Time Management Mastery: Calendar Management

hope_000.gifA writer’s calendar is more than a reminder of the date. It’s a permanent record of the effort and work production of a serious artist. It’s a business tool to make a writer more successful. It’s a tax tool to help you track and manage deductions. A calendar can help you best when you develop a management routine, clearly noting items such as these:

  • Editorial deadlines. That doesn’t mean just the date your story is due. Your calendar should indicate the date the assignment was accepted, the drop-dead date and an interim date about a week before it’s due. If this is a major project, include dates of interviews, photographs and first drafts. These benchmarks keep you motivated while indicating to the IRS that you are a serious writer putting honest hours into your work.
  • Meetings. Chats and teleconferences can slip by easily without a reminder. In-person meetings are important to record, because every mile counts at tax time. Even your writer’s group should go on your calendar¬¬–if not as a reminder, as a record of activities contributing to your writing life.
  • Conferences and tours. Note the day you leave home and the day you return. This way your receipts and expenses coincide for tax purposes.
  • Completion dates. Maybe you didn’t have a deadline and you wrote a piece on spec or prepared a query. Note the date you sent it, then flip the pages and post a follow-up date.
  • Phone calls. You might appreciate knowing when you last spoke with a client before you call him again. An editor’s confirming phone call for an assignment should be recorded somewhere other than your memory.
  • Bills due. Note when your website hosting and domain registration are due for renewal. Missing those dates can be devastating to a writer relying upon a website for sales.
  • Benchmarks. You have your goals. For them to be realistic, they need measures. Give your plans tangible dates for follow-up to ensure you are successful with this year’s writing resolutions.
  • Expirations. Free trial offers of databases or online services can creep up and cost you. Note when they expire a few days ahead of time so you don’t miss the deadline.

Make your calendar work for you, and at the end of the year, you’ll have a comprehensive record of your writing life. With detailed documentation to prove that you earn a living as a writer, you will be eligible for all the deductions that go with the profession.

TIP: For great online calendars and calendar aids, see Calendar Zone. For an endless array of hands-on calendars, see Calendars.com.

C. Hope Clark is founder and editor of FundsforWriters.com, annually recognized by Writer’s Digest in its poll of 101 Best Web Sites for Writers. She delivers four newsletters each week to thousands with her specialty being grants and income opportunities for writers of all sizes. She’s published over 200 articles on paper and online. Those reluctant to promote their writing cherish her trade paperback The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success. Find more hope for your writing career at www.fundsforwriters.com & www.theshywriter.com.

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