Today, I am pleased to welcome Piper Maitland to Lisa’s World of Books. Let’s see what she has to say about balance.
How I Find Time to Write, Blog, and Play
Thirty years ago, when I was struggling to get published, I asked other writers these same questions. I really needed answers. I had a busy life: a husband, two super-busy kids, three dogs, a cat, and a dirty house. A writer friend, Shirley Hailstock, has a busy life, too, and until recently, she had a full-time job. I was struggling to find ten minutes to myself, but Shirley wrote books, baked cakes, and diapered two stair-step babies.
“How do you do it?” I asked.
It took me a long time to understand her answer and to apply it to my own life:
“I’ve got 24-hours a day,” she said. “So do you.”
You need a daily plan.
When you find one that works, stick to the plan. If you have a blog, and you want it to grow, you should post every day. Do I do this?
Pioneer Woman advises bloggers to post daily, even if it’s just a paragraph, and she’s right.
But this won’t happen if you aren’t realistic about your lifestyle.
Make a list of the things that distract you, then add reasonable solutions. If noise bugs you, get earphones or tell the noise maker to dial it down. If phone calls break your concentration, find a way to deal with callers–a way that spurns telemarketers but won’t make you inaccessible to family.
For most writers, interruptions rip through their thoughts and words. You can’t control other people or external events/noises; you can’t control when Blogger eats your post or if Internet Explorer crashes.
But you can control your reactions.
When my boys were young, I wrote on the kitchen counter. That way, I could spread my papers around me, and my legal pads would be safe from grape juice spills.
It’s all about zoning.
I don’t have an office, so I created an semi-imaginary locked door. When noise shatters my focus, I put on earphones. It helps some. A real door would be better.
Mainly, the earphones serve as a signal to my family that I’m working.
I also bought a folding screen at Big Lots, and I put that around my writing chair.
Now it’s time for me to answer your questions–how do I find time to blog and write?
I don’t have any sure-fire answers. And what works for me today might not work next week–it might not work for you at all. Each day, I grapple with the same issue: how to find time and energy to blog and write fiction. I goof up all the time.
But here goes.
* I don’t have a housekeeper or an assistant. I write all of my blog posts. Some are okay, some could have been better. Que sera sera.
*I don’t do post-mortems. I’m like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hillside every single day, but I try to move forward.
*I guard my writing time. Woe to the people (you know who you are) who interrupt me in the middle of a sentence.
*I don’t explain why I need solitude. I used to, but I quit. Now I just bite harder. That may sound mean, but I live with two messy, loud men, and when I’m in Sweet Cakes mode, they think I’m being cute. So I tell them, “Look, guys, I’ll be writing from X to X. No interruptions unless the house is on fire.”
*Finally, if you love what you do, the days seem longer even if they move in a blur.
Time elongates, but I can’t explain how or why.
Who is supportive of your avocation? Who isn’t?
Take a short test.
- Draw a circle.
- Inside the circle, write the names of people who truly understand the demands of your career and/or avocation. These are the people who gracefully give you the time and space to work.
- Draw another circle.
- 4. Inside circle two, write the names of people who don’t understand your work. Add the name of the person who phones during your work hours and says, “Oh, you’re just writing? Well, then you have time to talk.”
- Add the names of people who make unrealistic demands and unintentionally sabotage your efforts.
How many names are in Circle 1? How many are in Circle 2?
Most writers are lucky if they have one name in Circle 1.
So, what’s the solution?
Hey, no one ever said this was easy. Even if your Circle 2 is empty and Circle 1 overflows, writing is still difficult. Understand that you can’t change the people in Circle 2, nor can you expect empathetic reactions. So quit trying. Some folks just don’t understand why writers need a cottony cushion of nothiningness around them—others do understand, but they don’t care. They want you to quit writing or blogging, and they want you to stop now.
Each writer has to find his/her own way in this twisty maze. Some have no choice but to distance themselves from Circle 2.
Remember to give thanks to the people in Circle 1—those kindhearted, loving few who help you follow your dreams. I didn’t have a book contract when I began working on Acquainted With the Night. I wrote the book on speculation. Several people in my Circle 2 thought I was crazy. But I kept going. I was grateful to have a supportive agent, a husband and son with scientific backgrounds, and good health.
Finally, read Marge Piercy’s poem, “For the Young Who Want To.”
Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.
Resources and Suggestions:
1. Take workshops on time management and draw up a plan that works for you.
2. Even better, sign up for social media classes at http://www.savvyauthors.com/. Learn short-cuts. Register for free services, such as Hootsuite, which make it easier to keep track of mentions and re-Tweets. Write a series of posts and use Blogspot’s “schedule this post” option.
3. Limit your social media time. If you’re facing deadlines, visit Facebook and Twitter once a day, then get back to work. Schedule Tweets and blog posts in advance.
4. Buy a notebook and keep a daily journal. Brainstorm for ideas. Use the “clustering method” from the book Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Lusser Rico http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Natural-Gabriele-Lusser-Rico/dp/0874772362
5. Honor your writing time, no matter how fleeting. If you don’t honor this time, no one will.
6. Give yourself permission to work and play—on your own terms
7. Practice saying the word “no.”
Acquainted with the Night by Piper Maitland
- ISBN-13: 9780425243633
- Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
- Publication date: 11/29/2011
- Pages: 544
- Source: From Publisher
A woman’s quest for the truth…A medieval icon that holds the clues…And an ancient book with the power to shake Christianity-and humanity itself.
London tour guide Caroline Clifford has never believe in vampires- until her uncle is brutally murdered at a Bulgarian archaeological site, and a vampire hunter who corresponded with him seeks her out.
Strange anagrams on her uncle’s passport lead them to a cliff-top monastery in Greece, where a shattering revelation connects a relic Caro inherited to an age-old text on immortality-and an enigmatic prophecy that pits the forces of darkness and light in a showdown that could destroy all they know…
This was a completely new take on vampires, and a good one at that. After Caroline was orphaned as a young child due to a fire in her home, she was swept away by her uncle to travel the world with him. The one rule was no matter where she went she had to take this one piece of art with her. Caroline receives a call in the middle of the night that her uncle has been murdered and she is off to claim his body not know the danger and adventure that will await her in Bulgaria, along with an interesting man, Dr. Jude Barrett, that she will meet at the airport who knew her uncle. The question is can she solve the mystery of her uncle death without dying herself
This book is packed with twist and turns that kept me guessing what might happen next and always being incorrect. This is a page turner and doesn’t let you put it down. This different prospective on vampires and hybrids was engrossing and very well done. My only complaint is that there was a ton of build up to the end of the story and it just kind of ended. With the book being over 500 pages I know that there was not much more that could be done but it left me with so many questions and it also made it a bit frustrating. I am hoping that there will be more to come with what happens after this story ends. There are so many possiblities!
I enjoyed that author’s writing style and the methods in which changes in the plot were expressed. Reading this book is much like watching a movie which was outstanding!