I’m so far behind on my blog posts because I’m rewriting the proposal for my fourth book…while doing the edits for my second book, while slogging through my MG contemporary novel, while reading writing magazines and subscription sites to help improve my craft, while trying to find an agent, while building my platform on 3 different social media sites, while piling up ebooks I’ll never get a chance to read, while trying to get some housework done, while squeezing in some gardening time, while staying up too late trying to get more stuff done–and, oh yeah, there’s the eating and sleeping thing.
It’s no wonder we feel like we can’t keep up: we literally CAN’T keep up! I could have a fulltime secretary, chef, housekeeper, and personal assistant, and they’d all be busy all the time.
So, the question becomes how do we prioritize the half a million things we all have to do each day in order to actually get our writing done? For me, writing is my fulltime job. I don’t have kids, and my husband works 40 hours a week in another town. So, I’m quite blessed to have long stretches of time during the day by myself. And yet, I am still just as busy–perhaps MORE so–as I was when I worked fulltime retail.
It’s no secret that the demands placed on us nowadays are ridiculous; many of us are highly stressed, sleep-deprived, and overwhelmed by all we need and want to do. Sometimes, even my hobby (gardening) takes too much time and effort; instead I sprawl on the couch and burn precious time watching reruns of old TV shows like Magnum, PI and crime documentaries. My clever brain tells me I’m “doing research” when Criminal Minds or Forensic Files is on.
Now, you people who are highly organized and in denial about your overwhelm will tell me that I could get more REAL work done if I turned off the TV–and you’re not wrong. But by 2am my brain is pretty much mush, and I can’t be rattling around doing housework while my husband is asleep. The solution comes down to prioritizing what’s most important TO ME. So, while I acknowledge that agents like to see big platforms before taking on a nonfiction writer, I know that I’m not great at social media and that it’s not something I enjoy: so it gets pushed onto a back burner. My house is a mess and will stay that way until the long Michigan winter arrives and keeps me out of the garden for the next 5 months. My proposal is front and center right now because I spent a lot of money to go to that national writer’s conference and several of the agents there asked to see my work. The edits on the second book have a deadline attached, but they can be done at 11pm after my husband goes to bed–and before my brain becomes cold maple syrup.
Of course, daily catastrophes will arise and must be attended to (the flat tire, the unexpected trip to the doctor, the dash to the pet store for cat food), but, for me, the only way to cope is to compartmentalize and deal with one thing at a time, while doing my best to see to the most important demands first. So, I may miss lunch on most days, and there are definitely too many dust bunnies in the corners, but my career is flourishing and the cat is getting fed…and sometimes that’s just the best we can do.