We all struggle with how to squeeze a writing career between other life responsibilities. Even after we’re contracted and published, most of us won’t be able to quit our day jobs to write full time. In fact, now that I’m contracted, I’m finding l have to shove even more writing responsibilities into my limited time.
Today, debut author, Erica Vetsch will share some of her tips on managing a writing career while trying to juggle a myriad of other jobs. Erica has been writing for five years and has been under contract for the last year. She’s currently working on her sixth contracted novel.
In a typical week, Erica homeschools her two teenaged children, does the books for the family lumber company, and until quite recently was one of the primary care-givers for her terminally ill mother-in-law. She’s also active in her local church leading a bi-monthly women’s Bible study.
Her first book recently released and she is even busier with marketing efforts. I asked Erica how she possibly manages to get everything done in a day! Here are Erica's top 5 time saving tips for writers:
1. Realize I can’t do it all, and some things I used to do I can’t do anymore. Cross-stitching, something I love to do, has fallen by the wayside simply because I don’t have the time. I can’t be a dabbling writer. It has to have a high priority, therefore I have to sacrifice some of the things I love to do.
2. Streamline where I’m able. I make out a grocery list and menu every Monday morning and grocery shop while my kids are at piano lessons. I bunch my errands, so I don’t have to drive into town too often during the week. I try to group appointments all on one day if I can, to save time.
3. Give my children chores to do. I’m a firm believer in kids doing chores. They take so much of the burden off me, especially when I’m on deadline. Laundry, cooking, vacuuming, dusting. They have a daily list of chores they are responsible for, and they also step up when I call on them for extra help.
4. Turn off the Internet. Email, Facebook, Email, Twitter, Email, and did I mention how much I love email? Don’t let the Internet become a tyrant. When I set a word count to accomplish, I always get it done faster and better if I’m not constantly checking to see if anyone loved me enough to send me an email.
5. Prioritize and find a schedule that works. Because I have several things I have to do, I do those first. In the mornings, I homeschool and work on the bookkeeping. In small snatches I catch up on blog reading and email correspondence. I also try to get in my time on the treadmill in the morning. Fortunately, my kids are old enough at 17 and 13 for me to set them to work without needing to monitor them every second. Afternoons are my time to write and edit. I guard that time and treat writing as my job.
Thank you for sharing with us today, Erica! I love the idea of guarding our writing time and considering it a job. If we're serious about publication, then we really do need to get into the mindset of viewing our writing as a JOB.
We show up at the keyboard just like we would show up to the office. We work diligently and productively the same way we would if we had a boss looking over our shoulder. We set working hours and we stick to them.
Sometimes all it takes is a switch in mind frame--no longer seeing our writing as merely a hobby, but as a job--one that is as important as the others in our lives.
Are there any of Erica's tips that you need to practice more? Or do you have other time saving ideas that you could add to the list? I'd love to hear them!
Here's a little bit about Erica's book: Duluth, Minnesota in 1905 boasts more millionaires than any other U.S. city. Tycoon Abraham Kennebrae intends to marry his grandsons off to three of the wealthiest heiresses in town and allow Kennebrae Shipping to gain control of Duluth Harbor. Tempests rage, in the board room, the ball room, and on treacherous Lake Superior. Will hearts and helms survive? Will God prove Himself sovereign over wind, waves, and weddings?