“I’ve learned two things. First, authors who write books as an avocation just to have fun or tell people they’re published rarely succeed. Secondly, authors who write books as a vocation and take their work seriously usually achieve their goals.”
~Rob Eager, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire
I had a rather obvious, albeit profound epiphany recently.
I am not a stay-at-home mother.
I am a work-at-home mother.
Now, in defense of stay-at-home mother’s everywhere, I am not at all trying to imply that stay-at-home mothers are not working their tails off. Raising children and taking care of a home is incredibly hard work.
What I am saying is that I have a job outside of raising my child and taking care of my house.
I’m a writer.
Right about now, some of you might be thinking, “Um….yeah. You’re just realizing this?”
Not so much realizing as having an attitude shift.
Let me explain.
Two years ago, I was a writer still riding the high of signing my first contract. I was a wife, a mother of a two and a half year old boy, and a full-time 5th grade teacher. The idea of staying home full time to be with my son and write? Heav. En.
So when that idea became a reality, I had all these grand dreams. Of play dates and Bible studies and an immaculate house and my husband NEVER having to do another load of laundry again and writing two books a year. I mean, seriously. I was writing almost two books a year when I was teaching full time. So there was no reason I shouldn’t be able to now that I didn’t have a day job.
First, staying at home with a child or multiple children while running a household is a full time job in and of itself.
Second, something happens when you make that transition from uncontracted author to contracted author.
There are SO many things that creep their way onto your plate that were not there before.
Not just marketing and publicity stuff (although that in and of itself could be a full time job if you let it, for real), but edits and proposals and deadlines and….oh yeah…writing.
It’s taken me a year and a half to finally realize that the time I need to write and reach my goals and build a career will not just naturally work itself out.
I need to treat this like a bona fide job with bona fide hours and I need to protect those hours.
This is how the epiphany came about:
Over the summer, I kept thinking, “Man, once I get these content edits done, I will finally have a break.”
But then immediately following content edits I got line edits and I started thinking, “Once I get line edits done, I will finally have a break.”
But then line edits finished and I had some additional bigger edits and then I needed to write seven devotionals for a promotional thing and then I needed to get two proposals finished and then I had copy edits for Willows in my inbox and that’s when I realized….
That break isn’t coming.
This is a job.
Granted, an amazingly awesome job. But a job.
And for the sake of my sanity and my husband’s sanity and my son’s well being, I need to treat it as such.
So Ryan and I sat down and we wrote up my work schedule. Those working hours are blocks of protected time. I won’t schedule play dates or time with girlfriends during these block. I won’t answer my cell phone (as if I do anyway). I won’t dink around on Pinterest or Facebook (unless it’s for marketing). Ryan will take care of Brogan.
I will either be in my office or at the library, doing writing-related things.
The schedule is posted on our refrigerator.
Now, if a friend calls and wants to get together during one of these times, I simply say, “I’m working then. But how about….(insert a non-working time here).”
Let me tell you, I’m wondering why in the world I didn’t do this a year and a half ago.
Let’s Talk: Are you a fan of scheduling things into your day, or do you prefer to wing it?