Monday, May 23, 2016

A Peek into the Life of Pam Hillman - or - How to DO It All By Being Too Dogged-Determined NOT To!

Pam here. Let's jump right in. I'm going to share what my life looks like this coming week. This is typical. I share this because ... Well,  to tell you the truth, I'm pretty swamped, and I could have thrown up my hands and said ...

"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.


Tina Radcliffe said...

"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!!"

I fell over laughing at this one, as I get ready (coffee in hand) for my night shift marathon. I used to check in with 1K1HR, but sorry ladies, too many obligations. I don't have time anymore.

I used to work night shift in the army and then in the nursing home and hospitals for years, like hundreds of my natural rhythm is to work until 3 am then sleep. But it makes some people think I sleep in. Not so. LOL.

So if you ever get insomnia, feel free to email me at the seekerville email address.


Melissa Jagears said...

How do I do it all? I had newborns that started my life plan of sleep deprivation and have just kept it up.

Mary Connealy said...

Pammy, you had more spare time when you had a full time job. (In case you didn't notice!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

LOL! Pam, I love this, and yes, it's a crazy life... and I'm going to use my favorite Lenora Worth quote.... "Even on the worst possible day, I have the best possible job!"

We are so blessed to have faith, family, friends, and fiction!!!!!

This made me smile, but I can see you, spinning those plates, and that's the difference with an at-home, work your own schedule job because you're expected to fit other things into those time slots...

And when you're surrounded by family, that's a given, but it sure can cut into the days.

And huge congrats again on your upcoming series and the wedding! THIS IS SO EXCITING!

Babies... weddings.... we had two weddings last year, too. Tina's son and Mary's daughter, and now you, Missy and Jan Drexler's Carrie is getting married in three weeks... and she did a post about how E-A-S-Y her schedule looked when she signed her contract two years ago... and how much has changed!

Life goes on, and we are amazingly blessed.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melissa Jagears, you nailed it.

Expect sleep deprivation.

Then it's no big surprise! Love it!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina, you do so much to help so many, that adding to it is probably redundant. I'm glad we've got a bunch of established authors who stop into Carol Moncado's 1K1HR regularly because it's another way of encouraging and leading by example... Newbies see that hour by hour push and it helps them to see that there's work involved, and maybe find their rhythm whether it's hour by hour or weekend pushes...

And it's fun to encourage them over there, too.... spreadin' the love. I don't expect most published authors need 1K1HR because they've established solid work ethics and schedules. But it's fun to play with newbies!!!!

Jill Weatherholt said...

I loved this post, Pam!
"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!!" - I'm so jealous!
How do I do it? I work full-time during the weekend and have marathon writing sessions on the weekend.

Kate said...

How do I do it all??? Sometimes I wonder! Allowing myself breaks helps, plus coffee. (o: I can push myself too much or allow the expectations of others to pile up. Giving myself grace and saying, "No" is something I'm learning.

Thanks for the giveaway!!

Terri said...

Pam - your post blew me away. How do I do it all? I don't! I'll admit it. However your post has inspired me to try harder. Sleep is highly overrated. Right?

Your grand baby is gorgeous and congrats on the upcoming wedding.

Jill Kemerer said...

Pam, I admire how your life reflects your priorities! Enjoy that darling baby today!


Suzanne Baginskie said...

Pam: It sounds as though you're one of the super women crowd. The old adage they gave women who are so driven they give all they have to everyone and more. But for you it's working. You do so much for so many. Be sure to take your vitamins and savor some time for yourself. Remember burnout is right around the corner. I, too fall into that catagory. I run circles around others and accomplish so much more. I liked how you jotted down each day and all you do. Very inspiring and we writers can take a good look at our very own life and see where the writing time can fit in. I love your marathon days. I do the same. Keep the faith and carry on. You are empowered! Thanks for taking a piece of your precious time to write this column. Have a powerful day.

Jackie said...

Hi Pam,

We've got at least one thing in common. My youngest son is getting married July 30.We are super excited.

I'm adjusting to a new normal these days as my former boss sold the business to a chain drug store. I've not known from one day to the next what my schedule is until this week. There have been a lot of adjustments which has left me mentally drained as well as learning to work thirteen hour days. I wish I could get into a groove, but for now I'm squeezing in as much writing as I can.

Thanks for your encouraging post. Today I'm home and I don't plan to waste this precious time to write!

cathyann40 said...

I tire listen to how busy others are. I'm not a busy person but I have no family.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Perfect timing for this post, Pam. My summer break officially starts Thursday afternoon at 3:00, and my summer motto is going to be "we have 168 hours a week to choose from." Yay!! I can stay up late writing/editing/reading!

Cindy Regnier said...

Confession: sometimes I do it all by not doing anything. Kind of been int hat mode lately and it feels awful. Needed that kick in the backside to get me going again and remember I'm not the only one with "too much" to do. I have been flying under the radar lately, but still flying so now I'm ready to be a blip on the screen again. Thanks Pam - sweet granddaughter!

Pam Hillman said...

Good morning Seekerville! So, my nest is made. I'm sitting on the floor with my coffee, my laptop, and my journal. Baby is kicking and cooing beside me and I'm checking into Seekerville first. Email is next. And Facebook. I'm right on task.

Now, we do have one problem...

Who's going to get me up off the floor?!?!?!?!?

Uh oh...

Breakfast is going to be grab your own at the drive thru. I had a special franchise put up overnight just for Seekerville. It's a cross between Chick-fil-A and Mama's Home Cooking. So, line up and have at it. No road rage though. And don't be honking your horns and shouting at the person in front of you. #BabyOnBoard

Pam Hillman said...

Tina, I never worked night shift, so never developed the work at 3 am gene. I have done it a few times especially on a killer deadline, and thought I'd do it a lot more when I started working from home.

I could just see myself living the life of a nomad-type author, writing until 4-5 am, then sleeping until noon. But then I can't sleep past 8 and the rest of the day is so blurry. So, yes, I do it, but only if I can't sleep. Then I do redeem those hours.

Pam Hillman said...

Melissa, spot on. A baby (or even caring babysitting) changes everything about sleep. It requires you to work when you can. So you DO. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Yes, Mary, but it wasn't nearly as sweet. :)

Pam Hillman said...

And...let me tack on... I probably had more time, but I was brain-dead and exhausted during that time. At least with working from home, writing, computer work, baby sitting, etc. the housework (such as it is) and cooking gets tossed in in little spurts and fits.

And if I'm so tired that I can't think straight, I can take a power nap and be good to go for another 5-6 hours. I don't think my former boss would have appreciated me taking a power nap at 2 pm, as much as I LONGED to do many, many days!

Richard Mabry said...

Pam, Not only don't I do it all, I'm tired just reading about how you do manage everything. Blessings.

Laura Conner Kestner said...

It is so interesting to see how other writers balance their busy lives - and not lose sight of the most important things. Your commitment to work, family, faith and a friend who needs you is such an inspiration. Thank you, PAM, for reminding us it's not always easy but it can be done.

RUTHY, as one of those 1K1H newbies (that word makes me feel so young) I want to say thanks for encouraging and leading by example!

And TINA, even if you don't have time for 1K1H, you're absolutely an encouragement and inspiration every day! You are so patient and helpful, especially when it comes to newbie questions and concerns. You rock!

MELISSA, LOL on the babies and sleep deprivation thing. I don't remember my first darling baby sleeping at all!

As usual, starting out my Monday with a stop to Seekerville has me ready for writing. Thanks everyone!

Pam Hillman said...

"Even on the worst possible day, I have the best possible job!"

Yes. :)

When I signed a contract for August, I thought, "piece of cake". I never dreamed it'd be wedding cake. lol

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Pammers I'm laughing so hard. You said you don't have your day job so you should have time??? Right???? Oh isn't that hilarious? Now that I retired I wonder how in the world did I have time to work. I mean, you get soooooo busy when you retire. I guess its doing all the things you couldn't do while working.

I am religious about writing. I take my cue from Ruthy. Since I'm a morning person, I get up at 4:00 and do my devotions and then write before hubby and the rest of the world wake up. Glynna gives me inspiration also. She said she has a minimum of 500 words a day in the morning before work. I can do that. And some days there are up to 1,000 words. Yippee.

Hang in there girlfriend. You have always amazed me with how much you accomplish.

Pam Hillman said...

That's the ticket, Jill! Marathons or #1K1HR, whatever it takes to get the job done. :) For me, in this season, marathons work best, BUT I also throw in a lot of 30 minute and 1 hour sessions too.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Aw, Laura, it's my pleasure! I love working with people, and we know how tough this business can be... But also how wonderful!

Ups and downs like anything... but I am over the moon happy, and delighted when I see other folks working! HAPPY!!!!! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra, you and I did that by default from the beginning, I think. Ed was leading your over hill and dale, and I was doing two jobs then and I just felt like the Holy Spirit was nudging me, saying.... I'm sending you these early morning hours... Do what you will with them...

And it was like a gift, a blessing.

And then finding you (someone who can put up with me!!!) was another blessing.

I appreciate it more than you know, my friend. Although you DID BREAK YOUR RV TO AVOID ME and that was rather extreme...

But I have to say again, seeing Arizona, Phoenix, Scottsdale, desert, Grand Canyons, mountains... What an amazing experience.

So very different!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, Pam ... I wanted to go back to bed after reading your first day!!! I am AMAZED at all you get done, my friend, and utterly impressed at your priorities!!

SANDRA SAID: "Now that I retired I wonder how in the world did I have time to work. I mean, you get soooooo busy when you retire. I guess its doing all the things you couldn't do while working."

I concur with this, Sandra, even though Keith and I are not retired yet, we feel like it since our schedule is our own!!

I do think I was more productive when I worked outside the home because I had to be -- kind of a like a deadline -- it pushes you harder. Now that I have a more relaxed lifestyle, I don't get near as much done, but I have to admit that I'm enjoying life WAY more!!

Hugs and give that baby a hug for JuJu,

Georgia Evans said...

Great job describing your schedule. I had to laugh about your sweet little baby taking your attention. While I have 6 grandchildren, they're all pretty good about not interrupting me. I hang a sign on my office door when I'm writing so they (& my retired husband) know only something very important (alien invasion, tsunami (in Illinois), and if the house is on fire & none of them can blow it out) is okay to interrupt. Unfortunately, my puppy doesn't read the sign, or ignores it if he does. Petting breaks are needed when none of the children are here to distract him. Thanks to Hallee Bridgeman sharing her schedule with me, I am now trying to adjust and adapt my own.
Thank you for sharing. i truly enjoyed reading it.

Marianne Barkman said...

I love each and every one of you, authors and readers alike. What a sacrifice of sleep you do to keep me awake reading. And yes TINA rocks and so do SEEKERVILLE AUTHORS and friends!

Christina said...

Well, Pam this was just the kick in the seat of the pants I needed this Monday morning! With a few family problems over the weekend, I was about to just say "I can't" and relegate myself to the couch with a DVD of I Love Lucy episodes. Taking the easy or lazy way out. But after reading your incredible week's schedule, I'm feeling a bit sheepish. So I'll log off the internet now and get back to work on my novella that is due 7/1. Time to get back on track and go full steam ahead. Like you do. You're an inspiration. Thanks for being here.

Myra Johnson said...

Wow, Pam, I got tired just reading your weekly schedule! Priorities are essential, aren't they?

Missy Tippens said...

Pam, first off, I can't believe your grandbaby is growing so quickly! It seems like she was just born. My goodness, time flies!

Missy Tippens said...

Such a great post showing how we can manage this career if we just remain flexible and work hard!

Sandy Smith said...

Very interesting Pam. You are certainly busy. I haven't prioritized enough yet to do it all. But now that school is out and there is no substitute teaching until the end of August, I have no excuse.

Please put me in the drawing for the Amazon card!

Jackie Smith said...

Wow, Pam, you are amazing!! I, like Julie, feel like going back to bed after reading your schedule! Actually, I am going to do bed.. but to do my PT exercises since knee
Adorable grand baby; hug her for me.
Keep up the great writing and blessings on you. Thanks for your giveaway.

Janet Dean said...

PAM, You're crazy busy but what grabs me amidst that hectic schedule is the sheer joy of your life with a grandbaby to rock, a wedding dress to shop for, your faithfulness to family, friends and faith. You've decided what your priorities will be and are making your deadlines, too. I'm proud to know you and can't wait to read your wip.


Janet Ferguson said...

Pam, So much to do, so little time! I decided to release four books in a series, one every other month which started in April. Basically, I don't clean my house or work in the yard... I do have one email for my writing business and another for all the junk emails. Hope to see you at the Mississippi Book Festival this year if you have time, ha!

CatMom said...

WHEW!! I am exhausted just from reading what you accomplish each day, Pam. You must have as much energy as Ruthy has (I'm patiently waiting for her to bottle her energy and sell it, LOL).
Your grandbaby is absolutely precious, and what a blessing you're close by and able to spend time with her! :)
Thanks so much for sharing a peek into your BUSY life.
I have found that when I actually have a hand-written TO-DO list that I can check off, I get much more accomplished. For some reason, seeing IN WRITING what I need to do spurs me on, LOL. ;)
Happy Monday! Blessings, Patti Jo

Pam Hillman said...

Sorry to go AWOL on y'all. Baby called. And breakfast. The Big "D" (college kid/groom to be) stopped by after cutting hay and helped fed the baby while I finished breakfast for both of us AND cooked enough hamburger meat for a crockpot full of chili and a cheeseburger pie for later.


Kate, I agree about saying no. It sounds like I don't say NO, and I don't when it comes to my kids and the grand baby. But we're all in this together, those kids are working and I'm paying it forward. My parents and inlaws did so much for us when we were young parents and they still do. I appreciate it even more now that I'm in their shoes. :)

But no to other things, people, and events? Yes, I have to do that.

Pam Hillman said...

Terri, I love my sleep. My eyes are burning right now because I didn't get enough last night. :) And babysitting is a good excuse to nap with her.

If I go AWOL again later... well, ahem... y'all just pretend I'm writing or something. ;)

Pam Hillman said...

Jill, my life-time priorities are God and worship and family, and because I'm a strong believer in honoring commitments, I'm committed to my writing and my work for ACFW.

Faith, family, and fiction. Isn't that what Ruthy said earlier?

I guess that about sums it up.

And...I'd like to give a HUGE shout-out again to The Big D for being home this summer. What a blessing to have him here working in the fields, cutting hay, and working cows, building fence. And then he comes by and feeds the baby, too.

Counting My Cowboy, The Big D and Sweet T, and S&S (baby's parents), we're all healthy, in college, or transitioning from college to the workforce, and the six of us are in love with the baby.

Good gracious, what's not to love?

Pam Hillman said...

Suzanne, thank you for such an encouraging comment! You know, writing a little each day is a nice pipe-dream, but even when I had the luxury of doing that, I didn't embrace it like I thought I would. Marathon sessions seem to rejuvenate me more than an hour here and there.

And, yes, I'm taking care of myself. I'm eating very healthy ... a plan called Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and it's working wonders for me. Healthy meats, fruits and vegetables and mostly gluten-free. I'm not gluten-intolerant, but I do feel better eating less of it.

Pam Hillman said...

Jackie, there are times of transition when you have to just tread water. This season will pass. Praying that things will settle down with your job situation. Those long days are TOUGH.

Thankfully, I only have one long, long day and that's Monday. Just so happens to be the day I blog in Seekerville so y'all got the fast and furious me today. lol

Pam Hillman said...

Oh, and Jackie, congrats on your son's upcoming wedding! :)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Wow, I'm tired just reading about your coming week, Pam! I am going to admit up front: I don't do it all. I can't do it all. Though I've tried. Sometimes, I have to let something go. Lately, my boys have needed more of me, and we're gearing up for a busy June, so more of my time and energy has been dedicated to real life than to writing life.

My top priority each day is time with Jesus. I've been working to eat healthy and get more sleep and exercise. After having ACL reconstruction surgery in February, I'm determined to get out and walk as many days each week as I can (don't ask if I walked today--too many appointments :( ). For writing, I'm working to re-establish a good routine. Again, with boys home for summer, that will change. I will aim to write for an hour before they get up, two hours each day, and an hour after they go to bed. Most days. Some days won't allow for that.

Pam Hillman said...

Cathy, family can be a blessing, but can also take a lot of time. There's nothing wrong with enjoying your solitude and embracing it. My natural inclination is to kinda be a loner. I tend to put off going shopping until it's absolutely necessary. And "fun" shopping trips just to look at clothes and shoes and stuff? Fuh-git-about-it! I can't tell you the last time I went to a mall.

I'd much rather stay at home and putter around.

But, as odd as it sounds, I get more done when I have a lot to do than when I have a lot of free time on my hands. Maybe it's the idea of, "well, I have all day, so I'll do that later." Then bedtime rolls around and you realize you put off so much that at the end of the day nothing much got done.

Yes, I admit it. I have those days along with the ones where I never stop.

Pam Hillman said...

Go Rhonda! We can be #Club168. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Cindy, you've got this. 168 hours. 168 hours. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Doc, I can say one thing... I write a mighty convincing blog post! lol

Seriously, if every day was like Monday -- not that I don't LOVE Mondays because serving my children, and now my grand baby --- I would really feel overwhelmed, but since I have six other days that aren't so full, I can look forward to catching up on what got left undone on Monday.

And, truthfully, when the baby smiles at me, I can't even REMEMBER that I have stuff to do. What? I'm supposed to DO something? Oh, yeah. Right! lol

Pam Hillman said...

Laura, what's that old saying? If you want something done, ask a busy person. So, there you go.

But, let's not get TOO busy.... We do want to stay focused on those three F's we've been batting around today: Faith, family and fiction. ;)

Pam Hillman said...

Sandra, I want to be a morning person. And by morning, I mean 4 am, 5 am. I've tried. I'm just not.

Maybe it would help if I went to bed earlier. Right now, I'm shooting for 10 pm bedtime, but every once in a while, even that goes out the window if I have a deadline ... like a Seeker blog post due. :)

Pam Hillman said...

JuJu, hugs for the baby coming up!

I do have to say that there are probably some public jobs that somehow allow a person to get more done after they give their employer their 40 hours a week. My job as a Materials Manager wasn't one of them. By the time I put in my 40 plus driving time and more, I had between 50-70 hours a week for that. Add in shopping, cooking, cleaning, church, and sleep, and I had about 5 hours left in the entire WEEK. And I didn't sleep well for years because I was so stressed.

I didn't know how stressed I was until I quit and started working from home. I actually sleep for 2-3 hours at a time now. Sometimes (gasp!) I even sleep 4-5 hours. That's amazing to me. I haven't done that since my teens, if ever. But my body NEEDS 8 hours. So, if I'm not sleeping, but need sleep, we have a problem. :(

Chill N said...

Wow, Pam! Wow! :-)

Nancy C

DebH said...

hi Pam
I don't get things done. I'm not very good at the "Just DO it" part. This padawan would be getting Gibb's smacked often as Yoda attempted to train me in the ways of the, writing.

Your granddaughter is precious and soooo adorable. I can see why time is blocked out for her.

Now, to pull up my big girl britches and start doing instead of saying "I can't".

Kathryn Barker said...

Wow, Pam...that's some week you put in! I'm so encouraged by your post!! Thanks! And, all the comments are helpful too!!

Sometimes...uh...I have to PRAY hard to embrace the business of writing! For the first time in my life, I feel I can devote more time to writing and less to other obligations. It takes great discipline on my part to tell myself it's okay to take this time to write and to let other things go until it's absolutely necessary to take care of them. I'm struggling with letting my manager and our other employee handle more of our antique business without me having to be there or be in touch every day...not used to letting others handle "stuff" even though we pay them well. LOL

The joy of having time to write spurs me on to continue to trust that ALL is truly in the hands of the Lord!!

Thanks again...wishing all a tea-riffic day!!

Sharee Stover said...

Pam, you're schedule is crazy busy but I love how important your family is in your life. I think that's the biggest balance I have to work at as well. I maintain regular "to do" lists and my "to do" list has its own "to do" list...I sometimes manage to get some things checked off each day but I find myself adding more than I subtract. Sigh. With kids home for summer vacation, I'm having to negotiate writing time so that the youngest is taken care of. It might mean that I become a night owl ... which is interesting since I'm in bed by nine most nights. Flexibility? I'm sure that's in the job description of a writer.

Jan Drexler said...

Crazy schedules mean productivity, right? Kudos to you, Pam!

I am so blessed and privileged to be able to write full time, but I also live with a family and have home and church responsibilities. But we figure out how to keep sane in the midst of it all, and STILL meet the deadlines. :)

You do what you gotta do, and if you can enjoy yourself while you're doing it, then it's all good.

Even better than good!

Sign me up for #Club168!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jan, I'm in total agreement. That 168 is clutch!!!!! :)

Debby Giusti said...

I'm in for #Club168! Of course, you're a math person, Pam, so you'd add up the hours.

How can you write when that adorable little one is visiting Grandma? She's so, so sweet. Bring her to my house. I'll rock and hug.

About a year after I first sold, I bemoaned the fact that I was never "off the clock." There's never a quitting time. As writers, we are always sandwiching the writing in between other "jobs." It's a crazy life, but I wouldn't trade it either. Sometimes I think of the years I spent trying to get published. Those days were tough with self-doubt and regular rejections. Now my problem is too much to do...and that's good!

Janet Dean said...

I used to be work late, but these days my mind turns off before I do. LOL So instead of sitting in front of a computer, I now turn on HGTV and veg.


Barbara Scott said...

Yikes! I'm having a panic attack just reading about your life, Pam!! And I thought RUTHY was the Energizer Bunny queen of Seekerville.

Marathon writing would never work for me. I guess you could call me a plodder. I write six days a week and churn out 1,500 to 2,000 words a day. Then I edit other people's manuscripts, and I'm back to exercising four to five hours a week after my back surgery. Then there's church.

But you're absolutely right. When you call yourself a pro, you keep your commitments no matter how much you have to juggle. Writing beats a long commute any day.

I applaud you, girlfriend!!! I could never carry your load!!! :)

Please throw my name into the hopper for the Amazon card or a Seekerville book.

Pam Hillman said...

Back again. Not sure how long. Baby girl likes to pull my chain every once in a while! lol

Georgia, I think having a schedule is key. Of course kids and pets don't always honor it. :) For me, the key is to jump right back on the most critical task as soon as I'm freed up. And today, that's hopping back in Seekerville as the hostess with the mostest.

Pam Hillman said...

Marianne, thank you for your kind words! We love our readers and want y'all to lose sleep along with us. :)

Christina, you rock!!! Go you!! So glad to get you motivated again. Whoot! :)

Thanks, Myra. I keep thinking I need to look back at Monday to see what I've left off today that I might need to work on.

Pam Hillman said...

Missy, it's hard to believe she's almost 4 months old. Growing so fast! Yes, being flexible and working hard is key to be successful at anything.

Pam Hillman said...

Sandy, you're in the drawing. What a perfect time for you to use those 168 hours. Go for it.

BTW, I didn't mention that my mother and I went on a long awaited cruise last December. I wrote about 5K while we were gone. Not because I'm that dedicated or disciplined, but a deadline the week after the cruise will do that to you. :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

We should turn in our weekly hours each week instead of page count. How many hours a week were we butt in chair??? Actually writing. That would be an interesting social experiment.

Pam Hillman said...

Jackie, keep up the good PT exercises. You'll be up and about in no time.

Ah, thank you, Janet. I never think about my priorities being so focused, but when it boils down to it, I guess they are. It seems like I have a lot on my plate, but just cutting out the day job 3 1/2 years ago makes all I do now seem like a cake walk. I love the job and the people I worked for and with, but still it was a time and energy drain.

Pam Hillman said...

Janet F., the ACFW conference is the same week as the MS Book Festival this year, so I'm going to miss the festival. :( Hope it's as amazing as last years!

Pam Hillman said...

Patti Jo, I have a TO DO list on my notes on my laptop because I work from so many different positions around the house. When I had the day job, I had a handwritten To Do list.

But, yes, I always have a list, and you know it's especially bad when I create a special URGENT list and email it to myself and update it daily. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Janet, HGTV is one of my go to channels for when I need to veg. :)

Natalie Monk said...

Love this post! It means I have no excuse! I'm about to add some part-time work as a virtual assistant to my schedule and I'm hoping it will force me to get myself into a stricter routine. I loved your post on isolationists a while back. I'm going to try to set up my week like that and see what happens. I love the thought of getting to spend a whole day (or most of it) working on my WIP!

Elizabeth Van Tassel said...

Very nice thoughts here! Press on, press in!

Heidi Robbins said...

I really don't know how you writers do it all! I get my book reviews and blogging done late at night after the kids have gone to bed, and do my social media time first thing in the morning and at naptime :)

Throw my name in the hat for the drawing please!

Pam Hillman said...

I'm back! Waved goodbye to sweet doll baby about an hour ago.

Jeanne, having a solid plan is half the battle! :) And since they're home for the summer, treat yourself to a HUGE stack of paper plates and stock up on hot dogs and buns. Picnic outside as often as possible and enjoy those boys. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Nancy, I think I've successfully impressed you. A sign that I can weave a tall tale with the best of them. lol

DebH, every step forward is a step in the right direction. Tina shares the saying with us often. "What have you done today to make your dreams come true." Some days that might just consist of reading and commenting in Seekerville. By surrounding yourself with others (like all us Seeker Villagers!!!!) you are moving forward one step at a time, and we're all right there with you, cheering you on.

Trixi said...

The blog was late posting last night so I decided to play catch-up today :-)

I don't know how I do it all, I just know it gets done (eventually)! I guess I prioritize and then prioritize the priorities, then hit repeat a few times....I find out real quick what needs doing now and what can wait. Some things go the way side completely!

Right now I find myself extra buried in reading/reviews & I have no idea how they are going to get done in the time the authors would like! I have myself a memo wrote out of all the books that need my attention & I've had to shift those around more than a few times. Then throw in a few monkey wrenches and I feel like I'm really behind! But I'm just plugging along, one book at a time! And asking God to make it happen :-)

Please throw my name in the jumbled pile along with the rest of the names for the prizes, thanks! :-)

Tanya Agler said...

Pam, Wow! I have no reason to think I don't have time anymore. Thanks for sharing your schedule.

This weekend at my chapter meeting, my table talked about when they read, and it was amazing how many writers (and readers, I'm sure) bring their Kindle everywhere so they can squeeze in more pages of their book. One person even read while she pumped her gas. I've never done that, but I admired her ingenuity.

And so the comparison goes to writing. When I think of 168 hours per week, I love how you broke that down and in doing so gave us all encouragement to find what works best for us in the course of a week.

Pam Hillman said...

Kathryn, I have a hard time delegating as well so I understand your struggle. But you can do this. Just unplug for short periods of time, like 2 hours every morning. Then extend that to 4, then all day, etc. You can do this, and it's so wonderful that you have dependable people to run the business. That is such a huge blessing!

Pam Hillman said...

Sharee, small children are a challenge. There are probably some great in-depth posts here in Seekerville to help you figure out a plan for the summer. But if you could find other mothers who want/need some free time. They might not be writers, but they might want a couple of hours to go shopping or to get their hair done, etc. If y'all could trade off watching each others kids for a half day each week, then you could spend your half day writing and the kids would enjoy playing together. Wishing you all the best this summer!

Pam Hillman said...

Jan, I look around me every day and realize how blessed I am to have my family and get to do what I love. We are blessed, indeed.

Pam Hillman said...

Debby, I agree, we're never off the clock, but I was raised on a dairy farm, and my parents also had beef cattle, and I married a cattle farmer, so I've never been off the clock. EVER. I was bottle feeding calves by age 5.

PS... My hubby just came in from baling 80 rolls of hay, ate a bowl of chili, and is out the door to go check on some cows, and it's 8:20 after dark. I don't think we'd know how to act if we didn't have work to do 24/7.

Pam Hillman said...

Janet, I have found that sometimes just watching a movie helps relax me, but know when I do it these days....when I'm feeding the baby. I give myself permission to put a movie in and watch it with her. She likes the sound and the moving pictures, and I don't feel guilty either.

I am the queen of #multitasking.

Pam Hillman said...

Barbara said: Writing beats a long commute any day.

Amen, amen, and AMEN!

Pam Hillman said...

Natalie, I should have referenced the Isolationist post when I wrote this one. Apparently, I have "issues" with time management these days and it's spilling over into my blog posts.

Pam Hillman said...

Thank you, Elizabeth! Glad you stopped by.

Pam Hillman said...

Heidi, sounds like you have your hands full. Since I only babysit two days a week, I have the other days to catch up. A stay-at-home mom has a lot harder row to hoe than I do. I think back to when mine were small and remember how sporadic my writing time was. It was not easy to come by, that's for sure!

Pam Hillman said...

Trixi, I so relate. Every so often something on my To Do list keeps moving to the bottom until eventually it just falls off. There comes a point when it (whatever it was) is no longer relevant or even necessary. Most of these items tend to be something I wanted to do, or felt the NEED to do, but wasn't something that I had to do to take care of family or meet my business obligations.

Pam Hillman said...

Tanya, glad to get the creative thoughts going on how to utilize those 168 hours. I wonder if any of us are brave enough to ever try one of those really long "last couple standing" writing marathons like the dance marathons back in the 30s? We could call it "Last Author Writing" or LAW for short.... better yet ...


Pam Hillman said...

So, it is the end of the day and I just read over my Monday chores. Yes, it went pretty much as expected, except my mother-in-law came over and brought my one-year-old great niece to visit her cousin. The babies hugged, and hugged, and hugged, and the one year old said "Heyeya" which sounded suspiciously like she was saying "Hey Ella."

Then my mother came at 5 to visit her great-grandbaby, which was actually a help to me. She fed the baby while I washed bottles and we chatted. All hands on deck get a mop... or a bottle, whichever is closest.

Oh, and I had to edit a photo for the wedding invitations, but I did that while feeding the baby, so that doesn't really count as lost time. :)

No writing or editing today. I was operating on less than 6 hours of sleep, and I still have sandpaper on my eyeballs. It's almost 9 pm here, so I'll give the kitchen a "lick and a promise" and head to bed soon, because remember what tomorrow is???


Thanks everyone for hanging out in Seekerville today, and remember... #168Hours. You CAN find the time to write. Trust me. :)

Kathryn Barker said... made such a kind and encouraging response to my comment...THANK YOU! I'm working on it!! Take care...I know you're looking forward to your writing day tomorrow!! Blessings...

Walt Mussell said...

Pam, this was an amazing post, and a testament to your ability to find time to get things done within a busy schedule.

Tina Radcliffe said...

And Pam says zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Mildred Bastidas said...

I recently took a class call the book factory, it was amazing, it help me to organize my time an move forward with my writing. I have five young kids and a lot has to happen in my day, believe me a lot.
Thanks for your post Pam, and before I go I have to tell you, that you have a very cute gran-daughter.!

bonton said...

Enjoyed your post, Pam - thank you!!

Oh, how I remember those days of working 2 or 3 jobs at a time to support my kids - I think we all manage to find the time to do what we need to do. Now that I'm retired from working outside the home, I can't imagine doing all that I once did. But the truth is - I still have a heavy schedule considering my online work, reading/reviewing, and responsibilities to extended family members. However, I'm doing more of the things I enjoy, setting my own schedule is more relaxing, and living alone now affords me the luxury of being less strict re: some of the household chores.

Due to working nights for a number of years before retiring, being a natural "night owl", health and sleep issues - I'm afraid I'll never be one of those people who welcome getting an early morning start on my work. I'm glad you find much enjoyment from all you do, Pam - it makes it more worthwhile and somewhat easier, doesn't it??

Congrats on that beautiful baby, the wedding, and of course - your wonderful writing accomplishments!! Please enter my name in the giveaway drawing - thank you!!

The Artist Librarian said...

LOL, so I'm not the only one who uses separate web browsers --one for my blog and related social media accounts and the other for personal and everything else. ;-)

From the people I know that work from home or don't have 9-5 jobs, they seem to work much longer hours than your traditional jobs ... but they're doing things they love or are able to spend time with their children so it's worth it for them! =)

Crystal L Barnes said...

How do I do it? I juggle. A lot.

ohiohomeschool said...

Thanks for your post. I have 7 children and home educate and run a business. Prayer helps me to make it.

Enjoy the day.

Pam Hillman said...

Kathryn, so glad to be an encouragement, and Walt, I know you have a lot on your plate, too. So you know how to juggle!

MILDRED!!!! Five young kids??? YOU should have wrote this blog post. Not me! #Amazed!

Bonton, I look back at those years of working long hours, raising kids, rushing to and fro, Boy Scout meetings, and can't imagine how I did it all then. Can't imagine doing all that now!

Pam Hillman said...

Artist, using separate web browsers definitely makes life easier. :)

Crystal, we should take our act on the road. Master jugglers!

Becky, my hat's off to you! Homeschooling 7 kids? I am such a slacker! You're another amazing mom that makes me go wow!

Gamer Girl said...

I am a homeschooling Mom of 12. Prayer and assigning chores for the children helps me get through the day. Reading helps me keep my sanity and relaxes me.
Thank you for entering me in the giveaway.

Deanne P.