Gather Your Thoughts

Whether you attended BEA last week or not, today spend 300 Seconds gathering your thoughts. Very similar to the 30 seconds after a meeting spent making notes, this is a time to relive last week and figure out the days to come.

I like to use the Natalie Goldberg Writing Down the Bones method where you “just keep your hand moving.” You might write, “Billy press kit Glenlivet paint cans cotton balls image on phone.” It might not make sense to anyone, but from your own shorthand you will later recall that on the way to meet Billy for drinks (where you promised you’d send him your sample press kit) you saw that fantastic window display with paint cans, but you think you can do something similar with book pages and cotton balls. You shot a pic with your phone for reference, and if you ever need to send Billy a gift, he likes Glenlevit.

After this exercise, you can create an executable to-do list. From my ramblings above, my list might look like this:

  • Ask Amy to send Billy the press kit. Give her his card.
  • Share window display image with Richard. Have him try it with cotton balls.
  • Ask Chad to grab some cotton balls on his errand run.
  • Add Billy’s birthday to calendar. November 5. He likes Glenlevit.

Did someone mention the possibility of sending an author to your bookstore? Make a note to follow-up. Did you promise a publisher that someone on staff would read and review a galley? Assign it with a deadline.

This is a good exercise which can be conducted every Monday. (Or if you’re really ambitious, on Sunday night.) And if you don’t need the entire 300 seconds, spend the remainder of the time smiling because you’re incredibly poised.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay