No matter where you are in the writing process and how many books you have written so far, I’m sure you agree with me that writing is one of the most fulfilling activities in the world (with a few frustrations every now and then). However, most authors, including me, need to divide their time among writing, their day job, friends, family, hobbies, and yes, we would also like to sleep sometimes. (Although if your best writing ideas wake you up at 3am every night, you stand no chance. Since I started writing, I’ve been building up a serious sleep deficit.)
When I was writing my newest book, Tales for Delicious Girls, I felt like I didn’t have time for anything and especially for myself. When I was working, I wanted to write, when I was writing, I wanted to spend time with my family and friends, and my beagle was getting seriously obese because long walks were something he couldn’t even dream of.
Soon I realized that I couldn’t carry on like that much longer and I needed a strict daily schedule so that I could squeeze in writing, my work and some fun too. It was not that difficult in the end and I think I managed quite well, so let me share a few tips for busy writers which I hope make your days a little bit less crazy.
Get your priorities straight. You’re not a superhero, you can’t do everything and you shouldn’t even try to unless you want to go insane. When you’re writing a book, it should definitely be one of your top priorities, so put it on the list. Your job is another priority because unless your name is Dan Brown, you probably need some extra income (at least until your book becomes a bestseller). Friends and family should be on the list too – for an absolutely selfish reason: You need someone who supports you when you get desperate or develop a writer’s block. Hobbies? Be realistic about them and keep just one. I suggest it’s a physical activity because the lack of it is a common issue with writers.
Be creative about your schedule. If you work nine to five, it’s pretty clear how much time you spend at work. If you’re a freelancer like me, your schedule is probably more unpredictable but try to be reasonable about your projects. Remember to organize your work around your writing, not vice versa. Decide to dedicate a certain amount of time to writing every day, without exception. For example, I usually write in the morning, work in the afternoon and do book marketing in the evening. When things get really busy, I get up one hour earlier in the morning to write.
One day for yourself, one day for your family and friends. In order to stay sane, you need time for yourself. For me it’s usually Saturday when I try not to work and not to write, unless it’s absolutely necessary (and I mean absolutely necessary), and I do things that have nothing to do with work, writing and other people. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as it makes you happy. Go on a day trip out of town, go on a hike, get your hair done, be a couch potato, it’s up to you! Just switch off your brain and do something for yourself. When you feel relaxed and happy, you can dedicate the next day to your family and friends, which is what I do on Sundays. Have lunch at your parents’, meet friends in the afternoon, make time for all the people you love.
Putting your free time, hobbies and friends on the schedule might sound a bit weird at first, but it’s the best way to juggle writing and work and still have some fun. Ian Fleming said in 1962: "Being a comparatively successful author is a good life." Which is very true if you know how to organize this good life of yours.
About the author
Barbora Knobova is a writer, love coach and expert in Delicious Life. A world traveler, she is one of those rare world citizens who live everywhere and nowhere. Barbora is a firm believer in female friendship, loyalty and bonding. She writes hilarious, sharp-witted, caustically apt, ironic, moving, true books for strong, independent, smart, fearless women. Barbora has also written several self-improvement books and teaches women about the importance of self-love in relationships and life in general. Barbora speaks eight languages and has found her home away from home in New York, London and Milan. She is always on the move, accompanied by her beagle Brinkley, the nasty dog from her new book Tales for Delicious Girls. http://www.barboraknobova.com0