Monday, May 19, 2014

Writers on the GO: Mini Task Lists

Stay Connected All Day to Your WIP

Last week on RW, Cheryl dropped a bomb-load of time management technique on us. Author or illustrator—it’s good stuff.  Check it out, I’ll wait.   

*whistles Stairway to Heaven*

So, while you’re downloading the LibriVox app Cheryl recommended, I’d like to expound on another one of her points: Make the Most of Small Chunks of Time.
It’s tough trying to launch a writing career while remaining a functioning member of society. Day jobs, commuting, shuttling kids, appointments, eating balanced meals… it never ends. To combat the eternal onslaught of commitments, I’ve started the Mini Task List. 

 These are little jobs I can work on away from my precious, precious computer desk. I throw this little notepad in my purse  cool satchel  backpack the diaper bag and off I go. And yes, I have to write things down. Just looking at that little notepad helps me focus.

I thought I’d share a typical list of mine.  Pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re curious:

First order of business: Check Danielle’s twitter. My agent, Danielle M. Smith of Red Fox, is a twitter guru. She shares things like agency news, book recs and reviews, insightful articles—it keeps me in the loop. I can do this while waiting for kinder-kid at school pick-up. This is an instance where my Smartphone is actually used as a tool, not a time-sucking gadget of doom.

Second: Google Image Search Snake Dens. Ah, research. I need to know about snake dens for a scene I’m writing. Do snake dens have a bunch of rooms, or is there just one chamber? Who knows? Smartphones and tablets make researching possible just about anywhere, even my dentist’s office.
Third: Write descriptive sentence for dipping toe in water.  This is a definite mini-task. I need this description in one of my chapters, but it was hanging me up the other day. So, while Kinder-kid is in dance class, I can (hopefully) jot down a few better words.

The Mini-Task List keeps me connected to my WIP all day, and when you’re being pulled in a dozen different directions, that feeling is priceless.


  1. So, you get to eat balanced meals? Please posts tips on unlocking that achievement! :).

    I love the idea of a mini to-go list. I have a habit of forgetting all the little things until I'm in bed and trying to sleep. I'm definitely going to give this a try. Thanks!!

  2. Cheryl: Yes! I have to write things down or they haunt me right when I get comfy at night. As for the balanced meals, that may have been a stretch... :-) I always make sure the kids eat well, but sometimes it's just easier for me to have cereal for breakfast AND lunch. Glad you like the Mini List!! :-)

  3. I love the idea of a mini list of things I can do away from the computer!! Most of my day revolves around kids so choosing a few things to accomplish on the go is perfect for me! Thanks, Rina! :)

  4. "Most of my day revolves around kids..." TRUTH. :-) That is reason numero uno I write things down. (And, I should add, I make it clear that *this particular notebook* is off-limits. My 6 yr. old is a notebook hound.) It's hard to focus when you're being pulled in five different directions! Otherwise, when that precious 15 minutes of work time appears, I end up wasting time getting my thoughts together, or realizing later that day, "Oh shoot, I wish I would have..." :-)

  5. I'm so late in commenting on this -- but wanted to thank you for sharing great tips! :) I totally laughed out loud at "write a descriptive sentence for dipping to into water" LOL! I think all writers can relate to that one. Thanks so much!! :)