I love my job. And I’m not even saying that because you might think I’m lying if I jumped right in like that, but because I really do love my job. I’ve been there just under a year and have lucked out to already feel like such an important piece of the business. I’m pulling my weight, working my best, and can do my part to really use my skills. I’m constantly in work mode, keeping up with everything I can use for Facebook. My college degree helped me get here. I help write (about and for), market, photo, cook, and other fun things to keep it interesting, for the office, its publications and their social media presence. My coworkers are awesome. It’s not just a job. It’s a career and it’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. It’s a dream job.
I also love to write. I write eventually discarded short stories, forgotten and rediscovered novels, and nightmares I didn’t even know I had. I don’t want it to be another three years before the next book- I’m thinking less than one year. I know it drives my husband crazy when I don’t listen to him because I’ve wandered off into a new scene. It’s an escape and a way to constantly use my imagination. Books and magazines have been a staple in my entire life, and went full speed when I became a reporter and then editor-in-chief of my middle school newspaper in the seventh grade. I’m self-published and have been published several times in my life now, typically by local media. I know readers enjoy my work and how I want to pursue the rest of my time. Writing is something I’ve done my whole life. It’s a dream job.
So as you can see, I have two things that are very important to me. I can schedule some things for work stuff ahead of time, but I usually update it 7 days a week and often like to stay connected for any local updates. I can’t express how serious I am when I say I think about my job a lot – sometimes I can’t shut it off. It keeps me awake at night pondering solutions to questions that will probably never be asked. And then I get started with an idea or plot veer that I disappear into my computer. It’s not a bad problem to have, but between that and the characters yelling at me every day, how do I want to balance them out? In addition to spending time with my husband, friends and family, plus things like errands and downtime?
I only have half an answer for you. My schedule is predictable. I work, I usually stay in, we sometimes go out to dinner or drinks, and I like lazy Sundays. Sometimes, I do have the time to both decompress for a couple hours and then go write for the rest of the night in the back room. And even though my laziness loves to kick in, when I get started on a chapter, it’s hard to tear me away. If you do, it’s like I’ve just woken up from a dream and am still trying to remember all the pieces, so I only pay half attention.
The reason I say half an answer is because I know so many of you indie authors out there who are probably rolling their eyes at me, because they’re doing all these things, plus raising children and living far busier lives than me. (Since that’s not going to be me, I know I’ll eventually feel bad when I’m in my 30s without kids and complaining about no time. My married mom friends will punch me because I get a little quiet time. At least, that’s what my friend told me.) But that’s the thing – I feel like a lazy jerk sometimes because I don’t write fast enough. I let life get in the way, especially when it’s convenient.
And really, that’s my question. How do you balance it out? If reality were like my world in Gifted, my friend Courtney Cole would have to be either a Runner or a Doubler, because she is everywhere at once! She’s got her busy family AND she cranks out a book every few months, which is amazing to me! I can’t get over how fast she produces well-written, great novels that are all so different from one another. (I have to practically immerse myself in the characters before a story can really get going and sometimes that takes a while. That might be weird, I don’t know.) I really look up to her and wish I could write that fast (and well) but it might even just plain take me longer.
How do I write faster? How often do I yell at myself to get up and write before I make myself cry? And now that I’ve gotten this important, great job that now consumes most of my brainpower, can I find time to write? How do you stay sane, alone in your head, and relax long enough to get immersed in a book or another hobby? How do you find the time between kids (especially in the summer), jobs, weddings and other things?
Writers…share your secrets with me.