Living the Indie Life isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
For some reason, I thought it would be a walk in the park (so to speak). I could take my time, sit on the park benches and people watch, maybe take my camera and pretend I knew what I was doing when I attempted to take photos of the gorgeous flowers and flittering butterflies.
I knew when I quit my full time job to work part time from home that I would have a schedule to follow – thanks to my work. I would have set hours that I could write and I was good with that. In fact, I thrived. And then I started to make enough money to write full time and that’s when life as I knew it – the ease, the schedule, the timeline…all went out the window.
Now instead of having a forced schedule, I find myself having to draw the line in the sand and figure out what comes first.
Does life or does writing? Sure…it’s easy to reply yes to the text and emails asking you out for lunch, for coffee, for shopping. Sure, it’s effortless to open up Facebook and Twitter and all the other social medias out there and have a time suck. And then, before you know it – your kids are home from school and dinner needs to magically appear on the table (wouldn’t that be nice!)
When I’m too busy, I get stressed. But too busy doesn’t mean having too much to do. It means, letting busyness eat up my time so I’m not productive. What comes first in the life of the indie? It all depends on what your priorities are. Is writing your income? Then you need to look at it as a job (as a friend so wisely told me). If it’s not, if it’s a hobby, then filling up your calendar with ‘life’ stuff is perfectly fine.
How to prioritize?
Working in the corporate world, prioritization was a must in my life. I learned how to make a calendar work for me – not the other way around. I forgot about that recently. How important it is. I used to have a leather bound calendar on my desk – where I would use it religiously for notes, phone calls, lists etc. But now I like to use my computer more and more (or my phone). I’ve color coded my life – bills (green), family (blue), kids(purple), personal(yellow), writing(pink) and ARR (red – Author’s Red Room). It shocks me as my days fill up with all the other colors but the pink one – my writing. A quick way for me to realize my priorities are out of whack is when my days are filled with all the other colors of the rainbow.
Don’t get me wrong. Life does get in the way and that’s okay. But my two main issues are the yellow and pink. If every day is filled with yellow…then I know I’m not writing. And if I’m not writing, then I’m not meeting deadlines and I won’t have my books ready in time. Which is a huge issue.
There is another program that I use now to help me when I have so many ‘little’ things to do. Like scheduled blog posts, conferences I need to speak at, flights I need to book, promotions I want to work on. I have a little program called 2Do – I love having a Mac and there being so many apps I can use. I have sections for writing/website/assistant/promotions/ARR/travel etc…and each has it’s own calendar set up with deadlines etc. This helps to keep me on track with the ‘little’ things, that I tend to overlook when I’m lost in my story.
Thankfully, I have friends in my life who know me pretty well and usually call me out when things other than writing are getting first priority. They are my accountability partners. Every writers needs people like this in their life. Whether it’s a small group of friends, your writing group, online partners … it doesn’t matter. Just someone to help keep you on track.
What comes first for you? Is it life? Is it work? Is it writing? There’s no right or wrong answer, trust me. It all depends on what your goals are. And those goals are always going to be personal. Don’t compare yourself to others …
Because being Indie doesn’t have to mean going it alone.
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