Writing Everything Down

As we all know, Betsy is flailing around like a sock puppet trying to be a successful independent author / publisher. That’s not new. But now she has goals AND a production schedule. She seems to actually be interested in taking her game to the next level.

However, Skipper, a chipmunk who is a Habit Implementation Specialist sent by the Muse Council to help Betsy develop and meet her goals, has asked Betsy to come see her in her office in Betsy’s brain. Whatever can she want? Isn’t she satisfied with the progress Betsy’s making?

Let’s see….



*Betsy walks into Skipper’s office* *throws herself down on the sofa across from Skipper’s desk*


*Skipper looks up from the paperwork she’s been perusing* You’re here! Awesome! We need to talk.

*Betsy flops back on the sofa and closes her eyes*

Whhhyyyyy? I’m doing what you want me to do. I’ve got goals and a production schedule and everything.

Yes. *Skipper shoves the papers aside and hops up on her desk* *Strikes cheerleading pose* But there’s still room for improvement!

Oh, come on! *Betsy arches her back and stomps her feet against the cushion* I’m doing good!

*Skipper considers her and settles onto her haunches* No you’re not. You’re wasting time.

*Betsy settles back down* I am not. *She sounds uncertain*

Right. *Skipper looks at Betsy with her big, dark eyes* How much time have you spent on social media or email in these last few weeks? How often have you checked your KDP dashboard or your Amazon rankings? Sound familiar?

Maybe I get on the Internet a little bit. Now and then. *Betsy sits up and picks at a thread on the sofa cushion* *Mutters* I have a stupid production schedule.

*Skipper sits and folds her little paws on her little knee* Do you actually want to hit it?

*Betsy sticks out her bottom lip*  Yesssss.

Then it’s not good enough for you to just HAVE a production schedule and goals. You need to work towards them consistently. And that means you can’t waste all of your time.

*Betsy’s pout deepens* I sit down at the computer. I sit down every day. And I make time to write, too!

*Skipper cocks her head* And do you write?

*Betsy picks at the thread* *Mutters* Sometimes.

Sometimes. And sometimes you don’t do anything but surf the web. You’re making the time, but you’re also getting pulled down rabbit holes into unproductive paths.

*Betsy scowls at her* Okay, fine. Yes. I surf the web sometimes. But I’m writing, too. So, what does it matter? I’m getting things done.

It matters because you might be able to work more efficiently and maybe even hit that production schedule you’re so proud of making. But first, you have to see what you’re really doing.

*Betsy’s scowl deepens* How am I supposed to do that?

*Skipper smiles* You need to write everything down and track it.

*Betsy gapes at her* Everything? You mean EVERYTHING everything?

*Skipper nods* Everything. When do you sit down to write? How much time are you spending? How many words are you writing in that time? What are you writing? Your fiction? A blog post? Everything.

Oh, good gravy! *Betsy jumps to her feet and flails her arms* I can’t do all of that!

Yes, you can! *Skipper pumps both paws in the air*  And you need to write down that production schedule and post on your refrigerator, not squirrel, excuse the expression, it away in a notebook somewhere.

*Betsy puts her hands to her head* That’s so much!

But wait, there’s more! You also have to write out a task list to tell you the things you need to do that are not connected with the actual writing.

*Betsy’s face crumples* But whyyyyyyyy?

Because. You need to shine a light on your process and make it solid. You need to find out what’s really going on and keep it in your mind. You need to know what needs to be done and when you need to do it. That’s the only way we’ll be able to make things better.

*Betsy crosses her arms and stomps her foot* I hate you.

No, you don’t. And this is important. Writing everything down makes you aware of what you’re really doing, what you need to do, and by when. Not just what you imagine is happening. It will be a first step we can build on.

*Betsy gapes* There will be more?

Yes! Yes! *Skipper’s patience is fraying* Do you want to do this thing or don’t you?

*Betsy drops her head and scuffs her foot on the floor* *Bottom lip is protruding to a dangerous degree* *Mutters*
I want to do it. It’s just that it’s such a paaaiiiiinnn to do all of this work.

*Skipper sighs* We have to know. For example, are you writing more in the morning or the evening?

I write more in the morning.

*Skipper holds up a paw* No, you WANT to write more in the morning. But how much are you ACTUALLY writing in the morning?

*Betsy frowns* I sit at the computer in the morning.

*Skipper puts her paws to her head and tears out a little fur* Oh, for heaven’s sakes. Do me a favor and just fill in a darned spreadsheet, would you? If you want to write in the mornings, and you’re not writing in the mornings, then we need to change things up so you DO write in the mornings.

*Betsy shuffles her feet* Okaaaaay.

And don’t forget the production schedule and the task list. Track everything. Because you can’t tell what you need to change until you see it.

*Betsy pouts* And I really have to do all of this?

*Skipper shrugs* Only if you want to get better.

I want to get better.


*Betsy sighs* Okay.


To be continued…


  1. It is so easy to have great plans, but executing them is the problem. Turn off the internet (and television, and radio, etc.) when you’re supposed to be writing. All the great writers I’ve learned about sat down with their pen and paper, or typewriter, and closed themselves off to the rest of the world and allocated X amount of time to writing. Not chatting, not reading mail, not checking on other authors – just doing nothing else but writing for the allotted time. These days it’s way too easy to be sidetracked.

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Athena: The hardest part about writing isn’t the writing itself – it’s sitting down to write. So you have to be aware of what you’re actually doing – not what you think you’re doing. LOL

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