Friday, June 12, 2015
The Dance of a Writer: Finding your Rhythm in Life
Megan was excited to get “The Call.” She’d worked for years to perfect her craft, spent hours at her computer doing what she loved most: Writing. This was the moment where she would now write beautiful, heartwarming stories for a living. A dream come true. What Megan didn’t know at this moment, however, was her dance as a writer would also begin, and it wouldn’t be a slow Two-Step.
The pull, the twist, and the most sensational step of all, the spin, kept Megan on her toes—until she started to trip around the dance floor. At first Megan thought maybe she had two left feet as she struggled to keep up in her new writer life. There had to be a trick to staying upright and keeping all those moves together, and there were a lot of them. Just how did all the other authors make it look so effortless? The deadlines on top of home life, parenting, friends, and a day job became overwhelming for her. They had to know something she didn’t. Megan began to think maybe her “call” was supposed to go to someone else. Someone who already knew the steps to this dance. Someone who had the rhythm to not just know the steps, but to take the lead in their dance. Would one of them just tell her how they did it all?
Hello, Seekerville. My name is Katy Lee, and I’m also like “Megan” in the story above. Thank you for having me back to spend the day with you. I set aside this time just for you, and I’ll spoil this whole post right now and tell you this is the answer to the question, “How do you do it all?”
I am asked this question a lot. I used to reply that if you want something bad enough, you will find the time. This is still true…to a point. A writer writes and has no trouble finding the time to write. It’s who they are, and they will rearrange their lives to fit it in. But what happens when multiple books, multiple book edits and promoting those multiple books step up to the dance floor and cut in on an already established routine called life? Now how do you do it all…and get dinner on the table at 5?
I mentioned the answer being about setting aside a certain amount of time devoted to a certain purpose or person, as the case may be. I could list all the things I need to get done throughout my day, but I know you have your own list and reading mine would just be one more thing to add to yours. I’ll save you from having to do this and share how I straightened out my dance moves and found my rhythm as a writer, instead. It was not an easy task. I spent my first year losing my hair. Literally. I knew this couldn’t go on in the direction I was heading—right off the stage—and had to figure out how to readjust my tempo. But first I needed to secure my foundation.
I am all about that bass, and by bass, I mean base. Before we can step out, we need to be grounded. For me that meant faith, family and fitness had to established and maintained daily. Time must be allotted to these things during your day. Put them on your day planner; honor them with your undivided attention. These are things that must be in place before we can be productive. This comes as no surprise. Maslow’s Hierarchical of Needs pyramid tells us this, but what it doesn’t tell you is not everyone will want to see you flourishing at the top of that pyramid. Which leads me to the next step in your dance.
I’m sorry to say, many will not support you in your new writing life. But there’s a reason for this. The world needs to see this is a writing career and not a hobby. It’s now your profession and deserves to be put in its rightful place as such. But that means you must take the lead in your dance by first standing and moving in your new identity. You are a writer. Once you establish writing as a key component in your life, you won’t feel guilty for giving it the time it needs to produce. In fact you’ll honor it with its own special time in your day. And people, whether they support you or not, will have no choice but to honor it as well.
I have told my children since they were very small that they control how people treat them. I had to take a page from my own advice. I had to be able to stand in my place and say, “Hey, this is me. This is who I am,” without any apologies or self-effacing language. When you give yourself the respect first, others will follow your lead.
Now don’t get me wrong, the pulls and the twists and the spins will still creep into your dance. There’s only so many hours in a day to be divided up, but something I learned is it’s okay if a task isn’t completed all in one sitting, or one dance. It’s okay to work on it over the course of a week or more. For example, my office can get very messy during projects. Books, magazines and research materials can take over, not to mention a lot of candy wrappers. It could take me all day to get it back into shape. A whole day that could set me behind and stress me out. I can’t give it all day, but I can give it fifteen minutes a day. This can be done for any pressing need that vies for your attention. Set a timer so you don’t go over, but during those fifteen minutes, your undivided attention is on the task in front of you.
This also goes for the people in our lives. We can’t be so busy that we miss the needs of the people around us. They’re all dancing, too, by the way. Some are struggling, some just need a little love and attention. Some just miss you and hope your paths cross soon. Make it happen, and when you do, honor the person in front of you with your undivided attention, a time carved out just for them.
And last but not least, take a breather. There’s a reason that dances don’t go on forever. Use the breaks in between to refresh yourself, to rest and to reestablish your foundation again if need be. Sometimes those spins catch us by surprise—like when multiple deadlines collide together during a book release week. Yes, it happens. And guess what you’re going to do. You’re going to take the lead and dance on.
Thank you, Seekerville for having me today! I’d love to hear how some of you handle the stresses that come your way and catch you off guard.
2015 Rita nominee Katy Lee is the author of five published novels. She likes to say she writes higher purpose stories at high speed because her suspenseful romances thrill, inspire, and satisfy the reader—from the edge of their seat. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She enjoys traveling the side-roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways. A homeschooling mom of three competitive swimmers, Katy often writes from the stands while cheering them on. Her Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, Grave Danger, is both a RITA and Daphne Du Maurier finalist. Keep in touch with Katy at her website, www.KatyLeeBooks.com. There you will see links to Facebook and Twitter.
When Gretchen Bauer begins renovating an old Victorian house to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast, she barely escapes several dangerous "accidents" at her home. Colm McCrae, host of the home improvement TV show helping her renovate, refuses to believe these aren't on purpose. Could this be a harmful ploy by his boss to boost ratings? Yet with Colm's smooth-talking Irish brogue, Gretchen wonders whether he could be involved. But with a whole town full of neighbors disgruntled about the inn bringing strangers to their shores, Gretchen has a list of more likely suspects. Now she must trust Colm if she wants to keep her new business venture from turning into a five-star death trap.
Find it at your online retailers, including: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Today, Katy is giving away a print copy of Permanent Vacancy to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!