it’s about Time
The Focused Creative
by Rosie Molinary photography by Lisa Crates
India Hill Brown has big goals as well as big strategies
key to Brown’s success. “Taking the smallest possible step can make a difference,” she says. “You can say that you are going to write a book by the end of the summer but then really think about it. How long will the novel be? How many words do you need to write each day? Accountability is really helpful and important for creatives. We can be emotionally driven at times. You need discipline to get the creativity down.”
India Hill Brown’s first book, The Forgotten Girl, is a middle grade novel being published this November.
Time Tellers What is more important to you today than five years ago? I am definitely more focused on healthy eating and me time.
26 LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS
here is the myth of the flighty creative, and then there is India Hill Brown. With her first book, a middle grade novel called The Forgotten Girl, being published this November, Brown has two goals at the front of her mind. “I am focusing on the marketing,” says Brown, 27, of her desire to do whatever she can to help her book land in the hands of young people who will love it. “I am also working on another book. My goal is to sell it before The Forgotten Girl comes out.” While writing fiction might take imagination, meeting her goals requires careful planning. Over the years, Brown has perfected a process for keeping her goals in sight and putting her time to good use. “I am distracted easily, and a way to combat that is to look
at what matters,” says the Lake Norman-area resident. “I set big goals at the beginning of the year. Then I break them down by month or week. If something is pulling me, I reflect on what I want the end of the year to look like. If I set a goal to write a new novel and sell it, and I am thinking about what I should do today, I remember what my goals are. Does it tie to my overall goals for the year and to my overall purpose?” In addition to using her goals to decide her priorities, Brown is also deliberate with her time. “I start my day with doing some type of devotional and maybe a little journaling. It sets the tone for my day. I make some coffee, and I consult my planner with what I need to accomplish that day,” says Brown, who starts her workday with email, dedicates at least
an hour daily to marketing for her new book, and then tries to leave a large span of time to write about 3500 words for her new novel. Even with her clear goals, Brown has to be deliberate about staying focused. “My phone is a huge distraction. I can look at my phone for something quick and then all this time has passed, so I need a lot of things in place to keep me on task,” she explains. “I use an app called Forest. You are basically growing a forest tree by tree. You can set the app for a certain amount of time and, if you close out of the app, the tree will die. It’s a way to keep you mindful of when you are constantly picking up your phone.” Whether growing trees or writing chapters, breaking a big idea into pieces has been the
Paper or electronics for time and task management? Paper. What tools are essential to managing your life? Pilot Precise V5 pen, Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner, Powersheets by Laura Casey, a legal pad and notebooks. With each story, I use a new notebook. What do you wish you had more time for in your life? I need to make more time for exercising. I definitely need to make more time for my friends and hanging out with them. Make a time management/ productivity recommendation. Try the Pomodoro technique. It is a technique where you work for 25 minutes and break for 5. You do that four times and then you break for an hour.