Balancing creative work with the business stuff…and a very rowdy toddler
More of your questions answered!
Balancing creative work with the business stuf…and a very rowdy toddler
1. Balancing creative work with the business stuff…and a very rowdy toddler
Taylor asked in our AMA:
I would love to know your writing schedule and how much balance you find between writing, marketing, and reading because those are all necessary things for authors these days.
Lisa asked a similar question, and then Abby asked specifically about balancing all of that with a toddler! So I’ll do my best to answer everyone here!
The reality is I’m not all that good at balance. I tend to go ALL IN on drafting, or I go ALL IN on promo. As much as I want to be that person who can do a few hours of each type of work every day…
I’m not. When I’m drafting a book, it is all-consuming. And it has to be that way. I’ve talked about this before, but Holly Black once used the analogy of swimming in cool water. She said:
If you stay in the water, you'll acclimate and forget you ever felt cold. But if you keep jumping in and out, you'll never get comfortable. You'll never really adjust.
Not everyone is like this of course, but it is 100% true for me. If I keep hopping in and out of the story, I can’t get my footing. It takes me much longer to write the book than if I can get wholly immersed.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always allow for immersion! This is a huge reason why I struggled so much during Witchshadow (IVF, miscarriage, difficult pregnancy, and then a newborn!) and again during the second Luminaries (no childcare + a daughter who no longer napped 🥴).
As such, I tend to move through cycles.
I’ll draft intensely for a few weeks or even months, then I spend a solid month catching up on the business side—the self-promo, the emails, the newsletters, and the social media.
Usually those “business” cycles slot into the time while I’m waiting on my editor’s notes for revisions. Or while I’m doing said revisions.
Because when I’m revising, I can toggle more easily between Business Sooz and Writer Sooz. Probably because I find revisions much easier than drafting, and I’m able to tackle them piecemeal. I don’t need immersion to the same degree! I can jump in and out of the water, and it doesn’t bother me!
AS YOU CAN PROBABLY GUESS (lol), I am revising right now and not drafting! As such, I have been way more active over here on the Substack than I probably will in a few months once I’m back in the Witchlands drafting zone… 😉
Side note: Many of you know how much I struggled to find childcare. This past summer was the first time I ever had any sort of help since Cricket’s birth, and WOW. Suddenly all the agony I’d had drafting Luminaries 2 went away! I was able to actually immerse and get the book done.
So to my fellow parents out there: be kind to yourselves. I still only have 4 hours a day of help and wish I could have more, to be honest. Being a parent is draining and demanding in a way I was absolutely not prepared for (who really is?), and it had so much impact on my ability to create.
In the years to come, I know I will look back on those days I spent with Cricket as 100% worthwhile, even if they meant my career was basically on hold throughout.
That said, I sure ain’t sad to have proper work hours again. 🤪
TL;DR: I basically don’t balance business and writing! At least not in the way that many people imagine the term “balance.” I move in longer cycles of drafting for a few weeks — promo + revision for a few weeks — drafting for a few weeks — promo + drafting + travel for a few weeks…
And that seems to work well for me!
P.S. I have filmed a video for you with a full daily schedule included. I’ll cut it together soon, so you can all see how very, very dull I actually am.
2. Coming Soon: The Lady of Charlotte
I am super excited to share my FIRST foray into short fiction for all of you paid Substack subscribers: The Lady of Charlotte.
It’s a contemporary romantic novelette I wrote last year for the Story a Month Challenge, and while it’s definitely not a finished, polished draft…
It will be the first of a Work In Progress Series I’m hoping to do moving forward!
So over the course of 10 days beginning October 1st, paid subscribers will get a new scene from the story directly in your inbox.
You will get to follow the misadventures of Charlotte Caruthers, an experimental archaeologist who determinedly views the world as always glass half full...even as her ex-fiancé shows up at her new job site on the Ozark Medieval Castle. She can deal with him, right? Yes! She can deal with him! She will simply convince the handsome blacksmith, Olivier, to be her fake fiancé until the the first fiancé leaves. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy!
Needless to say, emotions run high and shenanigans accordingly ensue! So if you want to read The Lady of Charlotte, make sure you’re subscribed before October 1st!
I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS FUN LITTLE THING I WROTE!!! And for all of you to be the very FIRST readers! Heck, you might be the ONLY readers since I have no plans right now to do anything with it other than share it with you. 😘
I’ll be back soon to answer more questions, and the main monthly newsletter goes out on Friday!
Don’t forget you can toggle your settings (if you want to receive fewer emails) by clicking “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the page. 🥰
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for your realistic answer about balancing life! It's something I think about a lot and wonder... how people with demanding jobs (and kids) are able to do so. The notion of it honestly scares me especially as I get closer to having kids, so I appreciate your honest insight!
Also, omg excited about The Lady of Charlotte. Experimental archeologist? FAKE FIANCÉ?? Yes please!!
This is so helpful! “Balancing” life + writing can be such a struggle and become more of an expectation rather than a useful tool. It’s good to hear that maybe the one way of balancing doesn’t need to work for everyone
I’m so excited for The Lady of Charlotte Omg cannot wait