Life is a balancing act. We all know that and some times the best plans fall through the cracks. I hate when that happens. I'm a scheduler. I like to know what time, when, and where long before it's supposed to happen. However, that rarely happens. I live in a house with my husband, my child, two cats, seven puppies (outside) and one adult dog (also outside), but my life can get unpredictable. So can my writing. I know you've all been waiting eagerly for Mia's Waking up and Bedlam, and I hope you've all been just as eagerly waiting for my In Black and White. The thing is, our writing life kind of caught us by surprised, dragged us under, and held us hostage.
We were both contracted to write books for Ellora's Cave. Crazy, I know. But as this blog is about Self-Publishing, I'll keep that business to a minimum, because obviously, that is not part of SPE. That being said, we've both been busy trying to balance everything, and that's going to happen to you.
As an author, you don't just write one project and say 'I'm done!' Especially as an indie author. If you read any of the marketing books out there for authors, I can promise you with in the top 5 ways to market, "Write the next book." Will be one of them. Okay, well you can write the next book after you edit, spit polish and shine and release the first one, right? Well, that depends on the type of release schedule you want to have and how many series you have. Typically in the traditional author world, it takes about a year for the next book in the series to come, some times six months. And fans are willing to wait for that, especially if they love the author. It can work that way in the Indie world too, but you don't want people to forget your name.
Now, I'm not telling you to write crap and throw it out there, because you want quality, but quantity counts for something too. My point is, never stop writing, figure out how to balance your life, your kids, your husband, your work. Stop making excuses like 'I'm too busy' or 'my day job sucks the life out of me'. I get that. I do, when I wrote one of my first novels I was working three jobs. I wrote on Lunch, between shifts, and late at night, granted I was young then, but I managed. On top of that, learn to roll with the punches, sometimes you have to put a project on hold, or sometimes something unexpected happens for it. Black and White is in limbo until I hear back about something pretty specific for it. It drives me nuts, but I have to work with it.
There's an experiment in Chris Baty's No Plot, No Problem, that I thought worked great for finding time to write. Take an spreadsheet, and put times down the side of it, starting when you wake up and going to your typical bed time. Now, track what you do each hour of your day, once you've done that for a week, go back and look at it. Anything that could be consider a time waister (I.E. Playing Candy Crush on Facebook and hour before bed. Watching that TV show you're really not into, but it was on anyways.) highlight it in red. Now look at that, really look at it and you will see when you can fit writing in.
Here's a glance at my typical weekday (I normally take weekends off for more family time.):
5:30am: Get up, make husband his lunch and breakfast
6:00am: Go back to bed. (you'll see why I do this in a bit.)
8:00am: Get up with daughter, get ready for the day, make both of us breakfast
8:45am: Feed dogs and cats, make sure there are still 7 puppies.
9:00am-11:30am: Spend time with daughter, work with her on shapes and colors, play games, attempt to work with letters. (if there is any independent play time here, I use it to do chores and occasional research.) some times go to the park, that kind of thing.
11:30: Lunch time
12:00 (some times 12:15): Daughter goes down for nap, I work on what ever is on my to-do-list. (writing, editing, blogging etc.)
2:30ish: Daughter gets up from nap, so we read, chase her around, love on her.
5:00pm: Start dinner
6:00pm: Eat dinner
6:30pm: bath time for daughter
7:00pm: Bed time for daughter, work out time for mommy. (this is normally a 30 min run)
8:00pm-12am: Work, writing, editing, whatever is on my list. My rule is, if I'm too tired to work, I have to go to bed. I can't play games until midnight
3:00am: Get up, feed cat.
So that's kind of how my day goes, I'm sure there are little details missing, but I tend to get a lot done during the day. The point of this post? Balance your life, find the time to get shit done, stop making excuses.