Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Here's a fairly simple fact about the wonderful world of writing. It's a juggling act. You work on Project Four. That's in the first draft stage. You edit Project Two: That's in the First Round Edit stage.  Not quite ready to send out, but you do what needs to be done so it can be submitted. You have to take care of Project Three: The editor and House X wants a new proposal and the first five chapters to peruse.Then there's the SUDDEN DEATH ROUND: Your publisher would like the line edits corrected on the final draft (you were late on that, no more excuses and it's time to earn some brownie points) of the manuscript that's coming out as a book much sooner than you thought it was. They'd like the entire 140,000 word MS with massive red lines and a few hundred editorial notes back in ten days. There can be no mistaking the note of Don't-Screw-This-Up-Again in your editor's email.

It can be overwhelming.

Add in a little daily family drama. Mom and her sister Lorraine are at it AGAIN. It's almost inevitable. they holidays are coming up and the debate about where the multiple family feast will take place who will cook what and whether or not to invite Uncle Wilber (He-Who-Drinks-Too-Much) is still a bone of contention. You aren't SUPPOSED to be the mediator, but they always come to you.

Bob still isn't speaking to Cousin Emily. No one really knows why, but that's going to come up soon.

That job you got to pay for this year's holidays? Yeah, that's rapidly becoming real work. Supposed to be ten or fifteen hours behind the counter and now they're asking if you could just cover for everyone who decided they couldn't actually spend the time. That's only an additional 30 hours a week (no overtime, please!) and you don't mind, do you?

Here's that thing you need to do: focus.

Set aside the time you need for your writing CAREER. A lot of times people don't want to remember that the thing you do where you're sitting at the computer every day in your fuzzy slippers with your oversized cup of coffee or tea, where you forgot to brush your hair and MAYBE even to change out of your pajamas is actually a career.

The books and short stories, those write and edit themselves, right? You were just playing around on Facebook again. It can wait until AFTER the crisis of the week, can't it?

Perception be damned it's still YOUR career and life.

Side note: Yes, I know kids make everything different, They are children and need attention and love and care. They also need down time. Or a good school to attend. And if you're the breadwinner in the family, they also need the roof over your head that your writing helps provide. Naps. Naps are good. And babysitters cane be very useful.

My point is, focus. No excuses (Understand that I consider an excuse MOST of the scenarios above. A day job is not an excuse. but if your writing is your career and the other is a job, focus first and foremost on your career. Children ARE an excuse, but if you have kids and barring unforseens and emergencies, they are a factor you can control. Focus. Find the schedule that works to make your day work for YOU, not the world around you. Set your priorities. yes, family IS important. but no rule says you always have to be the one stuck in the middle of the local family squabble.

Focus. It's hard to do sometimes, but it lets you keep all those plates spinning in the air with a minimum of broken ceramic.

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