Are You Actually Going to Look At My To Do List?

by Jeff Abbott on January 6, 2011

To Do

What do you do all day?

It’s hard to imagine what a writer does. Does he type all day? Does she scribble notes and daydream and then write in a blistering fury? (Right now I’m doing neither, much to my annoyance.) So here’s a look at my to do list. I don’t make a daily list. I keep my schedule in a Filofax. My calendar has all the days of the week on the left page, and a page for notes on the right side. I use that to list what I want to get done in the week. That way, as the week progresses and items get marked off, I can see if I’m going to get it all done this week or not. Some of this stuff can be farmed out to my part-time assistant, but not much of it.

So what does a professional writer’s to do list look like? Here’s this week’s. I sort of can’t believe I’m sharing this.

–make sure you have right clothes for author photo on Thursday

–complete review of copyedits on Secret Project and send back to editor

–complete reading UK galleys for THE LAST MINUTE and send back to UK

–blog about keeping a reading journal

–blog about galleys/copyedits

–blog about To Do List (done!)

–email editor re questions on two scenes

–clear off desk (the desk is a bit messy right now and it bugs me)

–write 10,000 words of new book (5 days x 2000 words)

–deactivate Facebook personal page after posting final status

–blog about deactivating Facebook page and why I did it

–register for book conference

–register for multimedia conference

–clean desk (you note this is written twice)

–run change to book proposal by editor

–email back online marketing manager re UK promotions

–brainstorm on enhanced ebook edition for Adrenaline

–create requested teaser content for UK ebooks

–sign audiobook contracts for UK and send back to agent

–read Publishers’ Lunch for week

–organize Twitter lists

–move series bible from Word to Tinderbox

–send bar research to assistant for followup

–review web designers portfolios with assistant for Secret Project

–update earnings spreadsheet for estimated taxes

Most of this will get done this week, much of it already is done. What doesn’t get done gets an arrow drawn next to it, pointing into next week’s work. But my point is: it’s not all writing. It rarely is. I wish it were.

Photo credit, wablair

    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    The gold digger January 6, 2011 at 11:05 am

    But – but – wait! Where’s the glamorous stuff that bestselling authors do, like appear on Oprah and have lunch with other bestselling authors? Are you saying it’s actually work what you do?

    Maria Lima January 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    ::nod nod::

    And for some of us, there’s all this and the glory of a day job, too. The fun never ends!! ;-)

    Jeff Abbott January 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Gold Digger, there are sometimes moments of glamor — getting to go to Europe for book tour or research (beats digging ditches), getting to meet authors I admire, my publisher bringing me up to New York for a day of meetings — but still the most rewarding and fun part remains the writing. That said, I am OWNING this week’s To-Do list. Well, parts of it.

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