Updated: Apr 30
Hello my lovelies! It’s Sunday morning, I’m sitting on my couch, enjoying a few quiet moments while everyone else is still asleep, and drinking the nectar of the Gods (coffee), before the chaos of my life breaks out again.
Today comes on the heels of a very busy Saturday. One where I woke up early to my middle daughter telling me she was leaving to go to work, then a dance event. One where I attended a baseball game for my son, then spent a big chunk of the day helping my oldest get ready for prom. One where I was up past two in the morning waiting for her to come home from prom so I could ask how it was, and have her answer the standard response of “fine.”
And today is more of the same.
My son slept in, even though he’s typically a rise at the a$$ crack of dawn type of kid. But I’m up. I had to get up to wake my middle kid up for work—because her alarm “didn’t go off.” (Or more aptly, it went off so long it stopped going off). I had to wake my oldest (the one who went to prom), because she has to work and asked if I could wake her, because she didn’t think she’d be able to get up on her own. Later today I have to go to my middle kid’s dance recital, and somewhere in the midst of it all, I have to write a blog, come up with social media content for the week, and I have a deadline at my real job I didn’t meet last week, so I have to finish that.
I tell you ALL this not to complain (ok maybe I’m complaining a little) but that’s not the main reason. I’m saying it because the best post I could think of on a weekend like this is My Two Cents on How to Juggle it All.
I’m sure I’ve said it before, but just in case, I'll reiterate. Trying to make a living in the publishing industry can be extremely difficult. And most of the people who read this blog probably feel the same way. More often than not, our writing is called a “hobby” by most people in our lives. And not because they're being insensitive or dismissive, but because we don't make money doing it. Which in our society is the barometer for what makes a job a job. Even the most successful authors, editors and agents don't make enough from their books sales or services to support themselves. And those who do, usually have other things besides their writing or services that supplement that income (speaking engagements, writing events, publishing events, workshops, etc). So balancing it all can be really difficult.
I’m a member of a lot of writers groups, I’m on bookstagram, booktok, and twitter. So I see a lot of publishing professionals offering and asking for advice. And the most commonly asked question I see from authors or publishing community member is “how do you do it all?” Or “how, in spite of everything you do, do you stay motivated?”
On the surface, it seems simple. Give the answer of what works for you. But ultimately, that answer is complicated. If you’re anything like me, there isn’t just one answer to “how do you do it?” And the method for how to successfully manage it all, changes regularly depending on what else is going on in your life.
So let me give you a bit of insight into mine. I’m a mother of three. I’m a wife. I have a full time job and a part time job—in addition to writing, which I don’t consider a job (in no small part because I don't really make any money at it).
All three of my kids are involved in extracurricular activities (three different ones). My older two are in high school and college (doing dual credit). My youngest hasn’t started school yet. My oldest is about to graduate, my middle one is on a pre-professional dance team, and my youngest is in baseball which plays and/or meets three to four times a week. My husband travels for work four-days a week. Technically his job is in a city three hours away from our house, so he stays there four nights a week. Basically, my life is a sh!t show.
We’re all overscheduled, overworked, and underpaid. We spend days at a time talking to each other over text or FaceTime and often don’t have time to come up for air long enough to really connect. So when we can, we all usually devote all our attention to that.
For example, I wasn’t really on social media yesterday (for my author pages). Because my daughter asked me to do her hair for prom, which was a several hour affair. And of course, I did it. Because I don’t know how many more times my daughter will ask me to do her hair, so I’m going to give her my undivided attention while she wants it.
Today, I have a bit of free time while my daughters are at work, but because I often spend weekdays working and weekends writing, I feel like my son and husband get short changed. So I will try to find a way to have some quality time with them before we have to go to my middle daughter’s recital this evening. My son often ends up shuttled around from one sister's thing, to the other. Or my husband and I split up to support him or his sisters at their different events. Or my son ends up stuck at home with my husband who opts to stay home and have “boy’s time,” so we don't have to chase a five-year-old around a hotel ballroom during a dance competition.
Ultimately, what it boils down to is my life is chaotic. Probably like most everyone’s. So how do I make time for writing? Or juggle everything, or stay motivated? The answer to that varies from day to day, but the overarching theme for what works is planning. Because my secret to juggling it all is list, prioritize, and schedule.
List out EVERYTHING you need to do, from big to very small.
I make long lists and keep a meticulous family calendar so everyone knows where everyone needs to be (if they read it) day-to-day and moment-to-moment. I sometimes feel like a human alarm clock, or a calendar, always juggling one minute to the next to keep on track. Anyway, the point is, organization is key. I make lists of what needs to be done and when. And they include self-imposed writing deadlines, family commitments, and work commitments.
*Don't forget* to include things that take care of yourself on that list. That can look like anything from pedicures to reminders to drink and eat. It can look like date nights with your spouse or coffee with your friends or kids. Just, take care of yourself.
Prioritize what is the most important.
This is going to be different for everyone, but for me, it's my family, myself, then my paying job(s) and writing/building my author presence is last on the list. The things on my list get prioritized in that order (generally), and it's important to stay focused and continually remind yourself what's most important to you.
*Don't forget* what's most ultimately the most important–the health and well being of you and your family and the things required to support that goal. After that, everything else is just gravy. And don't forget that you only have one life, so don't look back with regret because you prioritized wrong.
Schedule out what's necessary to achieve everything you want, and do your best to stick to it.
Planning ahead is key to achieving a lot. For example, I have blog posts for next week and the week after already scheduled to go live. (Yes I know, I probably should’ve scheduled this week’s as well, but I had trouble coming up with a topic, so here I am writing frantically to get it posted on the day it's supposed to be). When I can, I schedule things weeks in advance and pre-make as much social media content as I can. I generally have at least two to three drafts saved on Instagram, so I can post them when I don't have anything else to post. I have a list of blog topics to pull from when I can't think of anything (like today). Plus, I try to have one to two backup blogs written for when I don't have time (though I've already used all my backups in recent weeks, so here I am trying to write one on the fly). Basically, planning ahead is the key to staying on top of it.
But obviously that doesn't always work, because I still sometimes go weeks without making social media posts or blog posts. It's happening less and less the more I plan, but it still happens. What I have to say about that can be found in my blog about Being in a Rut.
Basically it says that it's going to happen. Sometimes you're going to get burned out, and be less productive. Sometimes life is going to get in the way and you aren't going to be able to make deadlines. Some days you won't be motivated and you won't be able to juggle it all, and that's ok. It's ok to not be Superwoman (or man) every day. Ultimately, planning ahead works 90% of the time, but there are still going to be times when something falls through the cracks. And wouldn't you rather the thing that falls through be a self imposed thing than your family? Or your own mental health? Or the job that supports your ability to keep doing what you love?
*Don't forget* that a schedule is just a plan and sometimes things don't go to plan, so give yourself grace when life gets in the way.
Basically, juggling it all may not always happen. And when it does, it's not always pretty or smooth. I'm not saying you shouldn't still try to achieve it all. But strive to do the best you can, but ultimately that's all you can do. The best you can. And sometimes the best still isn't perfect and that's ok.
So that's it folks, that's my Two Cents on How to Juggle it All. Don't forget you're only human. You can only do what you can do, and if you're doing your best, that's all you can do. So don't forget to give yourself grace.
Have a happy Sunday! Have a great week my friends!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
Comment below and tell me what you do to juggle it all?
Also, let me know if you have any topics you want me to cover in the upcoming weeks!
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