Thursday, January 22, 2009

Here's the question

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a writer's group meeting in a nearby town. We all can use more interaction with fellow writers, right? I was excited about the possibility, but knew I had to jump some hurdles to make it to the meeting on time. Since I'm no Olympic class hurdler, this presented some problems.

Right off the top, I had to go to the doctor with my husband about a heart-related issue. His appointment was late in the day (the last one the doc had). After that, we had to fill a prescription, head home, and make some dinner. It was almost 6:30 by the time all that was done. Too late to make the meeting. Sigh.

Then it turned out my youngest daughter (17) wanted to go shopping with some of the money she'd earned, and wanted me to go with her. That shot all thoughts of making the writer's meeting, albeit late.

So, here's the question: How do we, as writers, make sure we get our writing done, our promotion and marketing done, spend time doing the essentials around the house, and juggle our family relationships while still attending meetings and conferences?

I look forward to hearing your replies.

BTW, "Guardian" is coming out soon. Find out what real-to-life treasure the story talks about on tomorrows blog...


L. Diane Wolfe said...

In our household, we call it 'the chaos became the balance.'

I think one has to schedule it in, just like any other appointment. I live & die by my calendar and 'to-do' list. I write down everything that needs to be accomplished, even the household chores and other things, and I just make sure by the time I go to bed, everything has been crossed off the list. Once in a while something gets bumped to the next day, but not often.

Everyone just needs to find what works for them.

L. Diane Wolfe

Margaret Fieland said...

What works for me:

I have a planner. All my appointments go into the planner. If I plan to go to an evening meeting (not easy, as I'm pretty tired by the end of the day), it has to go into the planner.

Then I have to let my family know I'm planning to go to the meeting. Then I remind everyone (hopefully) that morning of my intentions.

Still, some things take priority-- going to the doctor is one of them. Some activities with kids, when they were home, did, too.

Still, nothing happened -- or happens -- until I make whatever it is a priority *with myself* and stop looking for excuses to avoid going.

Unknown said...

I agree with the planner idea as I use one myself but not well enough yet. One has to set priorities. I find it easier to attend the online conventions and writing related conferences. I've been a presenter and I will be again at the upcoming Catholic Writers Convention.

I am able to interact with my fellow writers at these conventions as well as many other social organizations online such as facebook and twitter.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Great question - wish I had the answer. I've been trying to come up with a solution to this problem since my book was released in August. I can't see a way to make time for everything unless I give up sleeping and I'm not even sure that would work!

Jane Kennedy Sutton
Author of The Ride

Chester Campbell said...

I have a monthly calendar posted on my desk. It includes things like writers group meetings and other commitments. That doesn't help me get things done on a daily basis, however. My life is very unstructured. I need to put into place a certain block of time to write, though I'm sure reality will interfere much too often.

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

I find it easier to use a calendar. Upcoming appointments and events are there and my husband tries to double check before setting me up to do something else.

Anonymous said...

It's a balance, and sometimes certain things have to go. I'm guilty of passing on peer networking meetings in favor of work or personal stuff all the time. Sometimes you just have to.

If you can make it to the big conferences every once in a while, then you're probably pretty good.

elysabeth said...


Your daughters are old enough that they should be doing things around the house to help you out. They shouldn't be dependent on you to make sure the laundry is done or that dinner is fixed. They are capable of doing some of these things themselves.

You have to remember that you have chosen a life of a writer and attending critique group meetings or other related groups that will benefit your writing are as much a priority as doctor's appointments, et cetera.

My kids are responsible for dishes and trash and their own laundry (I refuse to go searching three floors in the house for their dirty clothing). If they don't do their laundry on the weekends, then they have no one to blame but themselves. Every once in a while my daughter will offer to cook or fix dinner but most of the time I do quick fix dinners due to work and odd schedules around here. I have a full time job, albeit I do have the luxury of working at home. While I'm working, I can take breaks and throw a load of my clothing in. My job is also flexible enough that I can work at night or around doctor's appointments.

I know when my writing meetings are and they are usually without change (last night's group was a change from the ordinary) and my family knows when those meetings are and they are told several days before and the day of so the kids know what they are supposed to do when they get home if I'm not here.

Your writing is important and if you don't make the time for it, then you are only hurting yourself. Calendars, schedules, planners, to-do lists - all good ideas but if you don't make the writing life a priority, then you will keep passing up on some great opportunities that hopefully will help you in the long run.

The Sisters in Crime group isn't the biggest priority for me but I do enjoy the meetings. Our group has guest speakers and if I were writing mysteries for other than children, I'd definitely be able to cash in on some of the informatino presented at the meetings.

The writer's group meetings are more of a priority but I have conflicts with the times they meet. I have to plan several days ahead and try to stay on task with work so as not to get too far behind in order to get to one of the meetings. There are other meetings in your area that are probably more beneficial to you than SinC or even the SCWW critique group. You have to find the ones that work best for you and make sure you keep them on your schedule just like your doctor's appointments.

See you at the book signing Saturday - E :)

Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

Katie, where there's a will, there's a way. I'm up to my eyeballs with submissions, assessments, writing, editing, but you know what? It gets done because the passion is there.

All we need to do is prioritize our time, realize that one less laundry heap won't make a difference because there is another day, and not answer those phone calls or emails until our writing time is up and over with.

Mark Phillips said...

Writers write. Interupt it to go to the heart doctor of course, but put it ahead of the other more quotidian elements of daily life. Remember that you are the conduit for divine inspiration. Calliope won't provide inspiration if you neglect her. Writing is a sacred task and must take priority. Like most writers I have a day job. I teach high school math. But while my students were taking their tests tody, I managed to write most of what I think is a pretty good draft for a short story in the Eva Baum detective series. I know that means that I will be up tonight grading tests, but that's when I'm tired anyway. I did my creative work when I was up for it creatively. If absolutely necessary I will get up at 3 a.m. and write before I have to go to school. I'm a morning person, so that guarantees that my most creative time is spent writing and not doing chores. I too go to writer's meetings, book signings, etc. but my rule is that if it comes down to writing versus doing the auxiliary activities to writing, writing wins.

Unknown said...

Writers are human beings as well. It's just like any other occupation. There are moments that we writers become stressful, busy, and lack the time to do other things. I understand your sentiment on not being able to attend the event. I am an essay writer and what I usually do is to prioritize the more important things and sacrifice the other things that are not really that important. In this way, I know that I can do or finish everything.

Trevor said...

Writing is a sacred task and must take priority. Like most writers I have a day job. I teach high school math. But while my students were taking their tests tody for thesis writing.

Anonymous said...

If you’ve accepted that the rules of the game are that you are not willing to write unless everyone likes what you write, then you’ve just announced that you’re an amateur, not a professional, and that you’re probably doomed. Whereas the professional writer says, ‘It is almost certain that most of what I write will not resonate with most people who read it, but over time, I will gain an audience who trusts me to, at the very least, be interesting.’ source

Unknown said...

To talk the fact this is a pleasant post concerning this topic. I got an unadulterated solution from here. Also I can refer to you all here to get educational helps. Yet will wait for more posts from the blogger. Thanks a lot…….