March 11, 2014

Websites, Beat Sheets, and Lost Pants—Oh My!

Chewed pencil on a keyboard with text: The Struggle for Balance

Like many writers, I’d rather be writing than working on website stuff. Yet I’m known for teaching authors about WordPress blogs and websites. (Hint: It can be easy.)

Like many writers, I don’t “do” math. Yet I’m known for my Microsoft Excel Beat Sheets. (Hint: They don’t require math.)

And like many authors, I write by the seat of my pants. Yet I’m known for my Lost Your Pants? “plotting for pantsers” workshop. (Hint: There’s no plotting.)

Yeah, I guess that means I’m a walking contradiction. *smile* But it also means I’ve been there, struggling the same way we all do. My life is a constant balancing act between family and my (many) various work projects.

Between that common understanding and my epic, mini-ebook-length workshop handouts, my classes are popular. I’m presenting at three, probably four, writing conferences this year, including a return appearance at the big RWA National Conference, and I have two pages’ worth of comments on my Workshops page, asking me when my workshops will next be held.

I don’t want this post to come off as one big promo, but I get questions about my workshops all the time. So I’m taking care of the next several months’ worth of class schedules in one shot, and then I promise to shut up about it. *grin*

Besides, while I love sharing what I’ve learned, I need time for my writing too. To that end, I’m changing my workshop schedule and wanted to let everyone know.

Want to Catch My Workshops Live? Now’s Your Chance

For all workshops other than “Lost Your Pants? The Impatient Writer’s Guide to Plotting a Story,” I’m transitioning to recorded-only, OnDemand presentations except for conference appearances. The recordings capture everything—audio, slide presentations, and text chat—and lack only the ability to ask questions in a live environment.

To create these recordings, I’ll be presenting several of my workshops in the upcoming months. I anticipate this might be the last time I offer these workshops live outside of a writing conference.

If you want the opportunity to catch these live, check them out. (Those of you who follow my blog know I often turn questions into a blog post, so this isn’t an announcement of becoming unavailable for answering general questions, but some people prefer the live format.)

And as people will be getting the basics of beat sheets in that second class, I decided to offer an extra presentation of my most popular workshop, which goes deeper into story structure and adds character building. However, while this class will be recorded for registrants, I don’t anticipate turning it into an OnDemand workshop.

(*psst* My newsletter subscribers receive special codes and exclusive links for bigger savings. If you’re a subscriber, look for the information at the bottom of today’s email, and if you’re not a subscriber, sign up to get the scoop! *grin*)

A Newbie’s Guide to Building a Self-Hosted Blog or Website

“A Newbie’s Guide to Building a Self-Hosted Blog or Website” is for beginners, and is intended for students with no knowledge of WordPress (or of creating websites and blogs at all). At the end of this class, students will have an overview of WordPress, know how to set up a basic website, and even know how to add a blog.

If you’re not sure you’re ready for this step, I offered an extensive series last year about websites and blogs. The articles cover everything from what our author site should include to whether a free or paid website or blog makes the most sense for us.

(Note: If you’re interested in the sister version of this workshop geared toward free websites, “Develop a Free Author Website in 60 Minutes (or Less!),” let me know in a comment on my Workshops page so I can add it to my schedule. Or if you’ll be attending RWA’s National Conference in San Antonio this July, you can check it out there.)

Beat Sheet Basics: Know Your Story’s Structure

In “Beat Sheet Basics: Know Your Story’s Structure,” learn the terminology, uses, and ways to adapt beat sheets to our writing methods. At the end of this class, students will have an overview of story structure and beat sheets.

If you want a beat sheet primer, check out my guest post at the Writers in the Storm blog from yesterday. Or you can join me for my chat about beat sheets at Savvy Author on Wednesday, March 12,2014 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Each of those guest spots offer a taste of what I cover in more detail in this workshop.

Lost Your Pants? The Impatient Writer’s Guide to Plotting a Story

“Lost Your Pants? The Impatient Writer’s Guide to Plotting a Story” teaches a minimalist approach to story development to accommodate “pantsers” (those who write by the seat of their pants) while still establishing the big picture for the plot and character arc. By the end of this class, students will have enough direction to make “Fast Drafting” techniques work for them.

This workshop is a two-day, intensive class that includes oodles of exclusive materials and always goes over on time because I make an effort to answer every question and help people with their stories. Because of that, I don’t plan on turning this into an OnDemand class in the future.

In other words, while this class will be recorded for registrants, the recordings won’t later be made available for others. I hope to offer this workshop twice a year going foward, spring and fall, so if you want to catch it before October, now’s your chance.

(I’ll also be presenting my “An Introvert’s Guide to Twitter” workshop at the Desert Dreams conference next month in Phoenix. If you’re interested in this workshop and won’t be at this conference, let me know in a comment on my Workshops page so I can add it to my schedule.)

Sheesh! No wonder I feel overwhelmed. *collapses* But I hope this transition to OnDemand classes for my shorter workshops will help me become more efficient with my time—and yes, I promise to shut up about all this now! *grin*

Do you ever struggle to balance all your projects? How do you get everything done? Have you found new ways to be efficient or do you have to cut something out? Do you have suggestions for me beyond my plan to move to OnDemand classes for my shorter workshops? Do you have questions about any of my workshops?

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Comments — What do you think?

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Tamara LeBlanc
Tamara LeBlanc

You are, hands down, the best writing teacher and coach I’ve ever had the pleasure to learn from. I’m thrilled your workshops are so popular!
I don’t have many suggestions on being efficient…I’m struggling with that daily while working full time, writing, taking care of my teenager and college student and caring for my sick husband. It’s tough, but when I read your posts they help me focus on me once and a while, on my goals, and that helps more than you know.
I WISH I could attend the RWA conference this year. I’m going to miss you AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But it’s just not a possibility financially 🙁
Hopefully one day I’ll get to meet you in person.
Have a great week!


Jami, I enjoyed your “Building a Website” class last year and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to build their own website.

It really does sound as if you’re overwhelmed. Be sure to stay healthy.

Lucy Lit

Doggonit, Jami, now I really have to reexamine my time management. LOL I’d love to take more of your classes and love the idea of OnDemand classes. I already struggle to balance daily obligations vs. writing/education time and your concept will help. Currently, I put off writing because of tax season 🙁 but the goal is to have enough published material so next year I can stop the tax prep madness.


[…] to share a couple of announcements about my workshops. Last spring, I mentioned that I would be transitioning most of my workshops to “OnDemand” availability. Six months later, I finally set up my OnDemand store. *sigh* Deadlines, […]


[…] out website, blogging and social media help from Jami Gold, and create a strong “home base” to act as your sticking point for author information and book […]

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