One of the most important things any of us can do to become more productive is to simply cut out activities that don’t bring any return on our time investment. That’s why there is an emphasis on “Stop Doing” lists around the new year, and writers would do well to jump into that fray, too.
Try as we might, though, there are all kinds of tasks that we must get done in some way or another but that don’t contribute directly to increasing our word count.
Some of these, like writing book blurbs, building an author website, or going through the mechanics of posting your book to KDP or other self-publishing platforms are at least related to your writing career. Others, like washing the car, shopping for groceries, and paying bills won’t ever help you write or sell a book, but still, they’re vital to your survival and/or happiness.
So what’s a time-crunched author to do?
In a word … delegate!
That’s Not My Job!
The fact is, all of the tasks on the list above and most of the activities that eat away at our time every day could be accomplished by someone other than you.
You don’t have to build your own website … you can hire a consultant to do that.
You don’t have to publish your book to KDP … your virtual assistant can do that.
You don’t have to shop for groceries … your spouse could do that.
Now, of course, there are tradeoffs. It costs money to get outsiders to do work for you, and it costs other chores and favors to get insiders to do your work for you.
Barter for Your (Writing) Life
But, as in the example of your spouse shopping for groceries, you can get creative with delegation. Maybe your wife hates to walk the dog, but you enjoy the quiet time alone. Why not make that “your” chore in exchange for her always buying the weekly vittles.
Similarly, if you have a child or an associate or — again — a spouse, who is good with computers, you could offer to write or edit copy for their website in exchange for their setting up your website. Heck, if you’re really close, they might oblige you without the need for a quid pro quo, just because you’re such a lovable sort.
Here are some other ideas for how to delegate work that doesn’t contribute to your writing goals:
- Get your high schooler to do extra house chores in exchange for gas money.
- Hire a local teen to mow your lawn.
- Call in professionals to work on plumbing and electrical problems — they can be a huge time sink (and money) if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Trade copywriting services for tax advice from an acquaintance or colleague.
- Use Fiverr.com to buy artwork for your books and for other tedious parts of the publishing pipeline.
I’m sure you can think of all sorts of other tasks that you’d like to offload, and there are probably as many — or more — ways to actually offload them.
However you go about it, delegating the activities that are not in your wheelhouse and only slow you down can do wonders for your peace of mind and your word count!
What tasks do you delegate in order to boost your word count? Tell me about it in the comments below.