The Kobo Writing Life team is excited to announce our latest Live Q&A on September 22nd 2020. From 12:00 PM-1:00 PM EST, our takeover guest, Ines Johnson, will be answering all your questions on the Kobo Writing Life Facebook and YouTube pages. If you can’t make the takeover, feel free to comment on this post with your questions and we can ask them for you! Keep reading to learn more about Ines and how she uses goal setting and planning to stay on top of her busy publishing schedule. 

How does she write all those books?
She must have a ghostwriter.
She can’t be human.

Hello, my name is Ines Johnson and I write kissing books. I’m also human, a female, a mom, and a very prolific writer.

I’ve lost track of how many books I’ve written. It hurts my brain to try to count. When I just now tried to figure out how many I’ve written this year, I got a headache!

I can tell you the secret to my success… but you’re probably not going to like the answer. Are you ready for it? Here it goes.

Get out of bed. Butt in chair. Fingers on keyboard.

That’s it. A shower is not mandatory if that helps!

Well, okay, there’s a bit more to it than that. The other part of my success is goal setting and planning.

I plan using a quarterly system. Each quarter I set out three main goals. For Q4 2020, I plan to write six books for one pen name and revise two books for another pen name. 

Sounds crazy? Not when you break it down. 

My sweet pen name, Shanae Johnson, is tasked with writing six books (25-30K) from October to December. While my paranormal romance pen name Ines Johnson is tasked with revising two books (40-50k). And alas, my steamy pen name N.S. Johnson will have no new works written during the fall and I will be only promoting her backlist.

Most of my books are about 20 chapters long. I write by chapters and not word count. So if I write four chapters per day, then I could have a book in a week. It takes me about 20-30 minutes to fast draft a chapter, and then another 60 minutes to revise it. Note that I do drafting and revision separately. I don’t start the revision until I’ve completed the first draft.

So each chapter takes about 90 minutes to complete. That’s six hours per day of work, five days per week (though I usually work six days per week). There are 13 weeks in Q4 from October to December. If I kept to a strict writing pace, I could get this done in about half the time. But because I’m human and human things come up, I’ve actually given myself more than enough time to play around on Facebook and scroll through Instagram!

Does this mean that you have to adopt this schedule to achieve success? Absolutely not. This is my pace based on my strengths as a television writer of thirty-minute scripts. As a screenwriter, I had to produce thirteen scripts a season. Now, I simply think of my books as television episodes that I have to write each quarter. My true success came when I broke my goals down into bite-sized chunks and matched them to my abilities.

If you want to earn a specific amount of money or write a certain number of books, look first to your strengths. Are you excellent at meeting deadlines in your day job? Apply that to your writing career. Are you a gamer who quickly figures out the best path to defeat the villain? Turn that skill towards your plotting. Are you a parent and the best bedtime storyteller ever? Then pull out your phone and dictate your story while you’re putting your kid to bed.

The best advice that I can give is to look in the mirror, directly at your talents, and then turn around and use those in your writing to craft success!

Lover of fairytales, folklore, and mythology, Ines Johnson spends her days reimagining the stories of old in a modern world. She writes books where damsels cause the distress, princesses wield swords, and moms save the world.
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

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