Like many writers, I juggle a lot of commitments: writing organization leadership, team blogging, speaking engagements, writing deadlines, conferences and networking events. I have to pay quarterly taxes and monthly bills and juggle editing clients. Remember birthdays. And, every now and then, I squeeze in routine health appointments.
It’s a lot to keep track of, and it’s getting worse now with the increased workload demanded in advance of and surrounding my book release.
In years past, Staples has met my organizing needs. I adore office supply stores and the entire notion of getting organized—Sharpies in one of each color, please, and same with those Post-Its! I’ve looked forward with glee to purchasing and setting up my planner each year. This year, I always pledge, I’ll stay on top of things!
My chiropractor will testify that I've struggled with my system. How many times has a call from his office had to pull me from my fictive dream, twenty minutes past my appointment time, to ask that I reschedule? It’s embarrassing.
|I wrote this post on Oct. 17|
This past spring, my flip phone plan finally expired, I got an iPhone, and started using the digital calendar. In case anyone is even farther behind the times than I, this is Star Trek cool. Because I am a desktop/laptop Mac user as well, wherever I enter the data, it moves through “the Cloud” to my other devices. My entire schedule, in triplicate!
The best part is I can set alarms, from five minutes before to up to one week before! (You folks who have been doing this for five years now—quit laughing at me!) As long as *ahem* I remember to set the alert and keep my phone on, I have no reason to miss an appointment ever again.
With a tra-la-la, I skipped my annual trip to purchase a planner at the office supply store.
Three weeks later, with months of planning stored in the cell phone for pre-release events, I (stereotypically) dropped my cell phone in the toilet.
It was only there three seconds, tops. The water was clean. I dried it immediately. I couldn’t turn it off right away because with a previous tra-la-la I’d already ditched my landline. This was my only phone, and I had long meetings scheduled that day with my agent and an editing client. But the second I was done talking with them I popped the simm card and put the phone in a bag of rice (warning: not all techies consider this a valid fix, but I thought it was worth trying).
Then waited. Seven. Long. Days.
I was greatly relieved when it turned back on. The calendar items were on my desktop, sure, but I can’t carry that around all day to remind me of things. So I flipped to the iPhone calendar, eager to be reunited—
Okay, not permanently gone. My Apple geek son, a firm believer in the invisible Cloud, helped me restore it. But it scared me into a new method of organizing.
Every muscle in my body relaxed the second those red automatic doors slid open, welcoming me back into the world that had never let me down. After an hour of perusing every single planner (such decisions cannot be rushed!) I now own a paper monthly version with room for notes. I am so happy to be reunited with the stretch of boxes that allows me to see my commitments over time, so I can plan accordingly. That was hard to do on the iPhone, which lets you see a week at a time, but only if you scroll.
Combined with my restored iPhone to send me reminders, I think I’ve finally hit on a perfect system for me. (And my chiropractor.) And should more frightening waters ever permanently claim my iPhone, and aliens with their evil magnets destroy the Cloud, I’ll always have my trusty paper planner as a backup.
And I won’t have to give up my office supply store addiction. Sharpies, anyone?
How do you stay on top of the multiple demands of a writer’s life? Let’s get organized.
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation service. Her work, which explores beauty and meaning at the edge of darkness, is represented by Katie Shea at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Her monthly series, "Countdown to a Book," details the traditional publication of her debut novel, The Art of Falling, by Sourcebooks, January 28, 2014. It is now available for pre-order. Her monthly series, "Turning Whine into Gold," appears at Writers in the Storm. Connect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.