Get a Free Ebook

Five Inspirational Truths for Authors

Try our Video Classes

Downloadable in-depth learning, with pdf slides

Find out more about My Book Therapy

We want to help you up your writing game. If you are stuck, or just want a boost, please check us out!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Work Smarter, Not Harder by Darlene Franklin

Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin loves music, needlework, reading and reality TV. Talia, a Lynx point Siamese cat, proudly claims Darlene as her person. Seaside Romance and Prodigal Patriot, both historical romance set in New England, became available from Barbour this summer. Visit Darlene’s blog for information on book giveaways and upcoming titles.


Whether a full or part time writer, we all struggle with time management. Whether we aim to finish a book in a year or in a month, we wish we knew some time-saving tips. In the words of today’s work place parlance, we want to work smarter, not harder.

Here are a few tips that I have found useful:

1. Set priorities. Focus on one project at a time (unless you know you multitask well).

2. Work in small segments: fifteen minutes (five minutes if fifteen is too long!). Half a page.

3. Work with someone else. I find a friend online. We challenge each other: “By the end of an hour, I want to finish ...” Then we check in with each other. I am more likely to concentrate during that hour.

4. Minimize rabbit trails. I find it helpful to set aside research questions, such as spelling or dates, for the editing phase.

5. Minimize interruptions. Find the time and place that works with your family and maintain those boundaries.

6. Assemble the supplies you’ll need. Have your research books, paper, and pens in place.

7. Nothing scares me as much as a blank page. End in mid-scene. Sometimes I’ll write a few phrases like “Wanda overhears conversation” that remind what I want to do next. Next time I start, I already know what comes next.

8. If possible, work during your prime time of day, not when you are sleepy.

9. Find the balance of writing, editing, and developing stories that works for you. Experiment with changes if you feel bogged down.

10. Take breaks. Find a way to recharge your artist’s mind or else it may run down like a dead battery.

What are some ways you have found to work smarter, not harder?

Four couples carve a niche for love in the Piney Woods of East Texas.

An itinerant woodcarver, moves from town to town in the woodlands, delivering “sawdust sermons” that hold even more value than the furniture he crafts. Will the advice he dispenses help four couples find their way to the miracle of love at Christmas?

Bridge O’Keefe leaves Chicago to teach Indian orphans in Texas. She is astonished by the hostility the Comanche face from locals like Seth Krueger who blame them for the death of his parents.

Mary “Polly” Jessup holds onto a promise of marriage made five years ago, but when Joseph “Joey” Carpenter returns from law school with a new outlook and a new girlfriend, her future hopes are dashes.

Emma Pickett is on a quest for vengeance, but meeting Caleb Kelley sidetracks her for a moment and tempts her to forgive and forget—until she learns the man she seeks is his father.

Gabriella Noell is on a mission—to find her grandfather and reunite her family. R.C. Sparks, a wealthy businessman, has been convinced by his sister to take Gabriella along on their journey, but he refuses to let anything impede his business.


  1. Excellent tips, Darlene! You are one organized writer.


  2. My mind is organized. But you should see my things ...

  3. Good advice! I've been too busy since starting back to school to write at all, but I really miss it. Your 15-minute idea might be just the solution. Surely I can take 15 minutes from grading papers to write!


  4. It might be just the escape you need!

  5. Great advice, Darlene. I love the cover of your Christmas book.


Don't be shy. Share what's on your mind.