Friday, January 15, 2016

BALANCE and CHANGE

One of the things I hear authors complain about most is finding balance in their lives. From finding enough time to write, time to market their books, exercise, down time, spend time with family. 

TIME.

It's so easy to get stressed when one of those things is out of whack, and things get out of whack because there's never enough time to do everything. 

My body has a limit on how long it will spend at a desk without hurting--and if I push it I pay the price for a week. So I don't push it. I am kinder to it, taking more breaks, I use a standing and sitting desk, do yoga etc. My kids and husband, while independent, all actually like to spend time with me--plus often need a chauffeur. I decided a long time ago that if my kids need me for something (not just being whiny brats :))--if they want to tell me about their day and their problems, discuss homework or teachers, then I'll be there for them. Always. It doesn't mean I don't nod and eventually reach for the noise-canceling headphones because my daughter can talk the hind legs off a donkey. But as she swings between garrulous and silent moody teen, I take advantage of the times she wants to chat.  I'm largely self published these days and still do everything myself (except covers, editing, and formatting--these I hire out). That's a lot of different pressures on me from different directions and I didn't even mention the dog, the geckos, and the fact I live in Manitoba which, during the winter, is a pressure all in itself. 

I treat writing the way most people go to work (9-5), although I walk the dog first, usually listening to a research book on audio. Then I turn off the internet (Freedom App) for at least three hours while I get my head into my story. I take regular breaks throughout the day and admit to checking my email and FB on my iPad during tea breaks (if I could stop that, I would). If I'm in full writing mode I aim for 2.5 K new words on the page. If I'm editing then I do as much as I can.

When the kids come home from school I give myself permission to switch to other things. Facebook ads seems to be the marketing thing du jour. Or writing blog posts :) If I'm on chauffeur duty I pack up the laptop and headphones and do some more work wherever I happen to be (sometimes I'm at my most productive during those forty minute shifts). After we've eaten dinner I generally crash for 2 hours of TV with the family and then I read in bed. Every day repeats pretty much like that one. It's my balance and I've worked long and hard to get it just right.

CHANGE

2016 is not looking good for routine. We're looking to get our kitchen and my office renovated. This project is in flux, LOL. We're also going to travel for six months with DH's work. This will be awesome but I have a house, kids, schooling to organize--not to mention the dog and geckos to be taken care of. Thankfully we have an excellent dog/house sitter who stays here. But I'll need to adapt to the changes of being on the road and living in far off and unfamiliar places, and I'll need to get super focused for shorter bursts of writing time if I hope to achieve anything.

This is the reason I haven't set up any preorders for my next two books in the COLD JUSTICE SERIES (except on iBooks which is flexible). I'm hoping to write the rough drafts of both books before I leave in the summer. The idea of having deadlines/or disappointing readers when I have a year that is so uncertain distresses me and affects my sleep patterns (I forgot I used to be an insomniac until I woke up in a cold sweat worried about kitchen renos). Stress is bad for me which is why I've tried to eliminate it from my life (duh). My hubby tells me not to worry, but it's like telling a glacier not to melt under the hot sun. 

So--wish me luck on my next set of adventures for 2016. Happy New Year by the way! Any tips for writing while on the move? Any tips for living in Japan? Or surviving kitchen renos?

************

Some new release news regarding the COLD JUSTICE SERIES. For those of you who've read A COLD DARK PLACE, I've written a short epilogue where former assassin Alex Parker may, or may not, propose to FBI Agent Mallory Rooney.

It's available exclusively in a new box set of six Romantic Suspense series starter books.  99c for the six full books and each author has written a special epilogue to her own story that connects these Romantic Suspense worlds!



DANGEROUS CONNECTIONS

6 comments:

Anne Marie Becker said...

I'm right there with you on realizing that those "chatty" moments with the teens (or pre-teens) are fleeting, and we must take advantage of them. It's so hard to switch from "concentrating on a scene" mode to "interacting with real humans" mode, but I find I have to shift back and forth several times a day. I hope I'm getting better at it. :)

Hope you'll share pics of your new kitchen and office when they're done. And good luck, Toni! Sounds like you're in for some fabulous adventures!! :D

Rita said...

The pros of the adventure will dim any and all cons. I know if anyone can handle all this it's YOU! Can't wait to hear all the reports.

Marcelle Dubé said...

The coming year will likely be disruptive, challenging and exciting... and it'll be very good for your writing. Just keep telling yourself that. :-)

Toni Anderson said...

Anne Marie--I love them when they happen :) Photos are a given :)

Rita--Oh, I do love you :) Thanks for your confidence :)

Marcelle, I tell myself that in 2017 I can go back to being a stick-in-the-mud

Maureen A. Miller said...

Well, if DH's job brings you to the Charlotte area I can clean out a spot at my desk and we can sit side by side staring blankly at our computer screens. Doesn't that sound like fun?!?!

No matter where you go you will have your family with you. There is nothing more important than that.

Lisa Q. Mathews said...

I really do think balance is key to the writing process--and change can bring unexpected up-sides, too. (Now if I can remember that myself when I'm struggling with either...:-)