Welcome to the Author Support Blog Hop! When I caught Sharon Bayliss’s announcement, I totally related to some of her struggles, and I know there are many other writers out there who do to. While I’m still working on balancing my own life, I thought I’d share my struggles and routines in hopes that they might help or inspire others!
WHAT do you do?
So, a little bit about myself. First, I’m a mom, which means my day starts and ends with kid chaos and mommy duties. Both of my girls are school-aged, which really helps because I have school hours to myself. Hours where I should be able to do a million things and write a ridiculous amount of words. But not so fast. I don’t sit at home eating bonbons all day; I work from home. I work part-time as an Accountant and Marketing Manager for a chain of retail stores in Texas, and I also have four clients for whom I perform similar duties. It’s enough to easily fill a 40 hr work week and then some. In addition to that, I’ve recently signed on with REUTS Publications as their Marketing Guru and Jr. Editor. More duties, same number of hours in a day.
And I write. For those of us who write, we know this doesn’t just include writing. It includes CPing, beta reading, editing, marketing, blogging, and reading. (Did I miss anything?) There’s A LOT of work that goes into everything we create and the help we give others.
HOW do you do it?
It isn’t easy, but I am a creature of routine. I’m one of those people that can’t focus, can’t work, can’t write, if I have a laundry basket full of laundry or a sink full of dishes. I can’t. It drives me nuts. I also know if I let myself get sucked into Twitter or Pinterest, I’ll forget everything on my To-Do list on any given day. So I MAKE myself stick to a schedule. Except for when life throws said schedule out the window. (Hey, it happens.) So I TRY TO MAKE myself stick to a schedule.
I get up, I take a few minutes to check emails, Twitter etc. I get my kids to school. As soon as I’m home I put in a load of laundry. I get on my treadmill – this is my stress relief, prioritizing time, and writer brainstorming time. I try to do 3 days a week minimum. Sometimes I skip it if I have too much other stuff to do. Then I sit down in front of my computer. Depending on what day it is, sometimes I do work first. I roll out things that have to be done. Other days, I take an hour to write before diving into everything else. Most days I’m bouncing back and forth between emails, reports, social media (for my employer), oh and that load of laundry I put in is ready to go into the dryer. I make myself get up and move it over.
The key to finding writing time is to block out time just for writing and guard it with your life. Sometimes that maybe during the day, sometimes it may be in the evening. Whenever it is, you block it out and you make yourself write. I’ll admit, I don’t writing time every day. I don’t, no matter how hard I try. My fix? I brainstorm as much as I can. I write down notes, I’ll add a couple lines to an outline to help me remember what I want to write about. So when I sit down to write, words spill forth from my fingertips (at a pace comparative to that of a slug race). I do the best I can, and I don’t beat myself up when I fall short.
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am 10 times more productive if I have more to do. If I have less to do, I don’t always use my time wisely. Now, that isn’t to say that I don’t take breathers every now and then, because I do. My most productive days are seriously exhausting. But I LOVE the feeling of accomplishing a ton of things. I feel lazy if I don’t. BUT I don’t beat myself up about a lax day. Some days the only thing I feel like I accomplished was getting that one load of laundry washed, dried, and folded. But hey, it’s something.
WHY do you do it?
As I hinted previously, I’m kind of an accomplishment junkie (yes, that’s a thing). Somewhere deep down, I’m hardwired this way, though I think my business management courses really hit this concept home. Time is money. My world revolves around billable hours and ROI. When I take time to do something “unbillable,” like writing, it’s because it’s important to me; it’s something I’m passionate about. It’s something that’s hardwired inside of me and screams to get out. It’s the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll. There’s a little bit of this in all of us. We battle with choosing between responsibilities and desires, and trying to do it all.
The key is to find joy in life, in the chaos, in writing, in friends. It’s so easy to get down when we face so much rejection, when we fail to write as much as we’d like to, or as fast as we’d like to. It’s hard to continue when those around us seem to be doing so well, seem to be doing it all. But we ALL struggle. Never forget that. Those who succeed have done so because they’ve worked hard and made sacrifices. If we take each new day to better ourselves, work toward goals, and help others along the way, before we know it, we’ll have made it through a valley and climbed a mountain.
Tips: Don’t compare yourself to others. Do what works for you. Make time for friends and family. Enjoy life. Dream. Believe. Never give up.
Check out and support the other participating authors!