Getting Everything Done May Require Folding of Time

Striking a Balance between Writing and Real-Life

If you are one of the people who reacts to my sub-head with, "But writing IS my real-life" - then this post is particularly relevant to you.

Like many writers, I am a blogger. And like many bloggers, the frequency of my blogging is dependent on how far my head is up my own ass. All I mean by that is; when I am working on a novel or short story and am focused well enough to do it justice, I need to effectively disengage with other aspects of my life. Do that too much and I start to lose sight of where my priorities should be.

Finding a sustainable work/life balance is something most writers wrestle with a some point. Making the wrong choices can cost you your writing career, relationships, other ambitions and/or career aspirations. But it may be required to accomplish what needs to be accomplished to give yourself a chance to succeed. 

It has taken me most of my longish life to learn to bridge quantum dimensions and cruise along multiple paths at the same time without driving off the road too badly or too often in any given reality. Maybe it's not really as tricky as that, but it feels like it is. Granted, my understanding of quantum physics is shaky enough you could probably convince me that quantum mechanics are simply the people (or robots) who will repair my car in the future. 

Managing My Life in Parallel Dimensions

Retirement, or at least partial retirement, from day-jobs is now on my horizon and I very much look forward to the opportunity to  better focus on the things that are most important to me and enjoy the freedom to do them for as long as I can manage. My combination of maturity and desperation should optimize my laser focus, thus synchronizing the dimensions; and doing the same things in all universes at once should at least treble my effectiveness! Ahem. I still need to prove those theories to myself and live long enough to exploit them, but it's good to have goals.

Someone who is able to write full-time can (theoretically, at least) set their own hours and define their own workday. I have a default weekend schedule that enables me to write from 7 am straight through to about 1pm on most Saturdays and Sundays. At about that point, I often allow myself to re-engage with the real world; an almost certain way to get out of whatever groove I’m in. Usually, I switch after lunch to non-writing-related-but relationship-positive activities.  Doing household chores, shopping, and interacting with friends and family. Evenings are left mostly for socializing.

I have been known to stretch that writing period by starting at 6:30 and working until 2 or 2:30. It's not always possible, but worth doing if I’m really in the zone and on the verge of completing something. On a long weekend, when all the chores are done, I can sometimes push those hours; go up for lunch for an hour or two and get back to my literary project later in the afternoon. Once or twice a week I try to get in a couple hours of writing in the evening, and sometimes, like today, I can squeeze in an hour or two before work gets busy, first thing in the morning. But it's not usually real work.
Photo of Ellen Winters, "Institute of Jugglology",
Arkansas, USA. Photo credit Gretchen Cove

Cross-Dimensional Division of Duties

The shorter the time available, the harder it is to get into a major project. An hour or two does not generally give me time to switch gears and get far enough into the right headspace to make meaningful progress. Sometimes, a bright idea, revelation, or dream, image can be transcribed during those temporal interstices. But that doesn’t happen everyday; which is fine, because otherwise, I would never have the time to engage in the writing-related-but-not-writing activities that can be so important to building and maintaining an "Author Platform;" keeping my friends and readers engaged – reminding them I have a blog/website and there will soon be exciting things happening here.. and just getting shit done that I otherwise wouldn’t have time for.

I try to check e-mails and visit my social media sites whenever I get a chance, maybe two or three times a day for up to ten minutes.

But these smaller bites of time can be used for blogging, for submitting direct to publishers and for sending out Agent queries. And in a few weeks, while the ms in the hands of a few ARC readers and editors, I will be preparing to launch my author website.  It will have teaser excerpts from the book - some artwork, some games and lots of cool downloads and giveaways.

Can I Juggle with All Six Arms at Once?

Probably not for long, but I hope it will be fun trying! And if it doesn't work, there's always the next book.


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