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Thursday, October 13, 2011

More Author Insight: The Balancing Act

How do you balance life and writing and all the obligations that come with being an author?

"Very carefully. I'm introverted and shy and easily tired by a lot of social activity, so I have to be a little bit choosy for my own peace of mind. I try to participate in absolutely everything I can, from cons to blogs - especially when it lets me interact with readers, which I love! - but I am learning early on the value of  'no, sorry.' As it is, I write full-time, so my life and my writing career are really indistinguishable." - Lia Habel, author of Dearly Departed.

"I drink a lot of coffee and I eat nicotine lozenges (I used to smoke) and I overeat and then exercise a ton and wake up in the middle of the night totally freaked out by all the junk I should be doing that I'm not and twice a day I sit back and think, 'Holy crap, I am so lucky to be here,' because I love this life." - Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast.

"Everyone is busy. Even people who aren't actually busy think they are busy because free time is like closet space -- you fill it up with towels, clothes hangers, and a stash of Halloween candy that you're saving for non-Halloween emergencies. (Um, that last one might be just me. Really should check the expiration date on that stuff.)

Anyway, the point is... If you want to be a writer, you can't wait until you have that glorious stretch of uninterrupted time to commune with your muse. You have to steal the time and tell the muse that if she wants to show up, you'll be at your desk writing your story and she's welcome to join you whenever she's done munching on old Halloween candy." - Sarah Beth Durst, author of Drink, Slay, Love.

"Oh, this is a very pertinent question for me at the moment! I don’t know! I’ve only been writing full-time for two months, and I don’t feel as though I’ve come up with a good sane schedule yet. I loved Sara Zarr’s talk about crafting a sustainable creative life at SCBWI-NY last year. I’m trying to figure out what that means for me. So far I’ve realized that it needs to involve exercise, meditation, reading, dedicated writing time, dedicated non-writing time, date nights with my husband, date nights with my best friends, date nights with my writing friends, lots of tea, and naps with my cat." - Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked.

"If you saw how messy my apartment is, you wouldn't ask me this. You'd know that I DON'T balance things well!" - Marianna Baer, author of Frost.

"Life? Bwahahahahaha . . . What life?

Just kidding. Like a book, all that’s a work in progress. I tend to be pretty organized anyway and compartmentalize well. You can’t get through medical school otherwise, and forget being able to run a solo private practice. I set a schedule, have my routine, and stick to it.

Plain and simple, I’m a drudge.

My biggest problem is I’m very polite and I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. So I’m much more likely to over-extend and believe I can do more than I really should. Note that I said “should” instead of “can,” because if I say I’ll do something, I do it." - Ilsa Bick, author of Ashes.

"I have three young children, including a 6 month old, so I juggle constantly. For me, there is no set schedule. I write when I can steal time to do it, either at night after the girls are in bed, or early in the morning before they wake up. I rarely take a day off. But writing is an outlet for me—it makes me happy and lets me escape for a little bit. I know how lucky I am to love my work." - Angie Frazier, author of The Eternal Sea.

  "I'm not sure that I do. I do a pretty good job balancing the act of creating a book--drafting, revising, editing, etc--with my responsibilities as a wife and parent of two small children. But I fail at self promotion. I'm uncomfortable with pimping myself and/or my books, and my sales have suffered for it. I need to get over myself and get out there. I love my readers and I work my hardest to tell them a good story. I shouldn't be shy about saying 'Hey. Here this is, here I am. You might want to check out this thing that I wrote.'" - Stacey Jay, author of Juliet Immortal.
"I don't. I am exceptionally terrible at balance. It's either one or the other, so they take turns." - Stephanie Perkins, author of Lola & the Boy Next Door.
"I’ll answer this one when I’ve figured it out. Let’s just say thank god for laptops." - Amy Garvey, author of Cold Kiss.
"I try to do the writing first, then the rest of those authorly type things.  I've found that there is always more I can do as far as promo or chatting with fans on Facebook, so I definitely have to do the work first.  Otherwise I'd just play all day online." - Gemma Halliday, author of Deadly Cool.

  "Balance … what’s that? Honestly, if my husband didn’t take on a huge part of the household duties, I’d never get to write. Since our children are three and five (and boys), life is always unpredictable. I do my best, which is usually running from fire to fire. I also make deadlines on myself I can’t break. It’s not easy, let’s just say that." - Brena Pandos, author of The Emerald Talisman.

"Barely.  I run a business, a boutique marketing communications company, and my clients are located all around the world.  A few years ago, I was able to keep the 4 AM to 7 AM hours for my writing self, but with the expansion of my client network, I’m often on the phone in the early morning and late night now, and unable to find concentrated time for writing.  My best writing days are holidays — Christmas, for example, or New Year’s Day—when no one in business is working." - Beth Kephart, author of You are My Only.

Stop by Tuesday to find out whose cover designer the authors would steal if theirs retired!

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