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The Lone Writer Against The Time Masters

They said it couldn't be done. No one can battle time and win.

Sarah Hoyt


July 20, 2013 - 12:00 pm
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One should don appropriate goggles and helmet before doing battle with primeval forces like Time.

Organizing Your Creative Life in 13 Weeks: Week 3

Prolific science fiction novelist Sarah Hoyt follows up her “Your Novel in 13 Weeks” PJ Lifestyle series with a new weekly experiment each Saturday to figure out the best way for all creative types working from home to better organize their efforts.  

Week Zero, Introduction: Organizing Your Creative Life In 13 Weeks
Week 1/2, Preparation: The Case For Making Lots of Lists
Week One: How to Make Your Mind Like Water
Week Two: What Are the Best Apps For Artists and Writers Desperate To Get Work Done?


As the title indicates, this has been an exciting week. Okay, not that exciting, but constructive and – ah – a learning experience.

This is my third week of trying to organize my creative life using Getting Things Done by David Allen.

First the good:

This week I experienced far less stress than normal. This is good since I had to meet a lot of crisscrossing, quite a few of them unexpected. I made less progress than I expected on the long-term writing and editing projects, but that is probably due to the fact that I’m still recovering from serious respiratory issues. I tend to overestimate my strength at this point of recovery, and don’t count on all the sudden naps demanded by my body.

I am hoping that getting my life organized and stress under control will mean fewer illnesses. This year has been exceptionally bad on the illness front, and that puts a dent in anyone’s creativity and time.

So far the less stress thing is working.

The bad:

I’ve now tried something like a dozen applications to organize my lists of chores and the sub-lists of tasks, and I’ve been less than impressed with all of them. They seem to presuppose those using them are already hyper techy or hyper organized, which defeats the purpose. It would be like going to a sports store to buy two tiny barbells to start weight training and being shown the most complex weight bench, with intricacies only dedicated weight lifters will understand.

So, as far as that goes, I’m thinking of going back to basics. I have my lists in a notebook. That’s not going to work because it’s really hard to work through. However it occurs to me that a bunch of colored note cards would work, with a color per long-term project and white for the single task projects. I can then tack these up on the cork board over my secondary desk. I plan to integrate these with the other innovation this week.

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All Comments   (4)
All Comments   (4)
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I think you should check out SmartTM app which is based on GTD methodology. It works great with Evernote so you can create tasks and checklists from content of EN or iCal / Google Calendar. More about the app you can find at

Btw, SmartTM is particpating in Evernote DevCup'13. If you like it vote for SmartTM here's how to do it
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For house stuff, I highly recommend taking a look at They offer an email reminder (I've heard it gets a bit overwhelming) but the house is broken down into sections and she has focused instructions for going through what is needed in manageable chunks of time. Much peace spread in my house from her advice.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How about going lower tech instead? Like a whiteboard with colored markers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sarah, have you tried a spreadsheet instead of an App or notecards? You can put the same info as on a notecard, but also use additional columns for other information that will allow you to sort/filter easier. Tabs can be used for different projects if needed. Also, the entries can be color coded like using different colored cards. A spreadsheet is very portable so you can take it with you on those writing excursions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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