Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Balancing on the Right Track.

I have to admit I've been a bit slack with my blogging lately. Well, actually that's an understatement, I haven't posted something here for a long, long time. I could make all sorts of excuses but the fact is I've just been slack. I'm sure you'll understand that happens from time to time.The other day though I read a quote on a site somewhere that made me think about my life. I designed a little picture for your viewing pleasure, quote included on the image. *points to the inserted picture and smiles like a TV shopping network model*

The fact is I know I'm on the right track with writing but it's the balance that's out of whack for me. I tend to struggle with all the things that accompany being an author. I'm currently working on Switching Mercedes, the third book in my Wylde Shore Series with Siren Publishing. The first third has already been sent to my beta readers and they are asking for more, but it's not written, well not coherently that is, hopefully I'll have the rest to them soon. Now if all I needed to do was write the book I'd be getting it done at an alarming rate but there are other things that weigh on me as necessities of being an author.

Social media, this blog and other blogs I contribute to as a way of self promotion all take time. I understand the need for them and limit my daily promotional activities but they remain non the less. Then there's also what I call the sanity activities. These include staying in touch with my real life friends, having some sort of social life and making sure I do relaxing, soul building 'for me' activities, like reading or taking time out to watch a favorite movie, going for a walk to gather and consolidate my thoughts. In theory I should be able to fit them all into my life in a nice concise way. In reality what's happened is I stare at my to do list and throw my hands in the air feeling overwhelmed so nothing, or very little, gets done. The result...I'm actually sitting on the right track waiting for the train to hit.

At the Aussie Romance Readers conference this year, Nalini Singh was asked about publicity, her response - the best publicity for an author is your next book. Totally true, I couldn't agree more and it did change my focus on the importance of the 'other' stuff. The difficulty is, it changed my focus so much that over the last little while I've barely done the other and that plays on my mind. Sure I'll have the next book out but who will now about it? Social media and publicity is actually cumulative, if you do it consistently you build momentum and stay in the forefront of people's minds. If the momentum drops it often reflects in less sales and for a author that could leave you out on the streets with a laptop in your hand and nowhere to plug it in.

I know this is an issue for other authors as well, a author friend recently asked in a Facebook group what she should concentrate on? Getting her next book written had taken a back seat to the dreaded 'other' and she was finding it difficult to juggle writing, promotion and life. The result of the discussion appeared to be no answer, just lots of talk about prioritizing, doing what suits her best. It did accomplish one thing, however. It reaffirmed that I'm not alone in the boat I'm trying to row upstream against the tide.

So what have I decided to do about it? I've asked for help from other authors who want to appear on the blog, do an interview, post anything really. It helps me provide you with interesting content and limits the amount of time I need to post. I'll be here more regularly sharing ideas and filling you in on what's happening for me with my writing, but I won't feel like my followers are sitting staring at a blank screen anymore if I happen to miss posting for a few days. I turn off all social media for at least six hours a day and write. That's the only way I'm going to finish my WIP (work in progress) and then get onto writing the other dozen or so plots I have lined up. I'm taking two days a week off to do whatever with whoever I want to. After all, when I worked in the real world I didn't work seven days a week. I also finish working now at a reasonable time and just do something away from the computer. Don't laugh, I've started knitting, I'm also working my way through my TBR list, which is massive. I'm also being flexible, if my muse keeps me writing for 10 or twelve hours then I'll do it, and for the time the words are flowing I'll have a break from the other. Realistically the words don't always flow for that many hours with me but when they do I won't say 'no, it's time for me to log onto Facebook and promote'.

The final thing vow to do is not put pressure on myself. I reject should's, have-to's and must's. I accept that sometimes you get the hiccups and plans go pear-shaped, I won't beat myself up if I fall off the wagon for a day or so but I will push myself back onto that wagon asap and keep on keeping on.

Anyway, they are my attempts at balance, time will tell whether they work or not. So from the woman who's been sitting on the tracks waiting for the train to hit, being slack with the other, and everything else in my life - what do you do to find balance in the work/life game that we play. Whether your an author or not, what solutions have you found to get all the jobs done and keep moving along the right track?


  1. I have a calendar that's color coded. Writing days are pink and promo days are blue. Revision days are yellow. If real life gets in the way, which it does due to my husband's illness I don't beat myself up because I have another day scheduled that I can commit to. It's hard to keep all those plates spinning. You have to have a real passion for your work and writing as a whole. That's what keeps you moving, though your pace fluctuates- Lol
    Great Blog Post, Jan

    1. That's so true, Justine. It is passion for writing, or whatever job we do that keeps us moving forward. I love the color coding idea. I might even give that a try and see if it works for me.