Many of us Newbies balance our writing with family commitments and day jobs. When I wrote my first book, it was my hobby and I was able to devote what little spare time I had to it, undivided.

These days, times have moved on. With a book published, I am required to utilise social media to promote it regularly. Now, anyone that knows me will know that I’m a Twitter convert. I love meeting other writers, readers, and the world at large, and having a chat. This combined with regular blog posts and the fact that my favourite pastime is procrastination (I learned long ago that I’m fundamentally lazy) means that there aren’t many hours left in the day.

Also, my daughter is now eleven. I’m very aware that time is passing quickly and there’ll soon come a time when she will want to spend more time with her friends and less with me. The day approaches when she will leave home, move out to make her own way in the world. Although natural, like many parents, this thought places a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. I feel the urge to spend as much ‘quality’ time with her as possible while she is still young enough to seek my attention.

Whether you’ve written a book, are engaged in writing one, or are dipping your toe into the short story or freelance market, these days we are all encouraged to build and maintain a writer’s platform. But how do we fit this in with our real love: writing?

It took me 18 months to write An Unfamiliar Murder. And the sequel is looking to be about the same. But with less time to devote to it – what is the answer? I’m at a loss. I’ve tried to make myself write first, then use social media as my treat. But forced writing isn’t conducive to making the words flow and quite frankly, doesn’t work for me.

I know I’m not alone. One of my great Twitter friends recently debated this issue. So, I’d like to open it up to everyone here. How do you find the time?

Jane Isaac’s first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, is out on Amazon.com, Amazon.uk and Kindle worldwide now. Jane is still very much a Newbie and with a day job, a family and a very demanding black Labrador, she squeezes her writing into every spare moment she gets. You can catch up with her at www.janeisaac.co.uk


 

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22 comments
  • Cathy
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 2:25 am

    I find the time because I really enjoy it. When I’m writing, I’m lost to the ‘real’ world and there have definitely been times when I’ve got the balance wrong. I suddenly thought, what if I get a really high mark in my diploma, but no longer have a family? As you say, Jane, these years with our children are fleeting. So, I sleep a bit less, accept that I’ll do things a bit less well, or thoroughly, than I’d like, procrastinate a bit less, socialise MUCH less.

    There’s a fashionable idea of using the power of habits going round too. The theory is that if you start doing something regularly it will become a habit that you can’t kick.

    Finally, I do use all those bits of time, when I might otherwise have read the papers, to work. If I have an hour to wait for a child doing some activity, I’ll have an academic text to hand or a notebook. Even my loo reading is relevant to my writing or my course.

    Obvs then I ruin it all by spending two hours watching CSI, feel exhausted next day and the whole thing goes to pot … Oh well. Some days it works.

    I’m sure you’ll get there Jane.
    Cathyx

  • JaneIsaac
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 2:30 am

    Hey Cathy!
    Thanks for stopping by. I guess I just need to work smarter not harder, LOL. Gosh – now I’m going all corporate – arrgh! You comments really help. I read in the loo too:))

  • tmycann
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 3:26 am

    I can tell you the month running up to publication I was averaging 6 hours of sleep a night, and I’ll be paying for that for a while. The real worry is that I slacked off a bit at my day job because I was so zombie-fied from lack of sleep, I know I’m going to have to rethink that plan for future releases. Let me know if you find anything that works…! 😀

  • Jane Isaac
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Hey Tonya! Thanks for your comment and many congratulations on your new release. That’s fantastic!

    The lead up to publication is a hectic one, and soon you’ll be into promoting too! It’s all good fun. Maybe we need parallel lives, LOL.

  • Jennifer Sosniak
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 9:51 am

    It’s very hard. They say you should write a little bit every day. That’s so tough. I’m most creative in the middle of the night. I don’t know why that is. I’ve just given in to it. When I have an idea, I jot it down and get to it when I get to it. Life gets in the way and that’s going to have to work. I don’t want to resent it. I want to enjoy it. 🙂 Good luck.

  • Graeme Ing
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Thanks for such a pragmatic post.

    It’s tough trying to maintain a social platform, AND write, AND hold a day job, for sure. I always write every day because that’s what I really love to do, even if it’s only 500 words. That soon adds up.

    I’m about 3 months from publishing and I too am losing sleep every night because I can’t get marketing plans out of my head. Ugh. How do I market this thing? How do you build an audience? Knowing others are in the same boat is the only thing that keeps me sane.

  • Anne
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I think it’s like a roller coaster ride. With your first book, you finally find a publisher, step into the carriage and head up the slope. You get to the top and then comes the exhilaration and adrenaline rush of publication. Suddenly you are speeding down the other side, trying to write your second book at the same time.

    How can you resolve the inherent problem of the fact that building and maintaining a writer’s platform consumes more time than you could ever spend on it? I don’t know. But I will be reading your posts avidly, for when you work it out and let us know.

  • Amanda Salerno
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Interesting. I’m not sure if it’s because of the strange in-between I’m stuck at (two weeks away from graduating college; no job yet), but I’m having a slightly different problem. I dedicate all of my free time to writing, and neglect blogging, Tweeting, networking in general… The networking seems like it takes so much more time than writing does. Or maybe I’m going about it the wrong way, and I should be working smarter, not harder.

    Either way, I will agree with you that there is just not enough time.

  • JaneIsaac
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks Jennifer. I guess I just have to find a system that works for me, LOL. I’m with you on the night creativity – those ideas pop into your head at the strangest moments!

  • JaneIsaac
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Hey Graeme! Thanks for your comment. It sure is tough, but I’m thinking you have the right idea by putting your writing first. That is why we are all here, after all.
    It’s wonderful that you are so close to publishing. Congratulations! Yes, marketing is another ball game and one that you have to keep plugging away at – I’m still learning that one.Best wishes with your new release:)

  • JaneIsaac
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Hey Anne! Great description. That just about sums up how I feel right now. Hopefully, if we stick together, one of us will come up with a good idea,LOL. Thanks for the support:)

  • JaneIsaac
    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Amanda! Thanks for stopping by. It can be quite a dilemma deciding what to concentrate on. When I wrote my first book, I wasn’t engaged in social networking. I didn’t start the platform thing until I got my book deal. But some writers prefer to build their audience first. Either way, I definitely know that I need to concentrate on my writing. That’s the ‘product’ after all. And if the book’s no good, there’s no point in promoting, LOL. Thanks for your comment and for focusing my mind, and best of luck with your writing and job hunting:)

  • Amanda Salerno
    Posted on April 24, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Jane – Ha! Yes, of course, the writing is most important. I’m networking for job opportunities, not so much a reading audience. I am a long, long way off from publishing, if I am ever even lucky enough to get to that point. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words, a good luck to you as well.

  • Terry Tyler
    Posted on April 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    All I can do is give advice from my own experience. Keep going with the ‘forced’ writing. I write virtually every day, often when i don’t feel like it, but get SOMETHING down. It doesn’t matter if it’s rubbish, you can sort it out in the first re-write. The re-writing you can do when you’re feeling all fired up and creative. The other thing that works for me is an easy one. Don’t even put the internet on before you start writing. Don’t think ‘I’ll just have a quick look on Facebook’. You know what happens! When I’m on a big writing jag (trying to get something finished for a certain time), I tell myself, right, I will FB/Tweet at 10 pm. At that time, I turn my writing off for the day, and then I can social network without guilt!! As for the family thing – it’s easier for me because I don’t have children, but my husband does moan at me for neglecting him, and I have friends I haven’t contacted properly that I should have – I think you just have to do the best you can and don’t give yourself too much of a hard time. As Graeme said, try giving yourself a target of 500 words a day -that’s not much at all and is easily do-able. When I sit down and think “I can’t write today, it’s not coming”, I MAKE myself start, even if it’s crap, and then find that sometimes it isn’t. You have a book deal – so you probably won’t have to do all your marketing yourself; take pity on we self-published authors who have to do THE LOT! No, that isn’t said with bitterness, just envy and YO RESPECT!

  • JaneIsaac
    Posted on April 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Hey Terry! Thanks for your kind comments. Great advice too. Must give that a try:)

  • James Garcia Jr.
    Posted on April 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Hello, Jane. As I begin typing this comment it is just after 7 pm. I really need to get to bed soon because my day job (which usually gets me up at 3 am) starts earlier tomorrow due to Safety Meetings which I must give as the supervisor to over 100 employees. I will work nearly 12 hrs tomorrow, and there lies the problem. What little time I have left will be devoted to networking. If I spend an hr writing, there will be little networking. If I don’t get back to writing, there will be no need for networking. *sigh* At the moment, I spend a few hours Saturday morning writing, cranking out 2000-4000 words. It would be better if i could write each day, but at the moment it is the best that I can do…

    -Jimmy

  • Jane Isaac
    Posted on April 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Hey Mr Garcia! Thanks for stopping by. Do we have the same life? LOL. * Well perhaps not the 3am start * It certainly is a challenge. Thanks for all your support:))

  • Tammy Maas
    Posted on April 26, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Hi Jane! Because we are newly published writers I think we have a unique set of problems that will go away somewhat after books 2 and 3. Marketing should get easier down the road (I hope) which will free up more time for writing. For now I say take your time, enjoy your daughter, live a fun life and the words will come when they are dam good and ready. If that happens to be at 2am than so be it! Enjoy the ride friend and put the brakes on once in a while to see the sights : )

  • Jane Isaac
    Posted on April 26, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Hi Tammy! Lovely to see you here. Yes, I guess further down the line we’ll have got the hang of this marketing thing. Good advice. Thank you. I’m so lucky to share this journey with you:))

  • Damien
    Posted on April 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I’m loving all these comments on the blog. Keep them coming

  • Dionne
    Posted on April 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I struggle with it and have had 5 chapters of my new book written for about 3 months and don’t know when I’ll get going again, but I know it’s there. It’s hard work promoting your book, I am beginning to learn the truth of this first hand lol. I guess squeeze in the writing when you can and make sure you enjoy it when you do – the rest will come 🙂

  • Jane Isaac
    Posted on April 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thank you, Dionne. I think squeeze is my middle name these days! Best of luck with your debut:)

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