on top of the authoring without feeling like I was trying to do everything at once.
Finding the right schedule for how you want/need to work really is a game-changer, so think about how things are for you, and make up your own.
Nowadays, the key to getting anything done is with the help of apps. For graphics I use Canva. For animated videos, Pixaloop. There are paid versions of both with more features, but I use the free versions and haven’t had any issues getting done what I need to.
As for using scheduling apps that post content for you, I’m still old school and post everything manually. I know I could free up time by having an app post for me, and at an hour when more people will see it, but I’m paranoid something will go wrong. If you’re interested in using a scheduler, the awesome Ari Meghlan has a great post that explains it all: How To Use Buffer For Scheduling Your Social Media.
Staying On Top
One of the final keys to making all the authoring business work is to stay on top of it!
There have been too many times when I’ve put off making social graphics or stopped pinning my content to Pinterest for a few weeks and it’s built up into a pile of work. It’s never fun. Nor is sitting down to work on writing and realizing you haven’t made any social media graphics to post. Not only does it cut into your creative time, but it’ll bring on the stress you were trying to avoid in the first place.
Don’t make my mistakes. Aim to keep on top of things. Combined with your acceptance, organizing, schedule and helpful apps, it’ll ensure the art of authoring gets done—and your writing too!
Do you have any tips for authoring or creating an easy writing schedule? Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!
— K.M. Allan
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