Jacqueline Vick is the author of the Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic mystery series and the Harlow Brothers mystery series. You can find out more about her on her website, www.jacquelinevick.com, or by clicking here. See her last post here, and buy her books here.
Writers. Readers. Moms and Dads. Singletons. We’re all in the same boat when it comes to sorting priorities, meeting the needs of loved ones and bosses (even if that boss is a toddler or a terrier), and finding time to regenerate bodies and brain cells. Fiction authors have additional hurdles.
My daily duties include writing, naturally. Writers write. They also include managing Ads with a capital A, business operations, rewrites, editing, promoting other writers (because successful writers don’t live in a bubble), putting out fires, wondering why I ever thought I could do this, and having the occasional breakdown. That’s a lot to fit in a day and doesn’t touch on cleaning the house, cooking dinner, balancing the checkbook, and the dozen or so things people do every day if they don’t want their home to resemble a condemned building.
I found it easier to manage time when I worked in an office. Duties had clear outlines. Coworkers and customers made their expectations clear. And they included deadlines.
When I stepped into the Indie Author world, all those lovely, concrete elements dissipated into mist. The clients on the phone, verbalizing their wants and needs, morphed into faceless wraiths summed up in statistics and surveys, reachable only through Amazon algorithms and Goodreads Giveaways.
Priorities, well, everything feels like a priority when you’re the one handling it all. And time off? It’s difficult to turn off creativity, especially when your livelihood depends on it. Writers are always writing, even if it’s only in their heads.
So, how can writers keep hysteria to a minimum?
- Learn to say no. There are so many worthy groups, classes, and events. Pick two. Say no to the rest. That no can always become a yes in the future, so don’t stress out over missed opportunities.
- Imagine your target reader. Write their bio. Clip a photo and post it near your computer. Most people don’t have the time or inclination to respond to social media or emails in a meaningful way. So, write your novels and your newsletters for that imaginary person who represents those readers you’re trying to please. They’re out there, and they will recognize themselves in your words. S/he’s writing for me!
- Remember why you started writing. You had stories to tell. You had something to say. You liked it. Keep that joy alive and people will respond.
- Walk away from your computer. Make some cookies. Go for a walk. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Read a book. Recharge.
- Place less importance on what you’re doing. It sounds counterintuitive but trust me on this. You will have trouble with deadlines. The contractors you use will fail you. You will miss a typo, even after several independent proofs and your own review. Nothing is the end of the world. Have a good rant, fix it if possible, and move on.
- Repeat step 4.
And laugh. A lot.