After being gone from March 22 through 27, then spending March 28 prepping for a medical procedure on the 29th, then recovering from sedation after that procedure, by the 30th, I was super behind on my work. Seriously behind. Deadlines, clients, judging a couple of contests — everything had been put on hold during that time. Not that I mind that much, because family and health come first.
But do you know what kind of panic that can cause?
I’ve been waking up any time between 1 and 4, and actually getting up — fixing coffee, the works — anytime between 2 and 4:30, then going to bed between 9 and 10. My mind is cluttered with marketing ideas for my new release, plot ideas for the next in the series, short story ideas for a couple of anthologies I’m involved with, client’s manuscripts, speeches, contests — not to mention what meals to make, how to get that stain out, when to hire the carpet cleaner . . . The list goes on.
I thought of this meme the other day. “2857 things all the time” isn’t far off. MSB has been amazingly patient with me, especially since I’ve been talking to myself more than I’ve been talking to him lately. I’m anxious to start ticking things off my list as “done.” But mostly, I’m thankful to have all these things on my list.
It took years to reach this point. Great client list. Wonderful writing opportunities, and wonderful opportunities to “pay forward.” I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m amazed how far I’ve come.
Time is the biggest ingredient in this business. We need it. Lots of it. Both the huge chunk of time necessary to grow in the biz and the smaller chunks to write. When we can’t dedicate time toward our goals, we steal it from wherever we can. Got twenty minutes at lunch? Write. Ten minutes waiting for the kids to come out of school? Write. Get up a little earlier, go to bed a little later. Compose scenes in your head while you drive. Network, participate, chat with other authors and potential readers.
It all takes time, but before you know it, you’re almost there–or you’ve arrived, depending on how well you’ve spent your time.
You start out as a basic nobody, known only to your friends and family. You have to develop relationships outside of your little corner of the earth if you want to sell books and land other deals you may want (speaking gigs, for instance). Overcoming this obscurity takes time. So does writing. So does networking. All the things involved in this job take time, just like all the things that make up the rest of your life take time, which can cause conflict between what you want and what actually is, between your need to be alone to work and your need to be with family, between your need to create and your need to make money.
But figure it out. Hang in there. Make it work. It will, you know — eventually. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Some people have overnight successes, but most of us have to work for it. Consider that there are roughly 200 manuscripts a day published through Kindle, CreateSpace, etc. and realize how few overnight successes there are in comparison.
Doesn’t hurt to hope for the overnight skyrocket, but prepare for the long haul. And if you must, lose a little sleep.