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Monday, April 9, 2012

Balancing Life with The Writer Stuff

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I trust you had a fine Easter holiday. My teacher wife and two teenagers were off from school. My oldest actually went on a trip to New York City for a choir performance with his high school jazz choir. We did not travel with the group this time as we did last year for the Wind Ensemble trip to Carnegie Hall. We could have gone, but decided to stay home and worry instead. *laughs* Actually, we have college to begin paying for this year, so that was chiefly the reason.

We did take a few days and travel down to Anaheim, California. No, we didn't go to Disneyland... Yes, I know. There's a special place in Hell for people who get that close to the Magic Kingdom, but don't go in! We only live 3 hours away, so we go quite frequently. This time was for an Angel's baseball game and some really good food and shopping in either the Garden Walk mall or the Downtown Disney section between the parks.

How are all of you doing these days? I battled the blues a bit recently. You know the drill: Why am I killing myself with all of this work, effectively working two jobs? What’s the point? Few are reading my book, so I need to promote it more… However, the more I promote, the less I actually write another…

I’m okay now. We all go through those feelings, don’t we? Having said all of that, I do think I need to re-evaluate once again. I’ve done a much better job with networking of late – many of you no doubt have noticed me lurking about your blogs. I see many more still, but sometimes do not have time to leave comments. I know that I have more followers now and I need to check those out and see if I have yet to follow back, etc. One could easily network all day long, am I right?

The question remains: am I a blogger or a writer? Ultimately, I’m a writer. I know this. You know this. And you know this about yourselves, too.

I was taking my writing to work with me there for a while until it dawned on me that bringing a virus to work on my USB might not be the best idea that I have ever had, so I have since discontinued this risky endeavor. Since that only leaves a few hours after work with which to get writing in, I haven’t been able to do so, instead spending all my free time networking. I considered buying an iPad. I could then take my writing to work with me without penalty (I’m a supervisor at my day job, so I have some down opportunities amongst the 11 hours spent there). On the other hand, aren’t I paying enough for Internet? Good Lord! Between the High Speed at home and the 2 iPhones, we don’t need another bill. In the meantime, I am only writing on Saturday mornings. It is usually a very productive time, but not nearly enough.

What I am trying to do is read through the blog posts that I want to visit from my iPhone while at work, and then quickly commenting en mass when I get home. I hate attempting to comment from my trusty iPhone because it's too frustrating on such a small device. I have only been trying this procedure for a couple of weeks. This week, I hope to begin writing for an hour each day. Hopefully, I will be able to do this, as well as visit a few blogs. If not, I might have to drastically cut down on the amount of blogs I visit throughout the week. I hope it doesn't come to that.

We’ll see what happens. It is all a constant re-evaluation. I have one book released. I have another which is to be released sometime this summer. I'm very pleased with the development on my third novel, but finding that time to write has proven elusive. Beyond that, I can think of two other projects that I would love to begin.

I just don’t have the time...

My sons are getting older, too, and I spend very little time with them. I’m talking about real time, not just saying hello and bumping into them in the hallway or at the dinner table.

Everything just continues to be a constant re-evaluation. I'll continue shaking things up as needed with regard to what I refer to as: The Writer Stuff. What I absolutely refuse to do is let our friendships die because I just disappeared to write more.

It's that dreaded and mythical word: Balance. How are you dealing with it right now? Are you winning that battle or not? I'd love to hear your tricks as well as your steadfast rules or stance on juggling The Writer Stuff.

So, to that end, we’ll talk soon.


  1. I know this dance well. Recent events have caused me to reevaluate how I want to spend my time.

    I like writing and as long as I feel I have something to share, I will, but the real world has to come first. Life is too short to do otherwise.

    Ref: laptop
    If you just plan to write, why not forgo the internet and just use the iPad or other small laptop strictly as a writing pad? You can always surf when you get home. At least this way, you get some of your writing done during the day.

  2. Hey Jimmy! Good to hear you've had some time off with the family. Here are my two cents: blogging is great and we all appreciate the support of our fellow writers, but, unless you're blogging on sites which are directed at readers, spending time commenting on other writer's blogs isn't going to pull you in a huge number of book sales. If I were you, I'd scrub out the time networking and concentrate on writing and getting out some short stories (including buy links to your novel) so more people will experience your writing. As for the iPad thing, what's wrong with a good old fashioned pen and notebook? I think I do half my writing by grabbing a few minutes here and there to write a few lines (when the kids are in the bath, or when I'm standing in the kitchen making dinner). Later on I'll type them up and you'd be amazed at how quickly those scribbled words add up!

  3. Balance can be hard to achieve but it is essential. We are asked (and expected) to do all this networking, but as a writer this can not take over my actual writing time. It's a tight rope walk for sure! Hope you figure it out.

  4. Hey James! I feel your pain. Juggling everything is a constant challenge and I've not worked out the answer yet. It sounds as though you have a wonderfully supportive family, which is essential in this game! Best of luck at figuring it all out:)

  5. Hey, Jimmy, yep. That's a hard balance to achieve. I've had to spend less time doing it as well while I've been editing the thrid novel. Marissa has the best advice, both about a note book and about the networking stuff. We tend to get all bent about the pageviews or comments we get on our blogs. I really have no idea who is following me, or why. But my sales have dropped this month. Crazy weather? People are feeling the pinch at the gas pump? Whatever. Just trying to ride it out.

    You're a writer, and if this is your love, write. Visit us when you can. If push comes to shove, your life/family is #1. Gotta equal it all out. Hard to do, sometimes. But deep down inside, you know what is important. And like the comercial says: "Just do it".

    Take care, friend!

  6. Hey! You were just in my neck of the woods! Hope you had fun. I know what you mean about balancing, but you have so much more on your plate than I do.

  7. Hey Jimmy,

    Can't remember if we've talked about this before, but I know sometimes I have to hear things a couple of times.

    My first bit of advice for getting some writing done at work is Dropbox. No need to worry about viruses or anything else. It's online storage. Drop something in at home, access it at work. It's like Google docs, except for anything.

    More than anything, I can totally relate to the mid-winter blues (I think that's what it is for me) and feeling like there's just not enough time in the day.

    Even though many say (whether they're right or not) that blogging and visiting other blogs is what you're supposed to do as a writer, I also struggle with it. Marketing is one of those funny things in that there is no end goal... you can always do more of it, right?

    So feeling like I should do it to an extent, but at the same time wanting to write, I had to schedule my weeks, just like any other job, making sure that I put in time for writing/editing/something creative. I agree with Lorelei on this one. If writing is your love, you gotta find the time to do it. Otherwise, those mid-winter blues just get darker. Again, at least for me.

    And it's nice to find that I'm not alone. Last winter was rough before I started blogging and meeting fellow writers. So I guess there's one good thing :)

    Oh, and hey, maybe it won't make for multitudes more, but feel free to leave a little something at my blog when you get a chance to comment. A link to your blog, or your book, or something.

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

  8. I second the vote for Dropbox. I don't know what I would do without it. When I used to commute to work on the train, I would do some writing on my iPod Touch and sync my files when I got home.

    I understand the struggle to balance networking with writing. I've been thinking about this lately as well. I've decided to condense my networking to scheduled times and put more of my focus on my creative writing.

    When it comes right down to it, the best thing we can do to expand our reach is create more valuable content, and the most valuable content of all is our creative writing. I think if I need to miss creating a blog post here and there to make more time for my writing, it's time well spent.

    Life's too short to get everything done. All we can do is try to focus on doing the things that matter most.

  9. It's a tough juggling act, and lately, because of the A to Z Challenge and promotional work for my upcoming novel, writing has taken a back seat, sadly. But after April, I'm planning on hitting it hard.

    I try to manage the social platform thing by doing guest posts and interviews--I let someone else do the hard work of blogging for me! These can of course be scheduled in advance, and then I also have someone else to help me with responding to comments. Plus, it's great cross-exposure for both myself and my guest!

  10. Why do you think I've disappeared for so long, Jimmy? Balance is difficult. My MS was suffering and sleep was nonexistent. I've dropped off the social media scene and though it was intentional, it hurts to see that I was effectively dropped like a hot potato. A person's popularity is a direct indication of participation. I'll start picking it up again in a few weeks with some new blood, but it was just too much at the time. Balance is an art form, which requires more time than us 11-hour a day worker bees. Someday, though...


Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate you taking the time. I'll get back to you here or on one of the other social networks. It's not like we're not on all of them, right? ;) Also, if you're here to give me an award - bless you. However, your friendship and visits are more than enough. Thanks and blessings.