What is the most difficult part of being an author?
For me, the most difficult part of being an author is the constant tug-o-war for my time. No matter how hard I try, I cannot stretch a day beyond twenty-four hours.
I love my fulltime job. I write and edit educational materials and school and library books. The projects I work on are varied in topic, type, and level of difficulty. This makes the job interesting. On the downside, the job takes mega hours. It is a huge chunk of my awake time.
When I’m not working at my fulltime job, I divide my time between writing new books, marketing Providence, having a life, and managing my home. As to the home management, I’d happily give up the cleaning, laundry, errands, and some of the cooking (I like cooking.). Unfortunately, when I twitch my nose nothing happens, so I still have to do it all the old fashioned way.
I often read about authors who give up everything for their writing. They forfeit sleep, their weekends, and their relationships. They wear their dedication to writing as a badge of honor. I don’t get it. I’m not about to give up having a life. Family, friends, and fun are essential parts of my being. I don’t think I’d have much to write about without them. I think a balanced life feeds creativity; it doesn’t rob us of it.
This leaves precious hours for writing and marketing. I thought I was getting my grip on this part of my life, before the marketing reality became a factor. I always knew even as a traditionally published author much of the marketing for Providence would land on my shoulders. The amount of time it takes wasn’t on my radar though. I have no marketing background and am not comfortable in the spotlight. I sought out advice and got plenty of it – much of it conflicting, and some of it sound, but not quite right for me. The whole concept of marketing was starting to overwhelm me. Then I got lucky. Providence was picked as the Morristown Festival of Books One Community One Book read. The book has gotten tons of local press because of this and I’ve built some of my own marketing on this honor. What the OCOB thing didn’t solve was my time problem. I finally had to accept it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, I had to pick and choose. Choosing was key to me having time for my favorite part of the business – actually writing. Sometimes I pick well; sometimes I don’t, but that’s the way it has to be.
I wish I could say time management is getting easier for me, but it isn’t. Finding the right balance is still a daily struggle.
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And at brick and mortar stores everywhere!