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I bet if you ask any woman around the world how much she has to juggle in her 21st century life, she will roll her eyes before reeling off a list as long as your arm of things she juggles every day, from children’s lunches, school uniform, taking them to school, other appointments, doing the housework, looking after pets, sorting out home affairs like tax, insurance etc, liaising with husband/partner about most of these things and of course, going to work herself (either in the home or outside it)! The modern day woman is a superhero in the purest sense. I hope women reading this can picture themselves doing this every day. Some of us, like me, are lucky enough to have partners who help with all this stuff and can juggle along with the best. I’m going to come back to how great men can be at multi-tasking too in just a minute so please bear with me 😉

As if my life wasn’t already busy enough, I decide to write and self-publish my own book! Whose crazy idea was that? Well, yes, it was mine and this past week has shown me just how many extra balls I am now going to have to juggle as a result of making that decision. This week should have been a good week. ‘From Here to Nashville’ is with the proofreader and bar a few minor queries, everything was going fine there so I should have been all set to get on with finishing the first draft of book 2. You know there’s a but coming, right? Yeah.

During a quick chat with one of my writing friends, one of my beta readers, in fact, we started discussing potential names for my publishing company if I decide to buy ISBNs for my paperback version of FHTN. We thought that my main character’s record label name would be brilliant until my friend came back and said ‘You know that company name already exists, don’t you?’ Cue three nights of my life spent trying to get advice, thinking of a different but equally brilliant name for the record label, only to abandon it all in the end to just make a couple of changes to the existing name. I was a woman possessed. We’re not talking big-league names here but the law is murky on this and I don’t want to get into a mess over this issue with my very first book.

As a result of this spanner in the works, I have done almost nothing on my second book all week 🙁 However, it has been a trying week in other ways too. My husband has been away at a music convention in Los Angeles and whenever he’s away, I realise just how much he does around the house. Not only that of course but he’s the one I turn to when I have something like this to sort out and only being able to talk to each other for a few minutes each day over Skype isn’t quite the same. By the way, I have two teenagers in the house as well but they are soooo not interested in my crises. So I had to try and sort it out for myself and I was lucky enough to have some help from some good writing friends.

During the week, I read the latest vlog by another author friend I have made on Twitter, Michael Cairns. Mike is a full-time teacher and a writer as well. He has two small children so he doesn’t get a lot of sleep either. On top of all this, he has set himself an enormous writing challenge this year. This challenge is to release 15 novels in 2015, writing 1 million words of original fiction and he’s also vlogging about it every single day! You can read all about it here. He writes and edits every day and I just don’t know how he does it. I do know that it is very inspiring to see what is possible when you set your mind to it and after chatting with Mike, I realised that I do have to change my mindset as I go forward into my published writing career.

Right now, my mind is flitting from one thing to another all the time. I am trying to finish off the writing and editing process for ‘From Here to Nashville.’ I am communicating with the proofreader and have just started contacting and liaising with a few lovely people who have offered to host me on their blogs around the time of publication. Preparing for these blog posts is important but it also takes time if you want to do it properly. I realised that I needed to have all this information ready to send in an email and on my web page, whenever anyone asks. Not only that but I have been trying to get to grips with a paperback version of FHTN. This involves a bit of research but I can’t really make much progress until I have the final copy back from the proofreader, yet I’m still fiddling about with it.

I’m trying to plan some marketing for FHTN as well and once again, this takes time and research. And last but not least, I’m trying to write! I have put pressure on myself again by re-joining the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme so I must have a completed first draft at least to send in for review by the end of August. But that’s months away, you say. It is still quite a long way away but I need to get some sort of better time management in place now if I am to get that done in time. I’d also like to be getting on with a novella to send out when people sign up to receive my newsletter so I need a plan and I need it now. Step one, I think has to be a change of mindset but how to do it?

If you have any tips to help me manage my time better (apart from getting a new brain 😉 ), please let me know in the comments as always. Thank you for taking time to read my blog today – we are all superheroes for what we manage to fit in each and every day 🙂

Update: Since writing this post, my book has gone up on Amazon for pre-order! This is earlier than I’d planned but I’m still very excited about it! Here are the links: Amazon UK and Amazon US


18 Comments on The Multi-Tasking Life of an Author

  1. Many will relate to this. You do have to be careful not to do too much though all that you describe does sound important. I suppose it’s priority order. It can’t all be done at once. Very best of luck with the new book. You have worked so hard to get it right.

    • It is about prioritising, Ros, you’re right, which I have had plenty of time to become good at so now I just need to apply those skills to this new life. Thanks for your good wishes. It is very exciting to see it all come to fruition now 🙂

  2. First of all, hugely well done, and I don’t know how you people with children manage to do this at all, I stand back open-mouthed with respect. Massive congratulations on having the book sitting there on Amazon at last, too – a thrilling moment for you!
    I am lucky in that I have masses of time to write (having realised at an early age that the kids thing was not a route I wanted to go down), but of course there are plenty of other life things that get in the way of time to write. As Michael has probably done, the way to find the time is simply to give everything else up. Social life, other interests, television….! And housework, in my case. Mind you, I never did much anyway 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Terry, as always. It really is a thrilling moment but I know I simply wouldn’t have got this far without the support I’ve had from other lovely writers like yourself.
      I think I just need to adjust my mindset a little. You do need a break from writing sometimes of course and that’s when cleaning can come in, although strangely, I don’t find it difficult to give that up 😉 I just need to manage my time better, especially social media time 🙂 I think once I’ve done everything to do with this book, it will hopefully all get a bit easier the second time round 🙂

      • I always look forward to reading your blog, although I must admit today I was exhausted reading all that you have to do. It is difficult when you have to manage everything, but your husband will be home soon so you will have your ‘shoulder’ to rely on.
        I was absolutely ecstatic last night to be able to pre order your book from Amazon on my laptop and mobile phone, so I am ready to go!
        I am so proud of you and what you have achieved and will be passing on the link to my friends.
        Good luck with everything xx

        • Thank you for pre-ordering and for passing the link on to others. It is hard work juggling all this new stuff on top of everything else but it will all pay off in the end 🙂 And hey, what’s a few more grey hairs in the scheme of things? 😉

  3. Well done, looking forward to reading your book. Delighted to have found you via Sally at @BannercoPress.
    My mouth is still hanging open – 15 books in a year. What genre is he writing in by the way? More power to him though. I’m planning to have my second book out for Sept and hoping that is realistic!

    • Hi Lorna, Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad we found each other too. Writers are so supportive of one another and I will be delighted if you read my book 🙂
      Mike writes in the fantasy genre but he is just incredibly motivated and organised. You should take a look at his vlog and you’ll see what I mean!
      September sounds good for your next book. What point are you at with it and how long has that taken you?

      • I wrote 20,000 words in July but only 5000 since! It’s non fiction and I still need to do more research. Finished book will be about 50,000.
        I wrote, edited and self published first book in just over 3 months but I had a deadline. Deadlines are good! 😉

        • That was good going with your first book! Yes, I only have self-imposed ones, which aren’t quite so good. Although I do now have an Amazon imposed one which I’ starting to stress about just a wee bit 😉 Good luck with finishing your second one anyway 🙂

  4. I think you’re doing wonderfully; I don’t have children or teenagers to contend with and have to force myself to find time to write, so I have huge admiration for anyone that can write a novel with so many other priorities. And yay for pre-orders, how exciting 🙂
    15 books in one year?! I just cannot get my head around that. And here I am, fighting to write just one 😀

    • Oh, thank you! I have to find time to write as well but when I actually make that time, it feels so good 🙂 You can do it. Have you tried National Novel Writing Month or the camps in April and July which are less intense. I did a camp first and set myself the goal of writing 10,000 words in a month and it’s funny how you rise to the challenge. If I added up the actual time spent writing my first draft of this book, it would only be 7 months of about 1 hour a day, which I think is about 3 months in reality for a first draft. The rewriting will take forever but you could have a first draft in that short a time!

  5. Hey Julie
    First off, thanks for the lovely mention 🙂
    Second off, congrats on having the pre-order up. It must be so exciting.
    In terms of the whole time management thing, I think Terry said it well. I’ve given up pretty much everything in order to do this. I feel very lucky in that I love doing it, even the meany formatting bits… actually, love is a strong word. But mostly, I love it, which makes it easy to give up other stuff. But I do still play gigs at the weekends, which means some rehearsals during the week as well. And I make sure wifey and I spend some proper time together, albeit in little bursts here and there!
    I also think, as i’ve been banging on about on the vlog recently, that a lot of it is about putting in place, developing and strengthening a creative habit. The stronger that habit is, the easier everything becomes. In the first two months of me writing every day, my weekly word count went from about 8k to 25k, purely from doing it every day.
    Cheers and congrats again on getting FHTN up on Amazon 🙂

    • Thanks, Mike for taking the time to reply. I know you’re right about this because I found it easy to write 50K for NaNoWriMo but I’m struggling a bit now to rewrite what I wrote then into a decent book. But I’ve learnt a bit since November 2013 at least! I now have a decent outline and so when I put my mind to writing/rewriting, it’s never as difficult as I’d expected it would be. I think what I’m realising is that I need to manage my time better, to include all this new writing stuff 😉 And I tried really hard today and feel pleased with what came out of the day. I can’t quite see myself giving up all the things I love doing outside of writing though but I know I could work smarter with the time that’s set aside for writing IYSWIM 🙂
      Thanks for sharing how you do it. This kind of discussion helps us all to see what the best path is for us to follow.

  6. Hugs Julie. You’re doing a fantastic job and I think you need to take some time to sit down and give yourself the credit you deserve.
    Remember priorities – right now if you need to give FHTN the time, do so. First drafts can be written in mad dashes, you know (and have done) this. Camp NaNo might be just what you need this year 😉
    And yes, if you need me to set you some wordcount deadlines and hold you to them, I will 🙂

    • Thanks, Cat. I know you’re right but sometimes, it all just gets a bit overwhelming. It is about prioritising, as you say. The problem with book 2 is that what I wrote in NaNo 2013 wasn’t what I actually wanted the story to be so I have lots of words but they’re mostly the wrong ones! Still, I am getting on with it now and trying not to think about things I can’t deal with yet or don’t even have to deal with, lol! It will all happen in time, I know. Thanks for cheering me on, I need it sometimes and I know I wouldn’t have got this far without your support 🙂

  7. Hi Julie, congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished! Your debut novel is now on pre-order on Amazon … do you know how many people will only ever dream of making that happen?!
    It’s so funny that you write about time, and the lack of it. I just wrote a blog post yesterday for new and would-be writers who don’t think they have time to write. I try to point out how relative time really is and the steps to make the time. The mindset of “time victim” isn’t real, as you and others have proven.
    (I still can’t get my head around what Michael Cairns is doing!)
    Again, congratulations!!

    • Thanks, Tracey. I am really excited and proud that I have managed to achieve this. Mindset is so important in everything, of course and I think I’m pretty organised generally but I now have something else to add in to the mix and when you’re self-publishing, you really do need to multi-task with lots of arms, even more so than normal. Michael is a phenomenon all of his own! I think I could get there one day too with some experience but for now, I think I have to try and concentrate on one thing at a time 🙂 Thanks for reading and for taking the time out of your busy life to comment 🙂

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