To anyone who has ever said being a writer is easy or who considers publishing to be an easy route, think again. Authors, especially self-published ones, are under constant pressure to keep writing while at the same time trying to market their work in order to increase their sales. Many writers turn to traditional publishing to escape this route, believing that publishing houses take care of promoting their work for them. Nope. Wrong again. Whether you publish traditionally or self-publish, you are responsible for promoting and marketing your own work. (Doesn’t seem right does it?) Juggling writing and marketing can seem a daunting task, but now add life to the mix, and you’re at risk of letting the balls drop.
Here is some advice to help you with your juggling act:
1. Set Realistic Goals: Planning on writing a novel in one month start to finish, during the holiday season, while trying to start a new blog? Anyone who has ever participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) knows that’s not possible. To draft a novel in one month or less requires an almost complete abandonment of work, chores, and family. You’re guaranteed to drop at least one ball. Setting unreachable goals guarantees that you will fail, and failing is discouraging. When setting goals, be realistic. Consider everything going on in your life. If you know this month is going to be busy at work or if there’s illness in the family, factor that in. So, instead of writing that novel in one month, why not give yourself 3 to 6 months to draft it out, so you can enjoy the holiday season with your family and focus on building your readership one blog post at a time?
2. Stick to a Routine: Once you know what your goals are, create a schedule to help you stay on track to reaching them. Make a daily schedule or a weekly one, where you mark the days and times you are going to write, market, and spend time with family, and then stick to it. Don’t allow yourself to diverge from the schedule, unless there is an emergency. Having a routine ensures you will make progress in everything you are trying to accomplish.
3. Be Flexible: Contrary to point 2, sometimes, you do have to be flexible. Say a family emergency comes up on Wednesday, but that’s your major marketing day! Don’t panic. Just adjust your schedule. Maybe cut that next trip to the park short a few hours to make up the time. The point of having a schedule is to help you manage your time. Its okay to be flexible. Just don’t make a habit of moving tasks to put them off. Procrastination is a writer’s worst enemy. Try to stick with the original schedule but be flexible when you have to.
4. Pair Back: If you’re working out your schedule and you find there isn’t enough time in the week to balance writing, marketing, and family, you might have to pair back somewhere. Maybe you don’t need three shopping trips with your sister or two T.V. nights with the hubby. Or maybe you have too many obligations to things outside of work and writing, such as clubs, sports, etc., that can be trimmed back. Don’t cut out anything that makes you happy or benefits you. For example, running is very important, but you can’t be everywhere doing everything at once. Or, if you really do want to spend time with the sister or hubby every night, why not try limiting the time to an hour? Maybe go walking or running every day for about an hour? Or meet for coffee? Finding balance is key to maintaining a workable schedule.
5. Find Support: No matter how committed you are to your routine, you are going to fall short some days (or weeks) and you are going to get stressed. Make time each week to reach out to someone for support. Take a break and go for a walk or meet a friend at the coffee shop. Whatever you do, just make sure you aren’t going alone. When the balls add up, sometimes it helps to add another juggler.
That’s all the advice I have to share. Hopefully, it was helpful to you. As always, I welcome comments and additional ideas other than my own. Thank you in advance for your feedback!