Friday, March 4, 2016

Encouraging Efficiency by Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Many of us balance writing careers while working full-time, raising a family, or both. Some writers are working through college, fulfilling numerous church responsibilities, living with a chronic illness, caring for elderly family members, or any number of pressing responsibilities or living circumstances.

Time pressure is one of the most discouraging obstacles to achieving our writing goals, sustaining focus on our work, and maintaining inner peace and tranquility. God orchestrates detours, interruptions, and changes of plan for our good—I wrote about this last month—but what about organizing our time, so we’re able to flex?

The majority of us aren’t reclining in the sun, ringing for the butler to bring another drink, and thinking deep thoughts while twiddling our thumbs. If the only demands upon a writer were these, there would be no need to discuss time pressure.

Instead, even long before publication, we must build a website, establish a platform, and gather a tribe. These relationships must be legitimate, comprised of ongoing interactions, so when that book finally appears, people will want to read it.

So, for your encouragement, I share with you some free tools that have enabled me to better manage my time.

The most important timesaving strategies for any writer are:

  • To understand our own best working strategies,
  • To learn to make and to juggle a schedule,
  • To utilize timesaving tools.

Writing requires discipline. We must grab the moments we are given to write. But how do we clear the way for that to happen?

If you’ve never been published, I encourage you to discover what kind of environment you need for your best work and what time of day aids your creativity. After you publish, writing will become even more complicated, so notice now what works for you and do everything you can to accommodate your preferences.

Prioritize. Then schedule the priorities. Two task management tools help.

Google Calendar allows users to color-code tasks, and it links to our electronic devices, keeping our schedules handy wherever we go. With schedule in hand, whenever anything interferes with a planned writing time—and something will, we’re able to immediately adjust and reschedule. Then our writing isn’t forgotten. It’s merely bumped to a different timeslot. It’s encouraging to see that scheduled writing time still awaiting us.

Every time I open a new computer tab, Prioritab displays my goals for the month, week, and day. A running clock shows how much time is left. This app keeps me focused on my goals and aware of my deadlines.

Since writers have to utilize social media for our platform building, even though these sites can rob our time, I use these three tools to keep my social media time under control: RescueTime, Buffer, and Hootsuite.

Behind the scenes, RescueTime measures my computer tasks. Weekly it emails me the exact percentage spent on everything I do, including social media. This encourages me to guard my time.

Hootsuite and Buffer, which works better with Twitter, both allow me to schedule many social media posts ahead of time. This is a timesaver during campaigns. It also helps me avoid the distraction of social media interaction while I’m writing.

Finding good photos for blog posts and design needs can be time-consuming. These sites offer free, no-strings attached photographs: and To create media images with these professional-quality photos, I use, the easiest free design website.

Don’t forget to secure your documents. One handy security tool is Dropbox, which allows you to access your manuscript, even if your computer blows up or accidentally takes a swim in the Potomac.

There’s a short learning curve for apps and efficiency tools; but, once utilized, the weight of time pressure will lift. Now that I have a chronic illness, the fact that I’ve employed these tools enables me to continue to write and publish.

That’s a win-win situation.

Find the links for most of these tools and many more:  

If you missed the recent article on organization by Jennifer Hallmark, check it out:

Love takes action: The Creator God establishes the cosmos and shapes a man. Adam rises from the dust. Envious, the powerful angel Lucifer despises him. Oblivious to the threat, Adam is captivated by his strong, intuitive wife Eve. In the Garden of Eden, they enjoy abundant food, gorgeous vistas, and intriguing challenges, including their budding love and passion. They have it all!

But Lucifer’s deceptive brilliance tricks them into disobeying God. They eat the one forbidden fruit. Their innocence is shattered. Their unity with one another and with God is destroyed. Death will follow. Lucifer’s jealousy threatens mankind’s tenuous beginning. But God is merciful. What astonishing promise does He make? How will Adam and Eve survive—broken, shattered, and separated from God?

Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in the tornado capital of the U.S. - Wakita, Oklahoma, of "Twister" fame. There her parents met. There her roots were sunk in a storytelling family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned to her secure foundation, she writes with passion, illustrating God's love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Fallen is her second novel, Refuge her first. Melinda shepherds women in church and prison ministry and writes inspirational material on her biweekly blog at . With her family she is involved with Mission India, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students—




  1. I love Dropbox!I frequently use PicMonkey, but recently signed up for Canva to try it out. I hadn't heard about the two free photo sites you mentioned - so, thanks for the tip on those!

    1. Glad to help! Those free photo sites have great shots!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Melinda. Going to check out all your suggestions.Great post!

  3. Hope they help, Gail. They've sure made me more efficient!


We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!