Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I celebrate the last year of my 30s. I get to spend the afternoon cheering my 6th-grade daughter on at her second cross country meet of the year, where she was the honor of representing her school as one of the Top 10 female runners. That's a pretty great gift, in my book!

Next year I plan on celebrating the next big milestone somewhere tropical, with fruity drinks and a few of my closest friends. But for this year, I decided to focus on some of the highlights of my past year. Here are just a few I came up with:

  • I took the first ten pages of my YA novel, Between, to the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Carolinas Conference, where I received positive feedback and encouragement from a fellow YA author and a respected literary agent.
  • I hunkered down in November and cranked out the rough draft of a second YA, tentatively titled Under My Skin.
  • As a blog tour manager, I assisted ten authors with virtual blog tours through WOW! Women on Writing, resulting in new friends and professional relationships.
  • I contributed 25 blog posts to WOW! Women on Writing, along with several interviews with writers.
  • I wrote nine articles/profiles for Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine.
  • I wrote numerous pieces of content for Little Ones Magazine, along with editing duties.
  • I completed the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Summer Reading Challenge, putting in more than 30 hours of reading this summer.
  • I took some fun trips with my family, to places like Boone, N.C., Carolina Beach, N.C., and Hilton Head Island, S.C., resulting in memories like these:

And a fun night at an Ingrid Michaelson concert!
 So . . . I've been a little busy. It's been great, and I look forward to the new opportunities this next year will bring.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Guest Post: Time Management for Writers

Today I'm pleased to host Jennifer Roland, author of 10 Takes: Pacific Northwest Writers. When one of the blog tour managers for WOW! Women on Writing first approached me about hosting Jennifer, all I had to do was see the topic "Time Management for Writers" before I quickly joined the tour. I know this is something we all struggle with, especially if we write creatively around day jobs, as the author does. Please join me in welcoming Jennifer.

Time Management for Writers 

For the past eight years (wow!), I’ve been writing around a day job.

Most of my off-hours writing is freelance work, as I’ve been building up a freelance business, too. That means I really need to manage my time to have anything left for my own projects.

Here’s how I make that happen.

I Schedule Everything Fanatically — and I Do the Same Things at the Same Time Most Days.

Mornings before work and lunch hours are reserved for interviews and email.

Evenings are for family time.

Nights are for writing.

On the weekends, morning is for writing and email communication. Afternoons and evenings are family time.

That may shift around for special occasions, but that is my routine, and I stick to it as much as possible. My body and brain know what to expect during each phase of the day, and my family knows when they need to step in and help me get things done — and when to leave me alone.

I Take Advantage of My Rhythms.

That schedule I posted above? I’ve developed it over the years based on what my brain is good at during each period of the day. I’m really proficient at writing in the morning, so I focus on that on the weekends. This past year, I shifted my day job schedule so that my work day starts an hour earlier, but before that I had an hour before work to devote to writing.

I know that I’m not great at writing in the afternoons, so that is when I spend time with my kiddo and husband.

And I get a weird burst of energy around 8 p.m. that isn’t always due to a sugar-free Rock Star, so I capitalize on that by working at night, too.

Take a look at when writing is easy and when it’s hard. Keep a diary if you need to to track trends over a week or two. Try to write more during the time of day that it’s easy so that you can be more efficient and have more fun.

I Ditch Useless Tasks.

My house is not clean. It’s not filthy, but it’s definitely not spotless either.

Back when I was writing my first book, I found a blog called Write First, Clean Later. I made that my mantra. Until then, I’d been making sure I did my chores before I would allow myself to write. As a result, I was not as focused or energetic when the dishes were finally done and I was allowed to do the fun stuff. So, I made sure to interview the writer of that blog (mystery novelist L.J. Sellers) for Pacific Northwest Writers! And I told her how influential that blog was simply because of its title.

Think about the tasks you do that drain your energy. Do they need to get done? And, more important, do you need to be the one who does them? I do the things I love, my husband does the things he can, and we both agree to live without the rest.

About the Author:
Jennifer Roland is a freelance and marketing writer with more than 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine, and marketing environments. Jennifer also works as a virtual assistant to writers, helping them build their online presence and connect with readers so they can focus on what they love — writing. She loves fiction and writes that under the name Jennifer C. Rodland. She hopes to put all of the lessons she learned writing this book into getting more of that published.

Jennifer can be found online at:

About 10 Takes:
From novelists to poets to playwrights, Jennifer Roland interviews a variety of authors who have one thing in common — they have all chosen to make the Pacific Northwest their home. Covering a diversity of disciplines — from comics, fantasy, and detective novels to long-form poetry and illustrated children's series — 10 distinguished authors provide unique perspectives about their craft, provide helpful writing advice and tips for success, and share their passion for living and writing in the Pacific Northwest.

How you make time for writing? Tell us in the comments below. I will choose one commenter to receive a complimentary e-book of 10 Takes on Monday, Aug. 24. Good luck!