QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Balancing Your Writing Career

When I first started writing fiction, I’d never heard of Twitter or Facebook. And blogging, what was that? I had three young kids, but I was able to carve out enough time to write. All my free time went to the novel I was working on.

And then I discovered blogging. I didn’t blog much at first, and I only followed a few blogs. That was around the time when Carolyn, Elana, Mary, and Suzie started up the Querytracker Blog. I learned tons from them, and went on to follow a few agent blogs. And over time, I discovered that I needed to become more involved in social media, because if I was ever published, I would be responsible for a lot of my own promotion.

Flash forward to today. Now like most writers, my days aren’t just about writing my current WIP (work in progress). I have to spend time playing on my favorite social media sites. I say playing because that’s what it should be. It shouldn’t be work. It shouldn’t be all about promotion. It should be about having fun. Connecting with friends. Making new friends. Making new connections with bloggers who might one day review your book and sign up for your blog tour or release day blitz. Chatting with fans. Fangirling over your latest book boyfriend (that you didn’t write). In a recent Romance Writers of America conference panel I sat on, the participants all agreed that it is the connections we’ve made on the social media sites that helped us the most when it comes to promotion. Whenever we have news to share, our writer friends, book blogger friends, and fans are more than happy to tweet, retweet, and share our news via the various social media sites.

Now that’s great, you might be thinking, but I barely have enough time to write my book, never mind hang out on the various social media sites. This is especially true if you have a family, a full-time career, or both. And once you’ve signed a publishing contract, it’s only going to get harder, because now you have to write the next book as well as do developmental, line, and copy edits on the first book. Later, you’ll be proof reading the book while writing your next book and while doing developmental (or line or copy) edits on book two. Oh, and let’s not forget that you also have to write those guest posts for your upcoming blog tour, create picture teasers (if you write a genre in which readers LOVE picture teasers), or writing other types of articles that will help promote your book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction).

Tips to Balance It All

1.  The best thing to do to prevent your brain from exploding is to create a (flexible) schedule—and try to keep to it. Remember, Twitter doesn’t count toward your daily word count. Nor does commenting on Facebook (as much as we wish it did).

2.  If you have anything promotional you need to tweet throughout the day (for followers who weren’t on Twitter when you first posted it), you can schedule them on a site like Hootsuite. This way whenever you’re on Twitter, you can stick to having fun stuff and save time.

3.  Turn off the Internet if you have a habit of getting distracted and usually end up spending more time on it than you should.

4.  Set a timer, or else your quick five minutes on Twitter could end up being thirty.

5.  Assign specific days for certain social media sites. Maybe you love Twitter and aren’t a huge fan of Facebook, but understand the value of your page.  You could tweet daily, but post Monday and Wednesday on your Facebook page (as well as visit the pages you follow and comment on those posts).

6.  That will make things more manageable than forcing yourself to do both every day.

7.  With your writing, set up a schedule and stick to it. Determine what the bigger priority is and focus your time on that (without neglecting the other tasks). Hint, the project with the deadline is the biggest priority. If you have two deadlines plus you have to write blog posts for your upcoming blog tour, then divide your day into manageable chunks and assign each task to be worked on then (e.g. edit in the morning and write blog posts in the evening).

It’s not always easy to balance it all, but it’s the reality of our job. And make sure you reward yourself each day for accomplishing what you set out to do.

Do you have any additional tips for balancing the responsibilities of our writing careers? Do you find it easy to do or do you, like most writers, struggle with it?

Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website.  She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance TELL ME WHEN (Carina Press, HQN) is now available. LET ME KNOW (Carina Press) will be available Sept 1st, 2014.


B.E. Sanderson said...

Great post. Thanks! I've been working on trying to balance writerly things (social networking, submitting, etc.) with actual writing and life lately, and these are awesome tips. The only thing I have to add is that you can adjust your Twitter settings so it post your tweets to FB, too.

Miranda Hardy said...

Great tips, Stina! I need to take your advice.

Stina said...

Great tip, S.E Sanderson. But if you do this, make sure the beginning works for Twitter. I see so many tweets like this, but the part of the post that goes out doesn't make me want to click on the link. Sometimes it's better to tweet the post/link yourself instead of have FB do it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips. Balancing it all is such a struggle. I need to get on a Twitter and Facebook schedule to get back on them more.