Self-publishing my first book was one of the hardest things I have ever done. There were so many skills that I had to learn that my head would actually ache at the end of the day. The worst part, however, was that I never felt like I was on top of things. No matter how many hours I worked, I felt like I wasn’t getting enough done. My desk always looked like a tornado swept through my office. Finding a particular sheet of paper would provoke an anxiety attack.
When I was in high school and college, I thought that I was fairly organized, but when I started this journey of publishing Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits, I found myself constantly feeling overwhelmed, disorganized, and anxious. There were post-its everywhere with half-written notes. Because there were so many moving parts in the self-publishing process, it was easy for me to lose track. Fortunately, I didn’t miss any important deadlines, but I realized that I suffered more than I needed to because I wasn’t organized enough. I needed to create a system that would work for me.
It’s really important to have a method for staying organized. Each responsibility in self-publishing can easily lead you down a rabbit hole.
I’ve been taking various photography classes on CreativeLive. I really love CreativeLive because their classes are affordable and well taught. I saw a class by Lisa Congdon called Workflow, Time Management, and Productivity for Creatives. I highly recommend this class to any artist, writer, or photographer. Congdon teaches a streamlined method for keeping track of large, medium, and small projects. She warns at the end of the class that there is a period of adjustment, and she’s absolutely right. My first week didn’t go that smoothly, but I kept at it because I couldn’t afford to not improve my organizational skills. To be perfectly honest, I’m still adapting to this new system. A large part of my challenge is that I’m still learning a lot about self-publishing
There’s no way to keep all the information in your head. So far, the biggest and most effective change I have made to my daily routine is keeping a rolling to-do list. I have found that I’m getting more accomplished because I’m not spending so much time thinking about what I need to do next. I’m looking forward to seeing how using these new skills will improve my workflow during the course of this year.