Tuesday, May 28, 2019

ALMOST SUMMER!

So for some of you, school has been let out. College graduations are mostly over, some Southern schools are on summer break and others are not far behind.

In the north, we tend to go longer into June, but the warming weather trends and crazy intense storms throughout the Central United States tell us the seasons are changing and possibly at war with one another.

So here's the thing:  What does summer or any holiday mean to a self-employed author? Or, and more so, to a self-employed author who also has a day job?

Shifts in scheduling, or no schedule can wreak havoc with your writing. The sun's up later for a lot of you... so are kids.... and the sun's up way earlier than she used to be. Baseball, soccer, dance, theater camps, regular camps, cancer camps, dance camps, day camps, hiking, camping, day-trips...

You get the picture. There is no "normal". There is only the new normal which is not normal at all. So what's an aspiring or even established author to do?

Make a plan.

If you know that you have everyday between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM to write, get up and do it.

Turn the TV off at night... and social media, too... and go to bed by 10:00. Up at 4:45, coffee in hand, writing at 5:00.

WHAT??? RUTHY ARE YOU NUTS?????

Probably, but that's a different blog post entirely. You can either let the lack of structure beat you back and cost you time and momentum OR...  work around it. Examine your schedule weekly. And set the plan for that week. And if it must be changed for the next week, big deal.

Do it.

That's the party-bonus-glory of the self-employed aspect of being a writer. We are our own bosses. We set the pace and make the plan. The downside of that is there is no one else to blame if we tank.

Nope.

Not one soul can take the fall.

It's on us.

Just us.

Not everyone handles that well. Some look around, wanting to cast blame elsewhere.

Nope.

I'm not talking medical emergency, death, divorce kind of blame... that's different.

I'm talkin' the I can't get out of bed in the morning to write or stay up late to write or write while I'm waiting two hours to pick up kids from camp or Grandma from respite...

For the next ten weeks the words "perfect time" and "perfect plan" should go out the window and be replaced by "I work when I can, where I can."

Darlings, it's rough. I know this! I get it, I really do, but if you want this career. If you were born to write...

Gotta do what it takes on a regular basis. No one becomes accidentally successful.

They become successful because they didn't quit.

Join the conversation with a comment on how you handle the craziness of summer and/or holidays and I'm tucking you into a drawing for this wonderful new Love Inspired book, the final book of the "Shepherd's Crossing" series "Healing the Cowboy's Heart".... 



A perfect match…or sworn enemies?

Only time will tell at
Shepherd’s Crossing.

Horse breeder Isaiah Woods can’t believe his only ally in helping a neglected mare is the descendant of his family’s bitter enemy—veterinarian Charlotte Fitzgerald. Despite the feud, Charlotte risks everything to save the horse. But as she falls for Isaiah—and the orphaned niece and nephew in his care—the mare isn’t the only one who needs saving.

PREORDER HERE, RELEASES ON JUNE 18TH

Multi-published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne understands the craziness of schedules and lack thereof. She lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York and from May through October, her real life interferes, clashes with, and tries valiantly to overcome her fictional-loving life but she fools it by getting up early... sneaking in writing time... and pretending to be a juggler. She's pretty sure you can do this, too! Write her at loganherne@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter, visit her website ruthloganherne.com or friend her on facebook... She loves to chat with readers and encourage authors, and with her 50th book just released .... she's got a lot to say!

43 comments:

  1. Hi Ruthy! Good post. Here in the middle of the country school is also out for the summer. For me that means lots of time to write since I am done with substitute teaching. But I also have to balance the time for all the other household projects and other things I need to get done as well. It is a balancing act for sure.

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    1. Sandy, happy summer!!!! And yes, the juggling begins. I know up here there are always repairs and changes that eat up the twelve to fourteen weeks of nice weather, and that stuff has to get done, too.

      PLATE-SPINNERS!

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  2. So here's the thing: What does summer or any holiday mean to a self-employed author? Or, and more so, to a self-employed author who also has a day job?

    We had a holiday yesterday??? JK! I know it was Memorial Day, but truly, it was a normal day for me working from home. We didn't have a family get-together yesterday, but we usually do on holidays, but even then, I usually spend the day much the same as I do every day, working.

    Back when I worked outside the home, holidays were designated writing days for sure. And back when I was unpublished and entering the Golden Heart, Thanksgiving Day, the day after (when I could get off) and the following weekend were my personal drop-dead-deadline to get my GH entry(ies) finished and mailed out.

    It's the same for my cowboy husband, and it was the same for my dairy farmer parents. Cows don't know it's a holiday. :)

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    1. Pam, you're absolutely right. Remember when the Dowager Countess of Grantham overheard Tom Branson, the chauffeur talk about "weekends" and she stared at him... "What's a weekend?" she asked.

      And that can be true of any of us who are self-employed. We look at weekends as a time to accomplish more writing... not days off. And Dave's that way with the farm (although he was kind of that way with his job in retail, too, I think sometimes it was quite convenient to use the "Sorry... I'm working" response! )

      If we get a good day for planting or tilling, that's what gets done.

      That's the nice thing about writing.

      I am not weather-dependent. When I want to go sit in the stands and watch a kid's soccer match or baseball game or tennis... I just get up early and write, then enjoy the day. :)

      That's my kind of attitude, Pam!

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  3. This made me laugh:

    WHAT??? RUTHY ARE YOU NUTS?????
    Probably, but that's a different blog post entirely.


    We'll be waiting for that blog post!

    Since my husband retired just over a year ago, my life has become one long summer vacation, and I'm still adjusting! It doesn't help that he works part-time, and his work schedule changes from week to week. I used to write when he was at work, and after all this time I'm still trying to get into a new groove.

    Thanks for the inspiring kick in the pants, Ruthy!

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    1. Jan, I've gone through that with Dave, too... because he's working part-time over the year and then arrives in the middle of the morning... and then during farm season, it's a constant in and out and this and that, so I hear you.

      Connealy has learned to take her laptop elsewhere to work... I may try that, too. It can't hurt, right???

      Because I've found that when I'm actually gone...

      The world does not end!

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    2. I recently bought an AlphaSmart so I could be untied from my desktop computer when I need to be. Still getting used to it, but I think it will work. :-)

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    3. Debby uses one all the time... she loves it, Jan!

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  4. We're definitely in summer vacation mode here in Tenn. Especially since I am married to a teacher. It's changed my schedule some but not a whole lot. Because I am a stay-at-home mom of two preschoolers. I am always on "write what I can when I can" mode. :-) And we don't tell our kids that their schedules are supposed to change. So, we're still enforcing naptime most days, which is my normal work time.

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    1. Amy, what a good take on all of this. When there are kids involved, you're always juggling, aren't you? That's the way of it. So this is like the best training you can have for writing on the fly. We don't take the time... sometimes we just have to make the time! So well done.

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  5. Ruthy, this is so true. There are plenty of reasons why we don't write during a given season, but most of those reasons are merely excuses. I'm guilty! It's hard to find a balance between work and the rest of it all. Sometimes I work to avoid the rest of it all! :) And sometimes I piddle-dink around instead of writing.

    But not right now! I'm diving into my WIP for the rest of the day! I Promise!

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    1. Erica, go get 'em! The Piddle-dink thing is a temptation to all of us, I think. We get sidetracked by shiny objects! :) Or a great story....

      And you're balancing stuff in multiple directions, so you've got this nailed, Erica. Well done.

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  6. Now that I'm an empty nester, my schedule remains constant throughout the year. Although I do long for the summers of old when the children were little. I loved the times we spent at the pool or playing in the yard, reading, going to the library, having fun family activities! Now I get special getaways to visit the grands, which are always a treat!

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  7. Deb, that's a huge help, isn't it? To have that consistent timing. And I love that thought of those early summers, running around after kids, sunscreens, beaches, pulling wagons through sand.

    Like you, I love the times away with grandkids now... and a chance to just relax and enjoy them.

    So I still sneak out of bed really early in the morning... and they come find me when they wake up. :)

    It's like "Where's Waldo/Grammy?" in the morning!!!

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  8. I handle the busyness & craziness of summer by dropping my kids off at my parents' farm! ;)

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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    1. I would totally drop my kids off at Ruthy's farm if I could! LOL

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    2. Come visit & we can leave our kids behind together! :)

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    3. Ha -- never mind dropping off the kids -- plunk me down in a pumpkin patch and I'd be a happy camper too! lol

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    4. Kav, I agree! Just drop me off, too. :)

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    5. Sounds like a plan, ladies! Party at the pumpkin farm!!!!!

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    6. PARTY AT RUTHY'S!!!!! BRING A FRIEND!!!!!

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  9. Ruthy, I love it when you write something like this. Encouragement, AKA a kick in the rear, can be worth more than a dozen articles on craft. Because that craft information isn't useful if you aren't actually writing. Who knew?! :-)

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  10. Wow!

    A vet,
    a family feud,
    a guardian to adorable children...
    my or my,
    could "Healing the Cowboy's Heart"
    be as good as the 'early' Ruth's
    "Waiting Out the Storm"
    which fell upon the scene
    like the joyous start to summer
    after the cold winds of "Winter's End"!

    I just loved "Waiting Out the Storm"
    Dare I risk reading "Healing the Cowboy's Heart"?

    That cowboy on the cover looks mighty young to me.

    What's says the mature Ruth?

    Vince

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    1. Vince, he does look young... I'd have put ten years on him myself, because he's in his early thirties.... So we're just going to say it's my hero TEN YEARS AGO!!!! :)

      I love this story... Charlotte's story was in mind as I wrote the other stories so I hope I did a great wrap-up and I will love your opinion...

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  11. Love that there's a new Ruthy book coming out. Horse breeder and a vet? My animal lovin' heart is in heaven! For me, the garden is the real time stealer in the spring and summer. But it's also one of my greatest pleasures and I find the physical labor of plotting in my garden enhances the plotting going on in my brain.

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    1. Kav, I love the idea of plotting while plotting! :)

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    2. Kav, working outside in the gardens and/or on the house is my therapy, too. And I plot then, also!!!! TWINSIES!!!!!!! But I try not to fall off roofs and ladders while I'm plotting.

      That would be bad. :(

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  12. With having a toddler at home, quiet time for all children is still enforced while the littlest naps. This goes for even Mama and Papa. :) This is when I write - both during the school year and in the summer. My goals are to finish a manuscript before the summer holidays so that I can do my edits and revisions while camping (I like having paper copies to work on during revisions so no biggie that power may or may not be available). It's not always do-able but there are notebooks that I fill with ideas or revisions I want to make so the ideas are there when I have a chance to sit down in front of my computer. :) Thanks for the kick in the pants to plan ahead for the summer months! ;P

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    1. Lee-Ann, that sounds like a great plan! I love the idea of enforced quiet time. :)

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    2. Oh, you are so smart... and forward thinking. And that's really a big part of staying on schedule or disciplining yourself to make things happen... and not hurrying.

      I know some folks love to hurry... but not all of us are built that way. I figure the numbers will bear us out if we can write that 1K/day or 2/K/day or even 500 words/day.... because over a YEAR, that's a lot of writing. And I don't substitute other writing tasks for word count because then I'm cutting my word count.

      That would be silly!!!! But if I can get that 1K/day into stories, I'm a happy woman who never falls behind. And that keeps me and everyone else calm.

      Calm is good!

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  13. Thanks for the encouragement, Ruthy! I'm a terrible boss. I must get tougher with myself. Spring was full of distractions (some good, some bad). Praying that I'll be able to get back in the swing of things soon. Love this: "I work when I can, where I can." My new motto.

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    1. That is a great motto, Laura!

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    2. Laura, for those of us who have life happening all around us (100% of us, I expect!) getting tough and firm on ourselves becomes our best quality. That "GET 'ER DONE!" attitude that doesn't take away from family/job/life but gives us the the chance to do what we love: Write stories.

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  14. Ruthy, I love that new cover!

    I also need to figure out a new schedule now that my youngest has moved home!

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  15. No craziness here. I tend to just chill out.

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  16. Ruthy,
    Congrats on the new book - love the cover - and it's okay if the cowboy is younger! Makes me feel younger, anyway. This summer, my schedule will be completely different than any summer before. As of 7/1, I will transition from full-time to part-time - 4-5 hours a day, and working from home everyday. What a relief!That will eliminate a 1.5 hour drive each way. My afternoons will be devoted to editing for my clients, marketing my book and writing! Can't wait!

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    1. Edwina, hi!!!! Oh, I love that change coming into your life, it's so nice to be able to cut down the hours away... even if it means we're getting slightly older, LOL! :)

      I'm okay with that as long as I've got the writing time I longed for for many, many years.

      Congrats right back at you for a new turning point in life!

      And thanks for loving my youngish cowboy... He's wonderfully good-looking. :)

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  17. Thanks for this reminder, Ruthy. We've got a month to go, but I need to make a plan. I tend to squander time when I'm on vacation. You know how they tell retirees to make sure to set a routine? That's what I need to learn to do for summer vacation. I know that's the opposite of farm life for you. Maybe I should come plant pumpkins with you. :)

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