Living a Writerpreneur life can be overwhelming. We need to do so many things as self-employed writers. Of course, there’s the writing. That’s the core of our career. But, there’s also all the other actions that require attention: marketing, banking, goal setting, correspondence, reading, learning, and research. Plus there are those other important commitments of family, recreation, and home life.
I used to stress “balance” in life. That each element (work, family, etc.) got a little bit of time each day. I realized that wasn’t realistic. When a writing deadline looms, that takes precedent; when a family member needs attention, that event takes the lead. Instead of balance, I now strive for harmony. I think of life like a piece of jazz music, where each part is one of the instrumental lines and the goal is harmony. Sometimes one instrument takes the lead, the solo, at others another. Underneath those solos is a strong foundation. At times one element moves to the front of the to-do list. During a book release or launch marketing takes up all my time. With a submission deadline the writing for that project takes precedence. When a recent family illness put life into perspective those needs took the time and energy spotlight.
How do we find this balance? During my live events, I give participants a small wood cube. When you look at a cube, there’s no way to see every side at one time. We need to turn the cube over again and again to see all the sides. Our careers are the same. We can’t see all of the aspects of them at the same time. While I look at the big picture now and again, by goal setting and planning, each day I focus on a small goal step and do one thing toward a positive outcome every day. I believe in a slow play approach to marketing and career building. I’m going to be a writer for a long time so I don’t have to do everything all at once. There’s time to build my career a little at a time, by doing one thing a day.
How do I decide what one thing happens each day? Each day, I turn the cube on my desk to remind me to do one new thing. I prioritize my work day to-do list and break up my day into little pieces. I write, work on marketing, do research, attend school, and teach for a period of time every day. For example, in writing I try to get 1000 good words on paper every day. In marketing, sometimes I do a little thing (like changing my email signature or adding material to my website) and sometimes it’s big (like developing a book release media campaign). I’ve also learned to turn off my computer at a reasonable hour each day and spend time with my family, pets, and social pursuits.
Have you turned your cube today?