Getting the Most Out of Your Available Time: 2019 Edition

I’m back on deck, editing Tyche Forever. I’m enjoying my own story, which always feels weird, but I guess it’s also a sign I should have written a Kohl+Algernon road trip story ages back.

This year’s likely to see changes in my available writing time, which means adjusting priority assigned to things. This is always a fun exercise, as most plans never survive contact with the enemy, but after making a list I’ve got the bit between my teeth. Last year I tried many things to reach fans alongside writing. I’ve measured the impact and ‘success’ of these ventures, which leads me to a wonderful list of most-important things for 2019. I figured sharing those might be of interest – if you’re strapped for time yourself this could provide inspiration.

The short version: this year’s all about me. Let’s see what kind of selfish asshole I am, hey?

Priority: Writing Books

My priority this year is the production of stories. I’m expecting about 80% of my available cycles to go into this activity; it’s what I love doing, and as books don’t write themselves, someone’s got to do it. I’ll be rejoining the workforce either full time or contract (potentially part time). Likely scenarios are either full-time five days a week, four days a week, or three days. I take weekends off, because otherwise I burn up on re-entry.

My output is around 1,500 words per hour. I know from experience full time days afford me about an hour’s writing time (so, 1,500 words/day). On “off” days, I can write around 5,000 words.

  • If I’m working full time, that means 7,500 words a week, or in terms that are more useful, a novel written-but-not-edited in about ten weeks.
  • If I’m working four days a week, that’s around 11,000 words a week, or a novel in about seven weeks.
  • Three days a week gives me 14500 words a week, or a novel in about six weeks.

I’d like to experiment with shorter works, as that gives fans stories more often. I wrestle with this – the longer, deeper stories are what I love to write, but four months (including editing) between releases is a long time to wait.

Secondary: Email

I run a mailing list, and it’s great fun to do. I’d like to keep doing these, as I get more personal replies from this than social media. My general open rates are around 40-60% on any message I send, which is significantly higher than shouting into the vacuum of Facebook (for contrast, I get anywhere from 0-15% open rates on Facebook; visually appealing content like covers get 15%, and the rest are single digits at best). The best way for me to reach fans is to email them; they’re more likely to see it.

At the moment I’m putting out an email every one to three weeks. I’d expect this to switch to every three to four weeks, come the revolution. You can get on the mailing list here. You should: it’s a fun time. I think most people stick around as it’s fun/funny, although I’m never sure if they’re laughing at or with me.

Tertiary: Writing Site Posts

When not writing stories, I’ll be telling lies here. The site syndicates to Facebook and Twitter, providing a steady stream of content for people who love those platforms.

Posts here will be the usual mix of thoughtful pieces interspersed with outright ranting. It’ll be fun.

I’d like to do more reviews (books, and maybe movies and games) here, and ship those reviews to, say, Goodreads or BookBub. This will be the primary home, but if time allows I’ll put content elsewhere. This somewhat bolsters for SEO, which I like better than building someone else’s platform for them. We’ll get onto this below.

Things I’ll Do Less Of


If I could point to one activity that sucks time for extremely marginal returns and adds to a feeling of general depression and failure, it’s running a Page on Facebook. Facebook have changed the way their algorithms work to the point that organic reach, never a good thing to begin with, is basically a dumpster fire now. On top of that, they’ve begun changing people’s Notification settings; my small-sample-size-evidence suggests they remove notifications primarily from Pages that don’t pay to boost posts.

Most “platforms” are designed so users create content for other users. You’re an entertainer; you need to act like a performing seal, and I’ve never been that fond of fish. Some platforms like YouTube have a robust monetization model allowing popular creators to get paid, but Facebook and Pinterest are like black holes for time and energy. The exception here is Twitter, which I’m a sometime fan of, and want to dabble in going forward.

When I started using Facebook as a business Page, I posted Throwback Thursdays and Thank Fuck It’s Friday messages. Aside from site syndication, I expect to return to this model, mostly because I like the #TFIF hashtag. I’ve got a few staunch fans on the platform, but most people (even with Notifications turned to 11) don’t see my posts there. It’s not working as a fan contact platform, so I’ll reduce my time there.

My staunch fans also have my email address, so I figure this is a problem that’ll solve itself.

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