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Finding balance as a writer is not a new topic for me - I've discussed it on this blog before. However, as I mentioned on Writ of Whimsy a couple of weeks ago, now that I have a book to promote, the feat of finding balance has just become that much more difficult! It's not just a matter of finding a balance with my time, but finding a balance inside myself. Writing, for me, comes from the dominant introverted side of my personality. Marketing is definitely an activity for an extrovert, and something with which I have little experience.
Here is a list of strategies I've come up with to help me find balance:
1- Take baby steps. Many well-meaning people have given me numerous suggestions on when and where to market The Scandinavian Santa. If I attempted to accomplish all the tips I've received I'd be a nervous wreck! Thankfully, since our book is meant for Christmastime, we'll have the opportunity to promote it each year. Consequently, even though I've scheduled several book signings, many opportunities will just have to wait until next year. Taking baby steps with the promotion of my book, is helping me to stay inside myself.
2- Enjoy the journey. Even though the whole idea is to sell my book, I still want to savor this special time of my life. Therefore, I'm attempting to schedule activities that will include the presence of family and friends whenever possible. It's more important to me that I have quality of life, than to sell a few more books, and then feel frazzled.
3- Maintain "life as usual" as much as possible. This point is the one I'm finding difficult right now. I'm a person that likes living with a routine (I'm also a plotter - no surprise there!), so the new tasks that have been added to my life have challenged me. However, I'm already realizing that it's just another opportunity to better utilize my time. Reading and blogging are activities I'm committed to maintaining. They not only enhance my life as an author, they seem to give me a sense of satisfaction, and keep me up to date on children's literature.
4- Maintaining "fun time" in my life. Since my husband has a full-time day job, and is also extremely active as an artist, making time for evenings out can be difficult. However, we both know how much we need it, even if it's just a trip to Starbucks. Our time together is not only great for our relationship, it also helps each of us clear our mind, and to feel rejuvenated.
5- Write, write, write! While it would be easy to tell myself that now is the time to market, and that I can write later, I know that would not be healthy. My word counts have gone down, but I know I must keep moving forward. I've worked too hard at gaining my "writing muscle" to let it atrophy. It's more about writing every day, than turning our huge word counts.
6- Find time for friends. This too is a challenge. I'm just beginning to realize that contrary to my pre-publication days, when it was easy to see my friends, now I must find the time and make them a priority. It's imperative that I do, or I could risk losing touch with the very people who have supported me in my personal life, as well as my life as a writer. As mentioned above, maintaining a quality of life - which includes my friends - is more important than selling a few more books.
7- Meditation and Prayer. Although I don't believe I've ever mentioned meditation or prayer on my blog before, they have been a part of my life for decades. I'll not get into religion on this blog, but suffice it to say, we each need a method of centering ourselves - whatever our belief systems might be.
While the tips I've listed could easily require more of my time, I'm finding that attempting to fulfill them is forcing me to just make better use of my time. (We've all experienced accomplishing more on an already super busy day, than on a day that had empty spaces of time when we could have done more.) Even the challenges of working at typically extroverted tasks - like marketing - are becoming easier.
Albert Einstein said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." I first heard this quote years ago, and have been attempting to implement its truth into my life ever since. So many challenges in our lives could be overcome just by continuing to move forward - even when we don't feel like it.