Friday, 25 July 2014

Finding the Balance

“Just two more minutes on Twittter”
“I’ll just go online to check my emails. It’ll only take a minute.”
“Food can wait. Let me just finish this blog post.”
Any of these sound familiar? If you’re an Indie author then I would imagine so. There’s always something to do, something to finish, or start.
More often than not people who know what I do assume that being an Indie author means I set my own hours and work as little as I like. Unfortunately it’s a million miles from the truth.
I don’t know every Indie out there – so I don’t like to make generalisations – but it seems to me that the Indies I do know are the opposite. Instead of working as little as we like, we work overtime. In fact, we never really stop.
In just over a month I go on vacation with my lovely other half (starting off in Harry Potter world in Florida!!!) but I know full well that it won’t be a full vacation. My laptop will come with me, as it always does, and I will make time to work. I will still be writing every day. I will still be heading online to write blog posts, check emails and keep up my social media presence. I know I’ll do all these things, because even if I don’t want to, I don’t quite know how to stop, how to switch off.
And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
We all want success and sadly success doesn’t simply fall in your lap. We have to work for it. But is it possible to work too hard? I wonder if we will all have far shorter careers than we would like because we’ll burn ourselves out? All those creative juices it takes to write a book need recharging now and then (ideally with vacations to Harry Potter world in Florida).
So fellow authors, we need to find balance. Or else the next book might be the last.
Here are a few tips for making sure you have enough down time:
       Set working hours and stick to them. Break it up between writing and promotion/marketing, but when the time is up step away from the computer. It’s hard to do, especially if the writing is flowing, but at least take a break, even if you decide to go back to it later.
    Have at least one day a week where you don’t go near the computer. I try to do this on my other half’s day off. We watch a movie, go to the beach or read, but we both stay away from the computer. I crack, often, but the intent is there, and I’m getting better!
    If you must work whilst on vacation then set aside a small slot of time each day to do it, keep it as small as possible and stick to it. Focus on the essential stuff.

     Enlist the help of friends and family to distract you now and then. I have a great group of friends who are very good at keeping an eye on how much of a hermit I’m becoming and are quick to badger me into going out with them when they think it’s getting too bad.

   Try to remember that you aren’t Wonder Woman/Superman. Sometimes you can’t do it all yourself. Admit when you need help and accept it when it’s offered. Find other Indie authors who can support you, and support them in turn when they need it.
Accept that at the end of the day ‘the book’ is not that important. Family and friends should still come first. And when it comes down to it, you can’t force people to buy the book, and stressing about it will only make you ill.
  Give yourself a break. You’re doing a great job.
And finally, take vacations to Harry Potter world in Florida. (Yes, I am very excited about my trip there this summer – how did you guess?!?)
Now to go and take my own advice!
Happy writing!

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