Real Life Can Challenge the Writing Life

Writing is one of the most important things in my life but this summer I find myself balancing more than I have ever had to before. We are relocating 3 hours away so many of our days are met with traveling back and forth to the new house while trying to maintain the home we live in until it sells. Add in interviewing for a new nursing job for myself and my husband getting adjusted to his promotion and you can have a ball of stress if you allow it. So how do you keep writing, marketing, and social networking at the forefront when life is moving so fast all around you?

Balancing stress, real life activities and writing can be a challenge. Here are some of the tips I have found helpful during this life changing season of our lives.

Get organized: I am reorganizing every aspect of my writing as I prepare to move my home office from our old house to our new home. I spend a couple hours each day going through old papers, getting rid of old information and filing new information that has piled up around me. Pretty file folders make if fun and stand out in my drawer against the plain manila folders I also have. Newer projects get the new fancy folders.

Continue to pursue new avenues: I have continued to look for writing jobs for at least a half hour per day on my regular job sites. My writing resume is updated and I can easily write a quick cover letter to accompany the resume so applying to at least 2-4 jobs per week remains a constant goal. And it works. I have acquired two more paying jobs this month.

Ration writing time: I spend at least 5 hours a week writing the paid assignments I have to do on a weekly basis. The paid blogs I write for are pre-scheduled so I can write them all at the same time or I can grab writing time in short increments and still pre-schedule the posts to appear on the date they are due.

Continue an online presence: While I have limited the time I spend on Facebook and other social networks, I continue to blog, make comments on other blogs, and make 2-4 Twitter posts per day about my writing. I limit the time I am online otherwise I can find myself distracted and under productive, so social networking only takes 15 -30 minutes of my time. I also do some of that on my phone while waiting for my turn at other activities. But the truth is that marketing your work can't wait. Keeping an online presence and marketing yourself and your work will enhance your presence when you get up to full speed again.

Keep the notebook handy: I have a notebook in my bag for jotting down ideas that I don’t have the time to pursue at the moment. I have jotted several book ideas that have come to mind during this move that maybe viable. (Relocating and redefining your life pre-retirement and into retirement when you are not a millionaire may be a lucrative idea)

Relax: It is also important to relax and enjoy the process of writing. Enjoy the real life challenges that you have been asked to face in this life. And enjoy a few hours of free time, reading a good book or relaxing on a beach, resting in the afternoon, or enjoying a hot fudge sundae in front of an old movie. Relaxation allows us to rejuvenate even if we only grab a few minutes.

The important thing is to keep the writing fresh and at the forefront but to know when I have to stay off the computer for a day or two to attend to the move, my husband, and our new adventure. Even when not online though, writing is not far from my heart and a pen and paper are never far from my fingertips.

Terri Forehand


Karen Cioffi said...

Terri, Thanks for sharing your 'writing life.' It can get hectic and you sure have lots of changes in your life, which is stressful in itself.

I like the idea of keeping a pad with you for ideas!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Terri, Thanks for the tips. Life certainly gets in the way of writing for me too. I find using an app on my phone to record ideas and snippets is helpful.

Magdalena Ball said...

Good tips Terri. Organisation and rationing is critical.

Debbie A Byrne said...

I'm going to try your pretty file folder suggestion. I have seen those colorful folders in my area. I will look around for a good deal on them. Thanks!

Anne Duguid Knol said...

See all my flaws itemized there Terri but l am slowly improving in organization by filing info in handy places and gradually, hopefully, going 90% paperless--that's the dream.
In awe of how much you manage to do with so much going on.

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