It’s a fine line between insanity and stability when you decide to tackle a project as big as writing a novel. The balancing act you have to follow is brutal to say the least. How does one juggle everything in their lives? For me, I’ve had balance writing Black Thorn, working full-time (and often overtime.), college, and most importantly being a father to my kids and a good husband to my wonderful wife. There are a few key things that I had to do in order to accomplish all that I have and trust me it’s not easy. With that in mind I thought it would be a good idea to help spread what I have learned. So below are my three tips for getting your project done and still staying sane.
#1 Create a schedule and stick to it!
This one should be a no-brainer for anyone doing a large project. Sticking to a schedule is something that most of us do already at least in parts of our lives. However if you want to be successful at your project then its best to start now and write it down. Print it out. Enter it in your phone, but whatever you do put it somewhere you’ll see it often and stick to it. For me, unless I am covering for a co-worker my Monday through Friday schedule is as followed.
Mon – Fri
6:00 am – Wake up, Shower, dress.
6:30 am – Eat, drink copious amounts of coffee, and spend time with my wife.
7:30 am – Leave for work.
8:00 am – 5:00 pm – Business as usual.
6:00 pm – Dinner and family time
8:00 pm – Homework, Study
9:00 pm – 10:00 pm – Write
10:30 pm – Bed
For the weekend I don’t have a strict schedule, but I do have blocks of time I like to keep to. I like to spend at least six hours writing over the weekend if not more and I also devote four hours to school. The rest of the time I stick with my family playing board games, watching tv, or just hanging out. If it’s a really nice weekend we try and plan a hiking trip on either Saturday or Sunday, which leaves me one day to squeeze in my writing and school work.
#2 Allow yourself a break
Even though I keep to my schedule pretty well, at the end of the day I’m still human and as such I allow myself a break every now and then. For example if I have been writing for an hour or two and I am feeling burnt out I stop my timer (yes I keep a timer when I write.) and I make myself a pot of coffee, go for a short walk, play pokemon with my oldest son, or watch a little tv. I keep the breaks short because I don’t want to loose my steam so I’m only out for about fifteen minutes, with thirty minutes being the absolute max. There are also days when I have just had enough and can’t do anything. These are days when work or something had been especially hard. It’s times like that where I just need to do something other than stick to my schedule. I call them lazy days because by the end of them I feel like a lazy sob. The next day however I normally get done twice my normal work.
#3 Talk to someone
Writing is a lonely job and when you work in a career field where you work by yourself its easy to feel out of touch. I have a list of people I keep in contact with throughout the week. Filling them in on the day to day, venting about problems work related or otherwise and bouncing ideas off of them. My wife is especially handy when it comes to the latter as she is also a writer. She knows the struggle, the stress, and the depression that can come from writing. We try to stay in contact throughout the day via texts, but there are times when I will be driving for one to three hours and we will spend these hours as sounding boards for novel ideas, talking about the struggles we are having with our day, and all around cheering each other up. Having someone who will listen to you will help you go a long way to finishing your project.
When everything is said and done, you have to find what works for you. You need to find what motivates you to complete project after project and what keeps you sane. This is just what I found that works for me. Let me know in the comments what works for you! As always thank you for reading this, remember to like, subscribe, and share. Black Thorn, book one in The Guardian Chronicles comes out November 21 and will be available on Amazon. The eBook is currently available for preorder.