The following is a suggested guide to finding time to write. There are 52 weeks, so let’s get planning how that story you imagined can be written down and become a finished book. These few steps can help you on the road to making your publishing dreams come true.

1. DIARY Have you purchased a diary? A working Dairy is a “must-have writers’ tool”. Ensure it includes hours by day. This can be an outlook calendar which is even better as you only write down information once and set it as reoccurring for the entire year. CROSS OFF SUBSEQUENT HOURS IN DIARY a) Hours you are at work b) The time you’re with kids with afterschool sports and helping with homework etc. c) Dinner time d) Putting kids to bed etc. e) Add in suggested below.

2. HOURS LEFT (1-2 hours of YOU TIME.) This can be an early bird or owl time. Turn off the TV and; a) Write b) Go to writing workshops c) Support local writers and go to book launches and talks d) Join a writer’s group, and make friends, get your writing critiqued. e) Join online services to enhance your knowledge and get known. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads Goggle+ – just to name a few. f) Build a portfolio of professionals that can assist you on your journey. BETA readers, editors, groups for critiquing, book cover designers, picture book artist, book formatting, trailer makers etc.

3. LINK ACCOUNTS TO SAVE TIME (Diarise a time to join) a) Have 2 Facebook pages. One for your friends and family. The other an author or blog page. b) Link the author or blog page to your Twitter account. That way, you are not blogging twice. c) If posting on LinkedIn, click of twitter, so it also becomes a tweet. d) Link your Twitter to your own website and anywhere else to save time posting.

4. CHECK ONLINE SERVICES (Diarise a time) a) Check twitter daily for followers – follow them back. b) Check twitter ‘connect’ and follow those that are kind enough to retweet or ‘favour’ one of your tweets. c) Check Facebook for messages only by going to the top left-hand corner. If there is a red number showing – clicking and read personal and the message feed which has to do with you only. If no numbers, switch off as this does waste valuable writing time.

5. Hashtags Importance (diarise intended blog times) a) Plan in your diary. Enter the days you intend to blog or chat and stick to it. Online services can suck up too much valuable writing time. b) Say if you decide to blog on Tuesdays and/or Weekends too. Then ensure it reaches the maximum audience by searching for a hashtag that suits. E.g. #Tuesdaysread or #Weekendread. Hashtag genre and attention to writers, e.g. #amwriting or #fantasyfiction (if a fantasy story) and so on. c) BEWARE of making new hashtags. Start by using popular hashtags. Search to find them by using key words from your own story. Stick to tried and tested tags if you are new to this area.

6. DIARIES TIME FOR FAMILY. Organise fun outings so you can spend time ‘WRITING’ while being with loved ones. a) Spend an hour in the local library where kids and hubby can select books, DVDs etc. While you sit down happily and write. b) Spend time writing with a coffee while kids are playing at kiddie’s fun venues, e.g., McDonald’s etc. c) Write while partner is wrapped up in a movie or series you are not interested in and so on … There are many ways to use a diary, but a writer’s diary is sacred.

If hours of the day and weeks pass by without glancing at the plan, valuable time with the pen is lost. Make sure your year is a productive one and read the plan daily to enable you get some – YOU TIME.

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