Monday, February 24, 2014

Where Has Maggie Been for The Past Six Weeks?

I've never been good at the whole balance thing. It took me longer than most to learn to ride a bike. My ice skating experiences have been near ankle breaking. I tend to be an all or nothing person.  Yes, yes, I know intellectually all about life balance, making good choices, etc. I've just never been able to maintain it for any length of time since about the age of 10 or so.

So, what happened over the past two months? My well-planned writing schedule was overtaken by two big web redesign projects.  I was happy to do both, but (as usual) greatly underestimated the time needed.  In January, I redesigned the Windtree Press site. It was in great need of redesign as we switched direct sales providers and added new authors. I'm proud of the redesign but I also didn't have a good idea what it would take to learn the ins and outs of WordPress while implementing the site.

In February, now confident in my WordPress efforts I volunteered (yes, absolutely volunteered) to redesign my church's website. Again, really happy to have done it and it was definitely needed.

What I learned from these two experiences is something I should have known but had never realized before. For me, the skills required for programming, web designing, logic tracking are VERY different from the skills required for creative plotting, writing, world-building.  Furthermore, my brain is unable to easily move between the two.  Consequently, I didn't get nearly enough writing done in the past two months.

You'd think I would know this as I've had a technical career for more than two decades and always wrote while working full-time.  However--and this is a big however--I only scheduled myself to produce two books a year during that time, not the six on my schedule now that I'm a full-time writer.
So, lesson learned.  If I take on a technical task I have to redistribute my writing tasks or know I have to make up for it.

The good news is that several months ago I anticipated I would be in this dilemma (Yes, I've fallen into similar traps before). So, I scheduled an early March five day writing retreat to make up for my inability to balance things.  Writing retreat for me does not mean conference or learning or socializing. It means going away from home, where no one can find me or disturb me (except my husband can call in emergencies), and I write/edit from morning til night without disruption.

This will allow me to do final edits on Heart Strings and still make the production deadline of an end of March release.

As to those other balance things--health, family, friends--umm...I'm working on it. Really I am. Maybe summer?

Anyone else have problems with this balance? Willing to share?

4 comments:

Collette Cameron said...

I've had to get really strict with scheduling writing time. If I don't, something invariably comes along that will suck up that time. I've received a few frowns and pouts, and still don't have everything balanced. Not sure I ever will.

Maggie Lynch said...

Exactly, Collette! I'm sure I'm too sensitive to other people's needs. Have been all of my life. I do schedule it, but what I need to do better is communicate that schedule to those around me who would likely interrupt.

Laurie Cooper said...

Oh, Maggie, I'm right in the time management corner with you. I have such difficulty balancing everything.
Just to let you know, in my search for "how to" info about Indie publication, I found you via the self-publishing loop as someone suggested your DIY book. I'm jumping into Indie pub and I'm trying to develop my plan of attack. Hopefully, I'll get a handle on this juggling act.
best,
Laurie Cooper

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Hi Laurie, thanks for stopping by and thanks for buying the DIY Publishing book. Do be sure to check out the DIY Author blog which answers more questions from that book and updates information as people ask about it. It is at http://diyauthors.blogspot.com/

As you can imagine, any time one writes a book that has to do with technology things change the moment it's completed. :) I just want to make sure you have the latest info. Also feel free to ask questions there too.