Winter is the quiet time, a time for reflection and planning. When the days begin to warm, I know that activity will increase and time will seem to flow faster and faster, hurtling toward the end of the year. This is my chance to get in a little extra rest, extra hugs with my loved ones, and maybe sneak in a little extra writing time. The silence of snowfalls, the long stretch of shadows, and the peacefulness of the season remind me to take a few moments every day to just be.

Writing Time

Since I received The Call, my writing time has changed. It took me a few months to figure out what happened, but I wasn’t making my word count goals and I felt my attention had been split in ways I didn’t yet understand. Now that I’m farther along in the process, I’ve had some very useful epiphanies. I share them here in the hopes that they will help any other emerging writers who stumble across this blog!

My goal is to be a successful professional writer. This means I need to connect my books with readers, keep publishing, and most importantly keep creating new pieces! My writing time is now divided among these three categories.

Marketing Research—Some people don’t like many of the words associated with marketing. Platform, brand, networking, etc. What it all boils down to is this: what can I do to connect readers with my works? Social media has become a big part of this. My platforms of choice are WordPress, Twitter (@casschandler) and Goodreads (Cassandra ChandlerI’m waiting to set this up as a Goodreads Author account until my first book is listed).

Publishing Work—If my editor or publisher gives me a deadline, I need to be ready to meet it. This means I need to keep myself in good health and not over-commit in my personal life. My friends and family have been alerted that I’m still finding a balance here and they might not see me as much for a while. I’m very lucky to have such supportive and understanding people in my life.

Writing—I also need to keep churning out new pieces! My writing time was originally blocked into outlining/planning, writing, and editing. These sub-divisions stand. Only now, if I have three hours to write, I need to give some—or even all—of that time to the other two tasks above.

It’s definitely a balancing act, and one that I’m still figuring out. Identifying the specific needs dividing my time will hopefully make me more efficient, more productive, and more successful.

Wishing you all great success in your writing as well!

Living Fully

My life is incredibly full right now. This might be the way it will always be—my new normal. If so, I will consider myself extremely fortunate.

It isn’t easy to keep up with everything. My house, family, job, health, friends, and of course my writing, all require a great deal of time, attention, and energy. Each day is bursting at the seams with activity. I have to stay on top of it all.

I’m seen as a time management maven and have finally made myself sit down and apply those skills to my own life instead of using them to help others. The first step was to find a planner. Something small and simple that I can carry around with me and won’t pull in too much of my attention (I can spend a ridiculous amount of time playing with planners). Once I found the planner and started entering dates and deadlines, everything started to fall into place. I realized that my writing time is now split at least three ways (no wonder my self-set deadlines have been exhausting me!).

Having everything in a single place where I can easily see it has been so helpful in planning out my writing path and determining where best to spend my time and energy. Cooking nourishing meals at home has skyrocketed in priority. Other things have plummeted.

My husband recently told me that I was living my life in hard mode. Sacrifices must be made, but the result is absolutely worth it.

What to Do During Edits

I’ve written several blog posts about whether to write new material or not during edits. Now that official edits for Wandering Soul have begun, I’ve realized two things:

  1. This is my first experience with traditional publishing, therefore I really have no way of predicting what is going to happen or how publishing a book will impact my other writing processes.
  2. Even with the next book, a novella that will probably enter the editing process in the next couple of months or so, I won’t know for certain what other writing I’ll be able to do, because every book and every publishing experience is going to be different.

There are periods of dormancy during the publishing process that I’m not okay letting lie fallow. I don’t think I will ever be able to say, “I’m always going to use that time to write new pieces” or “I’m only going to edit other things in those gaps.”

I’ll use that time to the best purpose for my writing, whether it’s creating new works, polishing existing pieces, or writing blog posts! The most important thing is to keep up my momentum, even if I’m changing direction repeatedly along the path.