Shifting Things Around

The past couple of weeks have been a busy time as I tried to rearrange my goals and writing schedule to accommodate them. The other day, I got links from a good author friend on two excellent videos.

1. This is a good one on focusing in on goals in a way that won’t get overwhelming. It’s aimed at writers, but honestly, it could work for any goals.

2. The other video was on handling burnout. Again, it’s primarily aimed at writers, but I can see how the symptoms of burnout and ways to overcome it could work for other areas, too. Writers aren’t the only ones who get burned out.


I took both videos to heart and worked on how I can best modify things I have control over. Trying to work with things I can’t control is pointless. This is what I’ve been trying to do for the past 2.5 years, and it hasn’t worked. So now I’m working with goals I do have control over.

Regarding the 90 Day Plan:

Now, the author in the videos does a board. I like having something printed out in paper form that I created in my Word program. I like being able to cross things out as I finish them. I know an author who likes putting everything in a planner.

The bottom line is to use whatever method best motivates you. Seeing stuff on a board and moving them around wouldn’t motivate me. Also, I don’t like to list out every little thing on a sticky note. I like to have everything on one sheet of paper that I can glance at. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed. So this is a flexible plan.

If anyone’s interested, these are the three things I came up with for my 90 Day Plan.

Things I’ve decided to change in how I do things. I’m hoping these will help eliminate burnout and renew my focus on writing for passion.

  • I log in to work on writing, publishing, and/or marketing Monday through Friday from 8am to 2pm. Wednesdays will end at 1pm due to kids’ early out from school. (Note: I do household chores during this time, too.) Once the 1-2pm mark hits, I quit no matter how much I did or didn’t do.
  • Once You’re Nextย (my YA thriller under my pen name) is done, I’m going back to working on three books at a time. I’m also lowering my word count per book.
  • At least three days a week, I will write 250 – 1000 words in each the book for the day. I was making myself do 3,000 words total Monday through Friday. That seemed to be pushing myself too hard.
  • Monday through Friday, I walk for 30-60 minutes on the treadmill. (I finally broke down and bought one since it’s cold in Montana too many months in the year.)
  • Saturday and Sunday is for other activities. It’s time I got back to reading more and doing other hobbies I haven’t done in ages.

Regarding my publishing schedule:

  • I want to be three months ahead of schedule. Part of ย my problem is that I’ve been writing, editing, and publishing as quickly as I could. I published back all of my pre-order dates so far out that I hope to be able to have every book done three months before I publish it. That way, I hope to be more relaxed about things.
  • I will no longer put up pre-orders until I finish the book. I’ve finally learned my lesson on this one. Pre-orders are nice in that they give me time to put all of my ducks in a row, so to speak.
  • I’m not going to stress how often I publish books. When they’re done, they’ll get ready for publication.
  • I’m also only taking on stories I want to write. I’m hoping this will get me out of the writing to market mindset.

One final thought on the You Tube video on avoiding burnout that I think is important to mention:

The author made an excellent point that when setting goals, one of the best things to aim for is how you want to feel. I’d never thought of things that way before. How I feel is something I can control. It’s something we can all control.ย The idea is to think of how you want to feel and then take the steps necessary to get there.

For example, my goal is to feel relaxed while writing. Since publishing eight books in 2019 would stress me out, I lower the number to six books. I can comfortably do six books that range between 50,000 to 70,000 words. I’m not focused on how the books will sell, who’ll like them, or anything else I can’t control. I’m just focused on the thing I can do: write.

I don’t know if something in this post can help, but I figured I’d pass this along in case something in here will work for you. I think part of living a hectic life is trying to figure out a way to best organize our time so we don’t stress ourselves out, whether we’re writing or doing something else.



About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to
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10 Responses to Shifting Things Around

  1. Burnout is definitely a real thing. And it can be hard to pull yourself out of but it looks like you have a really good plan! I love those videos and decided to go with the board. Something big, colorful, and in my face(or from the corner of my eye when I’m facing my desk, lol) helps me the most.

    Here’s hoping you – and everyone who is trying these methods – will have great results. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m finding that rebounding from burnout is a long process. Some days I feel like I got a better hold on it than others. The plan is helping a lot. I no longer have to feel guilty for not getting in my full word count. I forgot about this until recently, but I didn’t always push myself this hard. Back when I got started to about 2015, I didn’t write as much as I have been from 2016 to earlier this year, AND I took vacations from writing. I would take 2-3 weeks off to focus on reading for pleasure, spending time with the family, and just enjoying myself. I did still blog since I love blogging, but I never once thought about how many words I was writing a day. I’m thinking for the next 90 Day Plan, I’ll get rid of the word count goals and just tabulate how much I naturally write when I’m not pushing myself. Back then writing was way more fun than it’s been for the past couple of years. I still like routine and structure, but focusing on how much I write probably isn’t the way to go.

      I do like the eye appeal of the board. I just know I wouldn’t be disciplined enough to move the stuff to another portion of it. ๐Ÿ™‚ By the way, I saw the booklets you made on Facebook, and they’re so cute!

  2. Thanks for sharing, especially your own 90 Day Plan. Maybe if I do something like this, I can actually get some writing done between the sudden deluge of editing jobs I’ve gotten. LOL. (I’m not complaining…it’s Christmas and vacation money.)

    Now that I see you mentioned posting a short story, I think I’ll go to FB and link to the Halloween flash fiction I did a long time ago. That was fun.

    • I’m so happy you’re editing for me. You’re wonderful! And you deserve priority too, Lauralynn! You should write when you’re in your best writing time slots. Don’t sell the good hours. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I agree with J.R. Pearse Nelson. You do an excellent job as an editor! But as she said, your writing is important, too. Maybe the 90 Day Plan will help you find a balance. At least you know that (on my end), I can be flexible once I stop doing those assetless pre-orders. Once The Wedding Pact is done, I’m never putting up another pre-order until the book is finished and ready. I still like pre-orders since they give me time to organize everything for the release date, so I plan to keep doing them.

      • I think the only reason I would do a pre-order is if I’m doing a special price just for pre-orders. Do you do them on Amazon, too, or just the othe retailers?

        • I like doing pre-orders on all retailers, but Amazon won’t allow one until three months in advance of the release date. I would never put up a pre-order on Amazon until the entire book is done. Too many people have run into trouble with having issues with a pre-order when they don’t have the final copy uploaded at the time they set it up. Personally, I wouldn’t do a lower price during the pre-order period because the people who pre-order already love your books. I set one price and go with it the whole way. I know money isn’t everything, but it’s nice to have the extra money coming into your account to help pay the bills.

  3. This is really helpful. Thank you! I love the method of considering how you want to feel when making goals. That’s a positive mindset shift. I’ve done this with my normal work/life balance — I have considered how I want to feel as a mom and when I’m with my kids, but I never considered applying that to writing. I will try that.

    In terms of organization, I started a business journal last year, because it was so hard to keep my million trains of thought organized so that I could move forward. The journal is really pretty, so I love looking at it, and I just love journals and the way I can channel my thoughts with pen & paper. Each month I flip to a new page and write my monthly goals in three categories: creative, reading (nonfiction & fiction), and business. Then as the month goes on I use the following pages for notes on business research and learning that I’m doing, tidbits I hear on podcasts, stuff I want to try…it’s pretty free and loose. When I complete this journal I’m going to buy another and just keep on going the next month. Now when I do have the time, I can refer back to what I learned about direct sales, or the value of podcasting, or audiobook options, or… YOU know the list is endless. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you! Have a lovely week.

    • We’re opposites. ๐Ÿ™‚ I never thought to do the method of how I want to feel in my personal life with the husband and kids. I’m going to do that. The kids won’t be around forever, so I need to enjoy the time I have while it’s here. As for hubby, I believe it’s important to keep the romance alive.

      I like the idea of marking down what you’re learning and then looking back on it. Do you keep the journals from the past couple of years? I hadn’t before, but I saved last year’s. I didn’t mark down things I learned, but I should. That sounds like a helpful strategy.

  4. Pingback: How to Create a 90 Day Plan to Achieve Your Goals as an Indie Author

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