On Time Management

This is part of the Bittersweet Book Launch case study, where Dan Blank and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore share the yearlong process of launching her novel. You can view all posts here.

by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

One week into September and I can already see that organizing my schedule is going to be one of my greatest challenges in the nine months leading up to the publication of Bittersweet. As I writer, I’ve got to, well, write. Not just because that’s my job title, but because without writing in my life, none of the other stuff I have to do in order to support my writing seems remotely fun. But I’ve got so much other stuff to do that I’m finding a hard time making any spare moments in which to do the work I love.

Here’s what’s on my plate this week:

– go through the copy edit of Bittersweet and make any changes necessary (due 9/19)
– if possible, print out the copyedited version after I’ve gone through it and read Bittersweet from the beginning (due 9/19)
– go over editorial changes on my short story Frito Lay, due back to DailyLit ASAP
– read 3 MFA theses for Columbia University and write responses to students (due 9/23)
– Email the first round of contributors to Friendstories (by Friday)
– Write About page for Friendstories (by Friday)
– Scan in personal images for Friendstories and get them to Dan (by Friday)
– Edit and finalize first essay to go up on Friendstories (by Friday)
– Read five more books and send out blurb requests to their authors (ASAP)
– Continue to post on this blog on a regular basis

Then there are the longer-term goals, say, in the next six weeks:

– Revise my author questionnaire in anticipation of meeting my publicist
– Start posting on Friendstories
– Create more content for Friendstories
– Reach out to more Friendstories contributors
– Begin compiling wishlists of blogs and publications to reach out to on Bittersweet’s behalf
– Write planned essays and stories which will help promote Bittersweet

Not to mention the creative goal:

– Write another book!

Or the life goals:

– Feed my family
– go through all my moth-eaten sweaters
– clean my writing room so I have an office again
– be an attentive mama and wife (aka not distracted and stressed 24/7).


How on earth am I going to do all that?

I think the trick is to start my day with the creative. I’ve got four days a week with full-time childcare, and I’m starting to think that what I need to do on those days is begin with my book. No excuses, no exceptions. Two hours of writing time and I’ll be in a much better mood.

Of course, I won’t be able to do that until this immediate round of deadlines is off my plate (although copyediting doesn’t feel like creative work, I’m telling myself that it’s in the service of creativity, so it has to count). And I fear that once this week’s work is off my plate, another tide will move in to replace it, and I’ll never find my creative mind again! But I guess I just have to have faith.

And try not to feel so grumpy in the process.