Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mary Manners: Stay True to Your Writing Path

Many authors struggle with the fact that marketing tends to devour writing time. Deadlines loom, but at the same time there are books that require promotion. Often the worlds of Facebook and Twitter closely resemble black holes that suck writers in and refuse to release them. The question soon arises: How does one maintain a fine balance between marketing and writing? Here are a few easy solutions that I have found to be highly effective:

Rock Around the Block:
Schedule daily ‘clean-up’ marketing in short blocks of time. By clean-up marketing, I refer to staying connected with readers who have commented on posts, sent messages, etc. These require a fairly quick response and should not be neglected. An example of blocking technique might be to use three 15 minute session: one first thing in the morning, one mid-day, and a third in the evening, when the day’s writing is complete. Set a timer and limit yourself to fifteen minutes per block. Whatever is not completed during that time should be put off until the next block.

Goal for it:
When the black holes beckon, setting a writing goal and sticking to it works well. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. My goal is usually five for five: I must write 500 words before I break for a five-minute trek through the virtual world to see what’s going on. I set a timer and strictly limit myself to five minutes. This technique works very well to help me tackle and tie up my writing projects as deadlines loom; the promise of a trek through a black hole motivates me to get those words down on paper.

Chunk it Out:
When dealing with the bulk of marketing, consider chunking the work into a half-day once a month to schedule tweets and posts. I use Hootesuite to work this in. Hootsuite is a free service and allows Twitter and Facebook scheduling several months in advance. I have found that a half-day provides plenty of time to plan and schedule a month’s worth of information for both of these venues. Additional blocking times throughout the course of a month may be used to work in last-minute posts as well as to retweet and/or respond to the posts of others. As an aside, it is quite beneficial to have all tweets/posts saved in a document with links already shrunk, which allows for quick cutting and pasting.

Take a Deep Breath and WRITE:

The next time the virtual world threatens to snatch away writing time, step back, take a deep breath, and then dive back in to WRITE. Remember these simple tips to help stay focused and enjoy the journey. Happy Writing!

About Mary:
Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus.

Mary’s debut novel, Mended Heart, was nominated Best Inspirational Romance 2010, and was finalist for the Bookseller’s Best Award and her follow-up, Tender Mercies, was awarded an outstanding 4 ½ star rating from The Romantic Times Book Reviews and was also a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Buried Treasures, her third novel, was named Book of the Year by The Wordsmith Journal. Light the Fire, her fourth novel, took top honors for the 2012 Inspirational Readers Choice Award while her fifth, Wisdom Tree, continues to garner top ratings. Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.

Learn more about Mary Manners at her website: www.MaryMannersRomance.com and at her author pages at www.PelicanBookGroup.com and www.Amazon.com.


  1. Thanks for this, Mary! As someone just entering this phase of the writing journey, I am finding myself disorganized. I'm going to try to apply your ideas to keep on track!


  2. How timely this is! Just today I decided to do a little experiment by blocking my time into one hour blocks. My problem is that I do my social media and then work on editing for my contracted authors and throw in blog posts and guest blog posts and devotional projects. By the end of the day, I haven't touched my own WIP. That makes me frustrated with my whole day. So, today I am working in increments with a timer which is something you suggest. It is all such a balance game. I'll have to let you know how it works out. Thanks for discussing this area of writing that many of us struggle with.

  3. Thank you for visiting, ladies! Mary offers some tremendous advice in this post. I'm definitely going to give the timer a try.