As a girl who holds down a full time job, writes for three blogs, and working on my first fantasy novel, I know all too well how it feels trying to manage it all along with a thing called life – which for me includes my husband of ten months and my super close family and friends. Though I’m not an expert or even have it all together all of the time, I have learned a thing or two about time management (and time outs!) from the year and change I’ve been maintaining this writing lifestyle.
Two words – Editorial Calendar. This is an absolute life saver for a blogger. I started using it for my first blog and it quickly became a staple for managing all the blog writing I do. Though I just upgraded to this fancy one, a simple notebook will do! When a sudden influx of awesome cool ideas hit you, write them and down and give them a day that you want it to go on your blog. Now once you have your week, month, (or year if you’re really good!) mapped out, you can block out a chunk of time, write out all of your posts, schedule them on your platform (I use WordPress), and presto! Your blog content is all ready to go and will run on its own for the rest of the week. Having a calendar will also help you during those times you have no clue what to blog about as well as make sure your content is as diverse as you would like it! It also frees up your time to chat on twitter, update that Facebook page and any other social media activities you’re into! (Kristen Lamb, the writer behind We Are Not Alone, has a great advice when it comes to your platform!)
You’ve knocked out your blog posts for the week. I know everyone’s writing schedule and routines are different so I’ll just explain mine. With my first draft, I was a complete pantser and it made my writing just as sporadic. Some weeks I can bang out a few chapters while others just a page or two. This time around with my second first draft (trust me, it’s a long story!), I took time out to seriously outline. I didn’t do every detail but I did outline and it made scheduling my writing so much easier. I have a plan and I can progressively complete a chapter or two in week during my morning hours or evenings. Weekends are also still big writing days, blocking off a few hours to write.
Before I get into this section, I first have to commend all of the mommy writers out there because I don’t know how I could manage all this and kids. Because it’s just my husband and I, it becomes very easy for my writing activities to consume all of my time. So I make it a point to schedule our time together and time with my family in the same way I do my writing. It all goes in a planner and I respect that time by shutting off the laptop and putting down my phone (which is easier said than done sometimes!). I value mini vacations or a lazy Saturday because without that, my battery will never recharge to do all the other stuff!
Life and writing can throw curveballs and no matter how perfect the system, it can sometimes look like the 3pm monkey had a field day in your life. Just remember that you’re doing what you love and forgive yourself for not being perfect!
What about you? How do you balance it all?