Writing & Family Balance
It's now the 2nd of April, one full quarter into 2014 and I decided to review my New Year's Resolutions to see how I'm doing...This one screamed out at me:
"7. Create a better Writing & Family Balance: This is something I struggled with quite a bit this year. As a SAHM, sometimes it's hard to make the time for writing. During the day is hard because one of the littles is home and usually wants my attention. Evenings are hard because the second little is home from school and the hubby is home from work. The evenings are hard because I'm exhausted from the day and just want to veg out on the couch with my hubby watching a movie, playing a video game, knitting or reading! The past few days I created a writing schedule, much like the one I created for NaNoWriMo. Once the hubby and I agree on it, I'll post it to my calendar and do my best to stick to it. I must treat this like a job, because as soon as the littlest little goes to school next year, it will be my job! Getting into good habits now will help me to keep them better next year!"
I'd love to say that I've stuck to this resolution, but in all honesty, I haven't. I did create a schedule for writing and I put it on the calendar and I make sure that I don't schedule anything during those times. However, my problem lately has been using my "writing" time for marketing, catching up on social media and everything except writing. It's disheartening for me, at the end of a "writing" day, to have nothing to show for it. When I say "writing" I mean all aspects of writing - writing short stories, editing my novels, coming up with new ideas - all the parts of actual "writing".
My sales have dropped off since the beginning of the year and I thought maybe it was because I had all but disappeared from social media. So over the past couple weeks, I've renewed my presence, but I haven't seen an upswing in sales. It could just be because everyone who was going to buy my book, snagged it when it was free over the Christmas holiday. I don't know.
But the thing that has me most worried is "how" do I create a better writing/family balance? During the #ChickLitChat session last week, the topic was marketing/writing balance, which I thought perfectly aligned with my concerns lately. And some of the ideas I heard were ones I immediately wanted to put into practice: Scheduling tweets and/or blog posts, scheduling time on the calendar for social media (much like scheduling writing time), scheduling time on the calendar for marketing.
Many people had different ideas, what worked for one - couldn't work for another. But at this point, I'm willing to try anything. So this week, I've tried to create a schedule for everything and stick to it. I'm still working out the kinks, but it seems to be working for me so far. As soon as I get home from dropping the littles at school, I spend 30 minutes on social media. I answer FB posts, respond to tweets, check Goodreads & Pinterest, schedule tweets and post an interactive topic on Twitter. Then I get to work on writing (writing, editing, new ideas, etc.) until it's time to pick up the littlest little from preschool. Then I make lunch for us and we head back to the basement, where my office is located amongst the little's toys. I check social media again for 30 minutes, work on marketing for 45 minutes and then write until the oldest little gets home from school. Obviously, this isn't going to work every day ... but so far this week, I'm making it work.
Social Media is such a time suck and I noticed this morning that I was more susceptible to reading more and more than earlier in the week. I think that was because I was procrastinating on getting started with the edits for Back to December. The edits are a big job, with some rewriting necessary, and if it weren't for the upcoming publishing date - I'd probably let it sit in a drawer for a few weeks.
I have no way of knowing if this schedule is going to work, but I figured it was better to try something than to continue to stress over not having the time to get things accomplished. And I was missing my "date night" evenings with the hubs after the littles go to bed.
How do you balance your writing life and family life? Please let me know in the comments below...any and all advice is appreciated and encouraged.