Balancing work, life, and writing: How many hats do you wear? by Ann Woodford

Balancing work, life, and writing: How many hats do you wear? by Ann WoodfordLet’s welcome back monthly columnist Ann Woodford as she shares with us: “Balancing work, life, and writing: How many hats do you wear?” Enjoy!

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Being an author is hard!

Really hard. 

It’s rare for an author to be able to earn their full time income from writing fiction, or even nonfiction, and yet so many of us persevere because it feeds our hearts and souls in a way that nothing else can. And if you’re like me, the stories just weave themselves, all we have to do is organize the words so other people can enjoy them too. 

hatsI have about a million other things calling my attention away from that story I love so much. You prob do to.

You might have a full-time job you can’t quit. 

You might be a parent, which is also a full-time (and lifetime long) job of another kind. 

You might be the sole caregiver for someone you love. 

You might be chronically ill and spend a lot of your time just managing to live. 

Or you might be a student. 

There are probably a million other things that could draw your attention away from writing. 

hatboxAnd, if you’re like me, more than one of these applies to you. Because rarely do we wear only one or two hats. Am I right?

Balancing Work, Life, and Writing: The Hats

So how do you balance your hats so that your author hat doesn’t get hidden under all the others? Or worse put away in a hatbox and forgotten.

It’s a constantly evolving skill. One we must practice daily, even if we don’t write daily, to keep it fresh. 

Here are two quick, not necessarily easy steps you can take to keep that author hat from collecting dust. 

#1:  “I am an author.” 

1. Remind yourself every day. Write it on a sticky note and stick it on your bathroom mirror, or just over your coffee pot. Anywhere you are likely to see it each and every day. And when you do see it, say it out loud so you hear it. “I am an author.”

#2: Make a Date with Your Work-in-Progress 

2. Make sure you make at least some time each week for your writing projects. There are dozens, hundreds even, of posts, books, advice columns, etc, that tell you how to manage your time. That isn’t what I’m saying. I’m saying make a date with your work-in-progress at least once a week. You might have to give something else up, but it’s worth it. Your WIP (work in progress) loves you as much as you love it, even if it doesn’t feel that way sometimes. 

#3: Don’t overcommit yourself. 

3. Don’t overcommit yourself. This is one thing I struggle with a lot. As someone with ADD (which is amazing for coming up with stories, but my organization sucks!) I always think I can do far more than I actually have the time and energy to accomplish. I’ve tried many methods of preventing this and my best advice is—Keep Trying! 

Balancing Work, Life, and Writing: Honor that Author Side of You 

It’s not easy to honor that author side of you. Life can be exhausting. But it is oh so worth it. And once you’ve spent time with your WIP you’ll remember why you need to make time for it. 

Being an author feeds my soul in ways that nothing else can and when I don’t make time for it my inner self suffers. 

P.S. This post was started before Covid-19 became a national issue but now that it has, I feel I have to add some thoughts for those who have additional challenges; working from home, kids schooling from home, spouses’ home; it might be overwhelming!

  1. This is temporary. Yes, it will last for a long time perhaps, and by long, I mean longer than a week or two. But in the end these changes are not permanent. Post that reminder right next to your reminder about being an author. 
  2. I highly recommend making, and keeping, a daily schedule for you and your children. (And your spouse if they will play along.) Use the pomodoro method if you need to get through the difficult tasks and savor the fun ones. And make sure you pencil in writing time on that schedule! 
  3. GET OUTSIDE! Go for a walk, just remember to stay distanced from other hermits emerging for a dose of vitamin D. Let the kids run through the grass, chase them if you can. The fresh air and activity will invigorate you and give you a fresh perspective. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann WoodfordAnn Woodford is the real-world sister to Willow Woodford. She’s a grad student and blogger, and in her spare moments she helps authors connect to their audiences. Let Woodford Creative help you be a Siren in an ocean full of mackerel. Connect with Ann and Woodfood Creative here: fb.me/woodfordcreative.

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