Prioritize The Shit Out Of This: A Series

“I’m going to have to science the shit out of this.” has been on loop in my head since I first saw the Martian trailer at Jurassic World. Not only is it an amazing and catchy line. It also applies to many things in my writing life, and yours too!

Last March I attended the DSP Workshop, where we Dreamspinners gather to talk shop, catch up, and for some folks it’s cocktail time! Charlie Cochet, Bru Baker, and I were hotel roomies, and that turned out to be the best idea ever.

Because not only did Bru and I end up coming up with the idea for Some Assembly Required at the workshop, we wrote it, and we submitted it.

Charlie, which the entire planet can agree, is fucking superwoman, gave me some awesome Yes, You Can Do It All tips.

The top two: Prioritizing and Time Management.

If you suck at one, or the other, or both, it isn’t too late to learn how to unsuck.

For reference, my brain is a very scattered place. Talk to me in person and you will see very well how I go from Point A to Point Q in a blink. I’ll eventually get to Point B if you’re patient enough to hang on for the ride. You’d think I’d rebel at the idea of structure. Wrong. I fucking love structure. 

Prioritizing the Anti-ADD

When writing Some Assembly Required with Bru Baker served as an amazing proving ground to trying out a new structure. Our work on SAR fell into a natural rhythm, we alternated chapters which gave us roughly a week break of writing to deal with other things.

In that time, I had started updating my blog regularly, gotten the contract for Bayou Fairy Tale, did my rounds of edits for Checkmate Ever After, did my rounds of edits for Bayou Fairy Tale, finished Some Assembly Required, and wrote Loving and Loathing Vegas. I had a flipping busy last four months.

How I did it? I had to science the shit out of it. I mean prioritize.

Ever hear that thing of do the easy things first and save the hard for last? Wrong. Do the hard stuff first, while you have the energy and drive. The easy stuff is just the icing for the end of the day. If you do the hard stuff last, you’ll be clean out of steam.

I have a whiteboard. I actually have four in this house and one of them is dry erase paint in my old bedroom. That’s a thing.  You may have seen one of them on Instagram.

Six chapters to go! Chibi Lex is in awe! #BayouFairyTale A photo posted by Lex Chase (@lexachase) on

This was from back when I wrote Bayou Fairy Tale. I made a list of chapters I had left, and one by one, I crossed them off. And for the humor and variety of it, I drew a little chibi of me in various states of excitement, awe, and death. A very simple list, but there’s always something pleasing about crossing things off.

Now, my whiteboard I list my deadlines. Right now I have listed in order of due date:

  • Outline to Star Fall (Darkmore Saga #3) – August 8
  • Bayou Fairy Tale Copy Edits – August 10
  • DSP Blog Post – August 13

What’s due first gets done first. On a very basic level it’s as easy as that. But some of these things have many steps to them. And my DSP Blog post involves sorting through photos and editing some for the blog post.

So, with steps involved, it means not putting things off until the very last second. It means what is due sooner gets worked on the most. Guys. This is no different than homework in grade school, high school, and college.

Am I the only one that actually didn’t wait until the last minute?

Tune in next week as I continue with “Time Manage the shit out of this.”

Also do yourself a favor and watch The Martian trailer right here.

I know right?!

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