How do you juggle a writing career with a full-time job? I wish I had the answer! It takes a big planner and dedication to stay on task. It's not for the faint of heart. Knowing that I am naturally organized, I understood the importance of being even more organized when I made the commitment to publish my work seriously. I've also learned along the way, and that means learning from mistakes, too.
When I worked for the local newspaper, I purchased a planner from Blue Sky. It was 8x11 and had a full 2-page calendar of each month and each week with enough space to write important information. I could write appointments along with keeping track of my assignments for the newspapers using this type of planner.
After I stopped working for the newspaper, I wasn't sure what to do with the planner until I realized I would need it to keep track of when I should have things done for my book (i.e. edits from the editors, reviews were due back, order author copies by, etc.). The need to have a planner only increased the more activities that came up throughout the year, such as arts and crafts fairs, signings, as well as having another book in the works. Now, I'm not sure what I would do without it! It's my crutch! If you are a writer, or if you are planning on publishing, whether self-publishing or going to traditional publishing, I recommend getting a planner like this or similar. Like I said, I use Blue Sky planners www.bluesky.com, which are durable and cost-effective at $20. In addition, they have a pocket inside to tuck important information and recycling instructions.
Obviously, I can't have my writing infiltrate my full-time job. I work from home, which many people do. It wouldn't be fair to my employer if I used the company's paid time to work on writing, so I have to be conscious of when I work on my writing career versus when I'm logged into my day job. To do this, I get up early enough to use the time before work to take care of or writing business like finances, orders that have come in overnight and posting or updating website or social media. Sometimes I run out of time that I have to do my updating or posting during a work break. That's okay, as long as that's all I do and not getting sucked into doing other writing career tasks. Once I'm logged out for the day, I take care of personal things and then I get into my writing career tasks that need to be done. Writing my bi-weekly blog, research, working on writing a current book or editing a current book, working on my newsletter, etc. It all takes an extreme amount of time that I have to use my time in the evenings and weekends the best I can. I have to work around art and craft shows that are typically booked on weekends. Again–that's where the planner comes in handy, too! Scheduling my time to do tasks is a must!
I've been working on my writing career for over a year, having started writing my first published novel, The Gangster's Daughter, in September 2022. Not only do I have to juggle my writing career with my full-time job, but I also have to juggle a personal life. That has not been easy to juggle all three. Luckily for me, and not so lucky for others, my children are adults, leaving me more available than some mothers who have young children with appointments, school happenings, sports, etc. But I have a husband, who also has a teenager that I lend a hand with. I never hesitate to help where I'm needed there, but sadly I have neglected my own personal life and that I very much need to work on. Now that my writing career is on the move, I can schedule in personal time as a much deserved reward!