"I can't blog today...."
"I can't write that book...."
"I can't go to that book signing...."
"I can't ___________..." (fill in the blank)
But I'm here to tell you that I can. I will.
And You can.
We can. We must. Our integrity demands that we step up and DO. Regardless of how many curve balls life throws at us, we just keep doing, organizing, putting out fires no matter what. It's what a professional does. If you're a writer (or want to be one), then you are a professional. You honor your obligations. But the beauty of being a writer is that we aren't limited to a measly old eight hours from 9-5 M-F. Oh, no!!!
We, as self-employed writers have an AMAZING edge over the 9-5 worker. We have 168 hours a week to choose from. Whoo-eee!!! I'm excited just thinking about it! Yes!!
But, what? You already have a "9-5" job, you say? I will admit that I no longer have a 9-5 job. I did for 28 years and it was exhausting, mind-numbing work that wore me completely out. But I do have many, many jobs and responsibilities now that add up to way more than 40 hours a week. I put in 16 hours on Mondays alone.
So, let's look at this week, and then see if I'm ready to throw in the towel and say "I can't".
Monday, May 23rd
My alarm will go off at 6:20 am (And I'm still up at midnight, preparing a blog because I love you guys THAT much!) I'll get up, manage a quick toilet that includes brushing hair and teeth, put on my housecoat and drive to my oldest son's house 1/2 mile away. I'll arrive at 6:30 and pick up THIS sweet doll. I'm usually back home by 6:40.
|The Sweetest Baby in the World|
My day will include fixing bottles, doing a lot of rocking, hugging and kissing, and diaper changes. In between all that, I'll check email, do promotion on social media, and prepare a healthy breakfast and lunch for myself, My Cowboy, and our youngest son who just graduated from college and is moving back home temporarily for the summer. I'll also make dinner for all of us and my son and daughter-in-law since Mondays are long, LONG days for the entire family. They don't get home until 7:30-8:00 pm on Mondays, and they have to come pick up the baby, so it makes sense for me to cook dinner for all of us. Crockpot dinners, baked chicken, hamburgers, chili, and soups are my go-to meals for Mondays.
Writing: Mondays are always iffy, but I can always squeeze in a few minutes of editing or writing in the lulls. Our baby is such a sweet girl and working on writing is not only doable, it's necessary to meet my deadlines.
ACFW: I'm continually checking email and handling accounting related tasks for ACFW. The good news about this job and my writing job, is that I can do this day or night, and yes, sometimes it gets done at night. Remember, 168 hours. :)
And this Monday, I'll be dropping by talking to YOU guys as well.
Tuesday, May 24th
No baby today. She goes to her aunt's daycare on Tuesday. Tuesday is earmarked for a writing marathon. I plan to guard my time on Tuesday to work on Terms of Indenturement (Working title. Tentative release date Summer 2017) which is due in a few months. I love digging into Connor and Isabella's lives, but it's easy to let life intervene. Look at Monday. TUESDAY belongs to my characters and my publisher.
Tuesday evening is when I visit my friend Karen in the nursing home and have for over 10 years. The only time I don't go is is I'm sick or have a conflicting event or am out of town. So, five hours at the nursing home sharing a meal with Karen, laughing and talking, watching TV, and a lot of times writing or editing. I've plotted many a book there. As an aside, one night while putting together a proposal for a collection, Karen and I were watching The Voice and I needed a name for the hero and heroine. The hero became Blake (after Blake Shelton) and the heroine became Cassidy after that season's winner Cassadee Pope. That proposal became Shanghaied by the Bride (The Oregon Trail Romance Collection), Barbour Publishing, April 2015.
Wednesday, May 25th
We have a wedding to plan, and I'm going with my future daughter-in-law, her mother, and one of her bridesmaids to look at wedding dresses. I'm honored to get to go along. What fun! The day is earmarked for fun, food, and fellowship. Can't wait!
|Sweet "T" and the Big "D"|
Wednesday night is prayer meeting. There will be food for dinner sandwiched between the shopping trip and church. Somehow. After church, I'll check email again, putting out any fires that have occurred during the day on the writing and/or ACFW front. I also have my email coming to my phone, so any time I'm away from home I can at least keep an eye on things.
An aside: My husband's grandmother was recently in the hospital for about two months. All of us rallied and stayed with her 24/7 until she was rehabilitated enough to go to a temporary nursing facility in hopes of returning back home. I was able to do a lot of my work from her hospital room with my laptop, my phone and the hospital's free wi-fi. I was reading galleys for Love Is a Puzzle (The Gold Rush Romance Collection, Barbour, August 2016) at the time, so that was an easier task than say ... writing the first, or even, second draft. But still, that was draining for all of us, but we did it. We all worked, we took care of the babies, we rotated hospital stays, and we worked when and where we could.
Thursday, May 26th
My sweet baby returns to stay with me again on Thursday. The day is a repeat of Monday, but isn't as long. Again, I can get a lot of work done with the baby here. As long as I plan ahead for meals, I'm good. Naps are good for writing, editing and catching up on email. As far as I know, I'm FREE Thursday evening. Whew. :) And, contrary to what some would advise, sometimes it's better to take a short afternoon nap when the baby naps. That way, I'm fresh enough to tackle lots of tasks later in the evening. Being too exhausted to think straight doesn't bode well for a good writing session.
Friday, May 27th
Clear the decks again for another writing marathon. Connor and Isabella have been waiting patiently. I plan to dive back in and work all day on their story. I think I'm free Friday evening as well. Fingers crossed.
|Part of the Sunken Trace, aka The Natchez Trace, aka The Devil's Backbone|
North of Natchez, MS. My characters travel this road in the 1790s. I walked this path in 2010.
Saturday, May 28th
Saturday is just another work day for me. I'll get in some writing/editing time, and I'll need to go shopping at some point (either Friday or Saturday) for fresh fruit, milk, salad fixings, etc. I can probably go another week before I need to go for the 5-6 hour shopping marathon that includes meat. I just stocked up last week, so I'm good to go for a few days.
Saturday night is earmarked for youth service and/or prayer meeting at church. Saturday night after I get home might include more writing, editing, checking email, or working on blog posts. Pretty much whatever rises to the top and needs doing gets done.
Sunday, May 30th
Check email. Yes, even on Sunday morning while drinking m coffee before getting ready for church, I check email. I can't afford to let it mushroom out of control. Speaking of the business side of things. I use a MacBook Pro. I use Mac Mail for my personal business email. Emails that I don't want to miss: from my editors, my agent, the Seekers, bills that are due, etc.
|Our church at dusk with the Crepe Myrtles in full bloom|
I use Safari for my personal browsing, Facebook, Twitter, gmail (this email does NOT come to my laptop, but I check it online.)
I use the Firefox browser for ACFW mail and all things ACFW related. I check all of these accounts continuously, and even have both of them synced to my phone. Like I said, this is business. I can't afford not to be on top of these emails all the time.
After church, there's Sunday dinner (which might include going out, but sometimes is soup and salad at home), rest, and Sunday night church.
I feel like I skipped a lot. I know I did. There's so much more to my week. My car needs to go to the shop. I need to pick up some items to ship out to readers. I really need to find out where the tax preparer is on our extension. Oh, and then there's housework and laundry, right? Rats! Names and addresses to give to Sweet T for the wedding invitations, plus planning and .... hmmm.... there's a Google Doc somewhere. My future DIL is like a Mini-Me when it comes to spreadsheets. She's an accountant well on her way to becoming a CPA. My son doesn't have a chance!
Oh, speaking of the wedding. It's in August, TWO DAYS before I fly out for the ACFW Conference, TEN DAYS before Terms of Indenturement is due. I'm sure there's at least 10 other important things happening in August.
But life is sweet. Life is crazy. Life is so busy I hardly know which end is up, but it's also amazing. I don't know the meaning, "I can't." or "I give up."
I am Yoda. Hear me Roar.
*Oh, btw, every day starts with a cup of Vanilla Caramel coffee from the Keurig, sweetened with a donk of English Toffee stevia, creamer, coconut oil, a dash of salt, stirred with a handheld frothier (Thanks for the heads up, Tina!) and a dollop of heavy cream.)
So, how do YOU do it all? Tell us in the comments for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card or your choice of any Seeker book, print or ebook.
CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. www.pamhillman.com