close

Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: productivity

home

Seekerville: The Journey Continues

seekerville.blogspot.com

Increasing Productivity

Increasing Productivity

by Mindy Obenhaus

Lately I’ve been working on increasing my productivity as a writer. I’d come to a crossroads in my writing that called for a change. What I’ve been doing, the pace at which I’d been working just wasn’t sufficient anymore. So I was faced with a dilemma. Settle for the status quo or strive for something more?

I wanted more.

The big question, though, was “How?” I mean, I was already at my computer for hours each day. Granted, a good bit of that might have been spent staring at the ceiling as I struggled to write an entire scene each day. At least, a scene a day was the goal, though I rarely achieved it. Inevitably, I’d get bogged down in details. Setting, what is she wearing—

Of course, that led to an internet search and down a big old rabbit hole. And by the end of many a day, I hadn’t made much progress at all. At least, until it got down to crunch time. As that deadline approached, I buckled down and sailed through those scenes. I began to wonder why I wasn’t that disciplined all the time.

Obviously, it was time to change my approach to writing. It was right around that time Mary Connealy shared that she wrote a thousand words a day. Period. And if you’re familiar with Mary’s books, then you know just how quickly those thousand words can add up.

Hmph. “A thousand words a day,” I thought. That’s doable. So you know what I did? I tucked that little nugget into my memory and continued along the path I was on. Until I came to the afore mentioned crossroads. I did a little math. If I did a thousand words only five days a week that would be five thousand words a week. Twenty thousand words in a month.

So, I decided to make the change. I committed to those thousand words a day, five days a week. There were a couple of days I fell short, but I made them up the next day. And you know what? It worked. By the end of the month I’d written almost 24,000 words. Not only that, I found I was much more disciplined. I felt less pressure, too.

So if you’re looking to increase your productivity—

Set an achievable goal – Something that will work with your schedule. For me, a thousand words a day is maybe two-thirds to half a scene. Yet I often found that once I got going, I was more eager to finish it.

It doesn’t have to be perfect – The goal was to simply get the story out of my head. Part of my problem before, why I’d labor over each scene, was that I wanted it to be perfect. By giving myself the freedom to simply get the bones of the scene down, along with a good chunk of dialog, I was able to move on instead of getting bogged down in the details. Though often times, they still made it in there. Particularly if I had a good visual in my head.

Stick with it – This was not difficult once I saw how much progress I was making. It felt good to see that word count climb. Honestly, I’ve never really tracked my daily word count before, so that might have played a role. I’m goal oriented, so knowing I was aiming for a specific number was good for me. It was a more tangible goal than simply saying I wanted to write a scene.

Now, I’m sure many of you may be looking at this and thinking this is no big deal, that it’s what you do this all the time. In which case, I applaud you. But April 2022 was a pivotal month for this writer. And to think, I owe it all to Mary Connealy. Go figure.

Mary, I owe you a dinner. For the rest of you, give me your thoughts. Have you ever made one small change in your life that suddenly made a world of difference?

Oh, and before I go, I’ve got a brand-new cover to share with you. The Cowgirl’s Redemption is the first book in my new Hope Crossing series and releases on August 23rd. Here’s a bit about the story.

Increasing Productivity

She came home to make things right. Will she be given a second chance?

Gloriana Prescott has returned to her Texas hometown to make amends—even if the townsfolk she left behind aren’t ready to forgive. But when her mother’s ranch manager, Justin Broussard, is tasked with saving the struggling rodeo so his teen daughter can compete, Gloriana sees a chance to prove she’s really changed. But can she prove to Justin, and the town, that she’s trustworthy? 


Increasing Productivity

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

Juggling the Writing Life

Juggling the Writing Life
by Mindy Obenhaus

When I first began writing back in 2004, I envisioned my days being spent at the computer, diligently working on story after story with, perhaps, the occasional book signing here and there. It was a simple dream. And one that couldn’t have been farther from reality.

No, here’s an example of my reality. Turn in edits for February 2020 release, submit proposal for next book series, promote contest that includes September release, acquire giveaways for upcoming book tour, pack for writers conference, make sure pantry and refrigerator are stocked before leaving for writers conference so family won’t starve, travel to writers conference with additional thoughts on proposal that’s already been submitted still pelting brain! And that was only the first half of the week.
Juggling the Writing Life
Okay, so not every day/week is like that. And aren’t we grateful? However, there are times when it does seem like everything happens all at once. Because writing isn’t just about writing. There’s also promotion that might include newsletters, social media, book signings, radio or television appearances, blog tours, and the list goes on. Not to mention the fact that, while we may be writers, we’re also wives/husbands, moms/dads, daughters/sons, friends, employees… We’ve got so many balls in the air, it’s only a matter of time before we lose our concentration, get out of sync and down those balls come.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed, let’s take a step back and prioritize.
Juggling the Writing Life
Start by looking at all the things that you typically devote a portion of your time to. Things like God, family, work, writing, hobbies, housework…

I hate to admit this, but sometimes the thing that’s most important is the one thing I fail to do when life gets busy, and that’s spending time with God. I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off and my mind is focused on the day and all I need to accomplish instead of focusing on the Creator of time.

Fortunately, one of the great things about God, is that we can talk to Him anywhere, anytime. Whether we’re brushing our teeth, riding in the car, or sitting in the stillness of a quiet house, He is always there, always ready to engage with us, to listen to our problems and offer us the peace and encouragement we need to get through the day. We simply need to keep our focus on Him instead of the chaos around us.
Juggling the Writing Life
Look at those things that require your attention. Write them down. This is especially important if you’re a visual person. Now look at the list. What needs to be done first? What can wait for another day? Do not procrastinate, though. Procrastination is not our friend. Procrastination will give you heartburn and add lines to your face. Trust me, I’m an expert on this. If your editor sends you edits and says she wants them back one week from today, don’t wait until the day before to start doing them. Jump on those babies just as soon as you can and then send them back so they’re not hanging over your head.

Be realistic. As you're prioritizing things, be honest with yourself. It’s better to allot more time for something and be pleasantly surprised than to not have enough time and find yourself even more stressed and asking for an extension. Granted, there are times when this is unavoidable, but even though we have the luxury of working in our jammies, we are still professionals and need to behave as such.
Juggling the Writing Life
Avoid unnecessary distractions. While social media is a great way to connect with readers, it can also be a huge time suck. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to Facebook with the intention of posting something to my author page, and then the next thing I know I’ve LIKED a dozen posts and forgotten why I was there in the first place. 

If you're there for business, stick to business. Also, instead of doing just one post, why not take a few extra minutes to schedule future posts so you’re routinely interacting with your followers? But wait until you have some downtime to look through your newsfeed.

Victory is yours! Revel in that sense of accomplishment each time you cross something off of your list. You did it. And before you know it, the chaos has subsided, or at least returned to a normal level, and you can breathe freely again. 

Even if you're not a writer, the next time life has you feeling overwhelmed, don't look at whole. Break it into bite-size pieces -- pray, prioritize, be realistic and avoid unnecessary distractions. It's a game plan that works.

What do you do when you find you're juggling too many balls? Share your thoughts for a chance to win a copy of my upcoming release, Reunited in the Rockies.


Juggling the Writing Life
Preorder here.
Read the first chapter here.

A fresh start…and an old love reignited?
A Rocky Mountain Heroes romance
For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her—and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other to forge a future together?


Juggling the Writing Life
Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com





Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity

Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity


If you’ve been paying attention here in Seekerville, you’ve probably noticed a theme running through several posts this summer. It started in June with Amanda Barrett’s post about stress reduction for writers, then continued with Cate Nolan’s post about that 15-letter word we all hate: Procrastination. Pam Hillman finished up the June theme with her post on burning the candle at both ends, and Mary Connealy carried it into July with her post on plowing the rough field.

Do you see the connection?

My life this summer is no different. In April my husband and I finally found our retirement home in the Black Hills, ending a year-long search to find the perfect place, and we knew we were facing a long summer of changes. Big changes.

Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity
The view from our new deck - I can't get enough of it!
Soli Deo Gloria

But we had no idea how many unexpected changes God had in store for us.

With all these changes comes the list of tasks…applying for a mortgage, having garage sales to downsize our possessions, packing box after box, finding temporary housing for the next four weeks until we can move into our new house, etc. etc. etc. Insurance, changing addresses, changing utility companies, finding a new internet provider... It never ends!

And we're moving THIS WEEK! Suddenly, everything seems VERY URGENT!

Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity


Meanwhile, my next deadline is looming, getting closer every day. October 1st will be here before I know it! And THAT is very important!

How do I determine which wins my time? Do I do the important things? The urgent things? Both?

Some days I just want to chuck it all and go back to bed! Sometimes I think the chaos is going to win.

But while my head tends to think I’m standing on a very shaky house of cards, my heart knows that God will take me through this stormy season.

One way He's doing it is through three major tools that are helping me survive the chaos and become more productive, and I’d love to share them with you in case your life is chaotic too! (Who am I kidding? We’re all living crazy-busy lives!)

The first is my Bullet Journal, affectionately known as my BuJo. You can read about the Bullet Journal here, and you can find tons of ideas on Pinterest. I can't say enough about how my BuJo has changed my life in the past few years. No planner made by someone else fits me, but my BuJo is perfect for me because I create it myself.

Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity


My BuJo layout is fairly simple – mostly a daily task list – but I also use project pages for major things like moving and tracking my daily word count. I color code my tasks: blue for writing related activities, green for home and family, red for church, orange for moving, and pink for things that are just for me.

I have monthly pages, then a space for the current week, and then daily entries. I use my BuJo to keep track of what I have planned for each day.

Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity
In this crazy summer, I've also found it helpful to keep
a countdown to major dates.

The second is an idea from Dwight D. Eisenhower. It’s a matrix for prioritizing tasks that he developed while he was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War Two (and I thought my life was stressful!) You can read about the Eisenhower Matrix here.

Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity


This matrix helps me separate the urgent AND important tasks from those that are either urgent OR important. It helps me decide which jobs need to be done NOW, which jobs to schedule for another day, and which I shouldn’t be doing AT ALL. That's how I prioritize what I need to do each day.


When I merged these two tools, my to-do list became manageable. I can decide which things are today’s tasks (ideally one major thing – my word count – and two or three less-major things) and which can be scheduled for tomorrow or next week. It also helps me determine which tasks can be delegated (i.e. asking for help from my dear husband).

I confess – I’ve always had a hard time asking someone else to do something I think needs to be done. But I continue to learn how necessary it is.

Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity


Not surprisingly, that last square in the Eisenhower matrix, the “Don’t Do” square, has made all the difference. If it’s before 5:00 in the afternoon and I find myself wandering toward “just a few minutes to see what’s on Facebook,” that don't do list brings me back. I keep that list taped to my computer screen!


But I mentioned three things earlier, didn't I?

The third thing that God has brought to my attention this summer is rest.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:35-39 ESV)

Jesus was an incredibly busy man. Everything he did was important. Every waking moment was spent doing his Father's work...except for those times when he went off by himself for prayer. He knew how to separate the urgent from the important.

That's my inspiration - not only for writing, but for life.

If I'm too busy to go off by myself and spend some time with God, then I am too busy. I'm letting the urgent take the place of the important.

If I'm too busy to accept God's gift of rest, not only on Sunday, but every day, then I am too busy.

Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity


What effect have these three things had on my productivity?

It's amazing. When I think of what God has helped me accomplish over the last several months, I am astounded.

Believe it or not, I'm naturally lazy. My idea of a pleasant evening is to curl up in my favorite chair, stitching in my hands and an audio book playing or a good movie on television. Add a gentle snow-fall and a fire in the stove, and I'm a happy camper. *sigh* Comfy jammies and all!

But with these tools, I can enjoy steady productivity and my time of rest - with God in the morning and with my cross stitching in the evenings.

And this crazy-stressful season of my life? Easy like Sunday morning. No chaos allowed.

How do you conquer the chaos in your life? Do you use a planner? An on-line calendar? Or have you thrown in the towel? 


Managing the Chaos to Encourage Productivity
Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of more than thirty-five years, where she enjoys hiking in the Hills and spending time with their expanding family.



Productivity Tools for Writers... and a New Release!

Missy Tippens

Productivity Tools for Writers... and a New Release!


I have a couple of cool new things I wanted to share today—tools that might help you with productivity. For the first one, you may need to open your mind a bit. :) But stay with me and don’t shut out the idea until you’ve tried it.

Tapping.

Have you heard of it? I recently heard about the The Tapping Solution app and decided to check it out. You can read about it—click here. They do have several sessions you can do for free, which are the only ones I’ve tried. The website says: “Tapping, also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), is a powerful holistic healing technique that has been proven to effectively resolve a range of issues. It is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology.” Basically, in a session, you tap different parts of your body, like areas of your head and face, while working on moving your thoughts from the negative to focus on the positive and your potential. It helps get the “junk” out of your brain (kind of like morning pages, if you’re familiar with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron). I’ve found that it really does help me move past anything that’s distracting me. I’ve also found tapping helpful for dealing with tension headaches. You’ll find tapping sessions for a variety of purposes. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Dictation.
Last summer while at a conference, I sat in on a late-night session where authors discussed using dictation to help increase their productivity--not only for writers who use dictation because of physical limitations, but also just for a quicker way to write. One writer said once she got past the rather steep learning curve (like having to say “new paragraph,” etc), she produced 30% more words using dictation. Here are some quick tips I jotted down:

    Don’t use your computer’s dictation app. Do dictation on a good MP3 recorder (Sony was recommended by one author).
    Get a recorder that cuts background noise
    if you use a phone, don’t use the Notes app. Get a voice recording app.
    Don’t edit during dictation. It’s too slow.
I searched and found this article where they list some of the best software (free and pay). I really would like to try this method to find out if I can be more productive. I admit that so far I’ve only played with the dictation built into my Mac, and found it very difficult! Yes, the learning curve will be steep, but possibly worth it.

Productivity Tools for Writers... and a New Release!


Here are some tried and true productivity tools I thought I’d mention again:

Planner.

Last year, I recommended my Panda Planner. Now this year, I purchased My Brilliant Writing Planner from Susie May Warren’s site. This planner includes much more than a calendar—it includes life activities, book and career planning, and spiritual activities. Find a planner that works for you—even if that’s just jotting deadlines on a calendar or in your phone calendar app. Writing down goals and keeping a calendar will help you remain productive.

Productivity Tools for Writers... and a New Release!
photo credit: DevelopGoodHabits.com

Accountability.

This takes many forms. Critique groups/partners, Facebook groups (like 1k1hr), publicly posting your goals, word count trackers on your website…

Challenges.

This would include challenges like National Novel Writing Month and other Finish the Book programs.

Timer.

Several bloggers over the years have mentioned using a timer to help them with productivity. The Pomodoro Technique is one that uses a timer that you’ve probably heard of. There are many specialized timers out there, but a regular old-fashioned kitchen timer will do. The point is to set a block of time and write straight through without interruption. And speaking of blocks of time…

Productivity Tools for Writers... and a New Release!


The Chunky Method.

I did a post on this several years ago (click here). It’s based on Allie Pleiter’s book, The Chunky Method: Your Step by Step Plan to Write That Book Even When Life Gets in the Way. Allie’s book can help you figure out your prime writing chunk (are you most creative in small chunks or larger chunks?) so you’ll be more productive. Check out my post at the Seekerville Archives and also Allie’s book to find out more. 

Before we chat about what helps your productivity, I’d like to celebrate the new release of the third novella in my Home to Dahlia, Georgia, series! To celebrate, I’ve put the first and second novellas on SALE. So please check them all out at my Amazon author page!

Her Valentine Reunion is here just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Productivity Tools for Writers... and a New Release!


What happens on the very day Abbie Rogers makes a preemptive strike against Valentine’s Day funk by declaring herself content to be single? Why, Victor Wallis, the man who broke her heart, comes crashing back into her life, of course. Not only that, he declares himself a changed man, and he truly seems to be. She even finds herself falling for him again. But when he makes a move to take over her family’s business, Abbie’s not certain she’ll ever be able to trust the only man she’s ever loved.

Productivity Tools for Writers... and a New Release!


After more than 10 years of pursuing her dream of publication, Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.comhttps://twitter.com/MissyTippensand http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers.


Increasing ProductivityJuggling the Writing LifeManaging the Chaos to Encourage ProductivityProductivity Tools for Writers... and a New Release!

Report "Seekerville: The Journey Continues"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×