When Ruthy e-mailed to ask if I’d come back to Seekerville, I was like “of course!” Everytime I visit, the reception’s warm, the conversation is sparkling, and the sheer volume of treats y’all leave around is inspired.
But when she asked if I’d chat about #1k1hr, I was definitely on board. Because, as I said to one of my chaptermates at our holiday potluck, #1k1hr has been a game changer for me.
One of the things that is hardest about being a published author is productivity and time management. Now, more than ever, we’re being told to keep up a social media presence, an up-to-date website, a newsletter.
We aren’t just writers – we’re businesswomen and men. We have to do that promo, keep accounts, write books, stay on top of what’s happening in the market. And it’s sooooo easy to get caught up in the daily dross and realize at the end of the day that you’ve written exactly 500 words, and that was a blog and not on your WIP.
For five years…yes I said FIVE….since selling my first book I’ve been struggling with this time management thing. And I got frustrated. I kept feeling like I needed to WRITE MORE but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Saying I had to get my butt off the internet wasn’t always working. One of my tricks was still to take all my admin and do it at the beginning of the month (like guest posting and website updates etc.). But sometimes you just can’t let stuff go until the end of the month.
The first thing I did to “free” up more time was cut back on some of my involvement in places around the web. It was scary, believe it or not, but I’ve felt so good about it since that I know it was the right decision. That helped a lot. The fewer directions to be pulled, the better it is. Simplifying helped a lot.
And then someone came up with #1k1hr on twitter. Don’t know who it was. Don’t remember the first time I did it even. But after the first time or two I saw the results and the rest is history.
What happens is this: Someone will post a “call” for #1k1hr on twitter that will look something like this:
@DonnaAlward: Hey @AnnetteGallant @jenniemarsland @writercatfox - I'm starting #1k1hr on the :30. You in?
Annette, Jennie and Cathy are chaptermates of mine, in case you’re wondering.
Or I may just say hey, I’m going #1k1hr on the :15. Who’s with me?
I usually do this 15-20 minutes before I’m ready to start, to give people a chance to join in. Then at the allotted time, a tweet goes out with everyone’s name, the hashtag of #1k1hr, and hopefully the word GO!
And that’s it. You don’t check e-mail, you don’t tweet (I’ll confess I’m terrible at popping in on occasion) but you do write for an hour, with a goal of a thousand words.
At the end of the hour, you check back in and post your total. Sometimes it’s a measly few hundred if you’re editing, and sometimes it’s 1200 if you’re having a great day.
Usually people take a 15 min break or so, and go again. 15 minutes is perfect for throwing in a load of laundry, grabbing a snack, using the bathroom. J I try to do 2-4 a day, depending on what’s going on. My first hour is usually light on words because I go over what I did the day before to get back into the story and pick up where I left off. But then…well, I’m averaging between 2-3000 words a day this way.
2000 words x 20 days in a month (I don’t work weekends) is 40 000 words. That means a book in 5 weeks for me.
How well can this really work? The numbers tell the truth:
On September 6 I had 12k written on the Harlequin Romance I had due. I handed it in, I believe, on September 26th. It sold October 14.
In October, I wrote 17k on a novella, hated it, scrapped it, wrote 32,000 words and subbed it on November 4. It sold November 21.
From November 4-now, I’ve been working on a holiday romance for Harlequin. It’s due February 6. It’s on my editor’s desk.
The odd thing is I STILL have time for all the other stuff. The difference is, I work on it before 9:30 a.m. and then after 2:30 p.m. because that’s when I start having kids home and it’s far easier to wade through e-mail and deal with requests then, than write.
Game changer. I’ve never been so productive, and I’ve never been less work-stressed.
Other benefits? A group atmosphere for support and overall goodwill. It’s harder to skive off if you’re in a group. Especially if you’re at all competitive! I hate when I post 2-300 word totals – even if I have a very good reason!
And #1k1hr has also brought me a ton of new followers and people I follow too.
Social media can be such a time suck, but this one thing has made it all worthwhile. And if any of you ever want to try it – and I know Anita Mae is reading and she already joins me quite often – you can find me on twitter @DonnaAlward. The more the merrier.
Now…since you deserve a reward for all your hard work, head on over to the Yankee Belle Café because I think Ruthy’s posted my Apple Cake recipe and it’s fantastic if I do say so myself!