What I've Learned in the First Six Months
December 20, 2013 was the last day of my old life. The last day I went to work for someone else, working in a field I had been a part of for twenty years.
I was free to dedicate 100% of my time to writing. That's the dream, right? I had published two novels while working a full time job and of course, raising my kids and now it was time to take my writing career to the next level. How lucky was I?
Since then, I've published a third novel, Beyond the Clearing, and am now editing my fourth, Landslide. What I've discovered is that I have never worked so hard in my life! I thought that juggling writing, an office job and family was hard. Well, it is, but the truth is, I always had that stable income to depend on. Writing was a passion that I squeezed in when I had the time.
Of course, this new life of mine would not have been possible if I didn't have such a wonderfully supportive husband. He carries the burden now, believing in me that someday I'll earn as much through my writing as I did working in my old career, maybe even more.
My first step was time management; setting up a writing schedule. I had grand plans of working out in the mornings after getting the kids off to school, then writing until they got home. I would then dedicate my afternoons to helping them with their homework and doing fun things together. Funny thing was, that didn't actually leave that much time to write. A few hours, at best. Not good.
With writing as my only source of income, the pressure was on. I still had to contribute to the family till. I couldn't let my husband bear the entire burden. So, it didn't take long for me to realize that I needed to work harder than I ever had before to build on the momentum I'd created with the release of my first two books. That writing schedule just wouldn't do.
So, now it's summer. The kids are home from school and I haven't worked out (virtually at all) in about six months. Not the end of the world, right? The problem is, I have found myself spending up to ten hours or more a day on my writing. That's great. That's dedication. But, it has come, I believe, at the expense of my family. The kids wonder when all the fun stuff will begin.
Balance. That is what life is supposed to be about. I've lost that balance, as many who take on the behemoth task of achieving self-employed success, probably have as well. I have been in such a hurry to build my new and much loved writing career that I have begun to lose sight of why I chose this life to begin with.
My mantra for the next six months: Success will come, don't rush it. Spend time with the kids before they're too old and don't want to spend time with me. Remember to take care of my body as well as my mind. Continue to work hard, but be careful not to burn out. Always remember why you love writing.
These are my goals for the future. I don't need fame or even fortune. I just need people to enjoy my stories and to earn a decent living. We all want to do what makes us happy. I'm one of the lucky ones and I intend to remember that!