I was in a restaurant the other day and happened to glance over at two women sitting across from each other at a nearby table. One of the women clutched a cell phone in her hands, intently texting under the table while her companion attempted to chat with her. Aside from acknowledging that this was totally rude behavior, I wondered why the woman texting on her phone would think it was more important to send a text than to visit face to face with her friend, who’d obviously gone to the trouble of carving out time from her personal schedule to meet and share a meal with this inconsiderate companion.
After spending several hours in the car to visit family this past holiday weekend, I pondered the question ... how do we spend our time, and why do we make certain choices regarding ways we occupy our time. Some people spend hours partying with strangers. Others are glued to their TV or computer or other electronic gadgets. Some throw themselves into sports and physical activities. Many immerse themselves in family pursuits or religious participation. Still others spend all their free time working – and this includes most serious authors.
Between writing and marketing, the typical author can spend over twelve hours a day trying to finish writing projects or sell/promote them. Time management is especially difficult for writers struggling to finish writing projects while other obligations scream for their attention – children, spouses, day-job bosses, social obligations, pets, chores, and the like. It never ceases to amaze me how single parents or soccer moms with five kids manage to whip out a readable novel while juggling everything that life throws at them. I know sometimes housework and laundry suffer. And maybe even family time suffers for that elusive dream of authorial success. But in the end, every writer has to answer this question for him/herself: IS IT WORTH IT?
Sometimes the need to succeed outweighs everything – responsibility to one’s employer and loved ones – for the fleeting chance of glory, to say you’re a published author. But when the thrill of that first book sale fades, and the day is done, glory or no, it’s always good to have someone with whom you can share your ups and downs. Whether it’s a parent, friend, spouse, or even a pet, make sure you don’t neglect those around you in your drive to become a rich and famous author.
For every Facebook connection you make with a fan, make sure you spend equal time with a loved one. Fifteen minutes on Twitter should equal fifteen minutes – at least – playing catch with your son. Don’t ever be too busy to tell your spouse ‘I love you.’ You may be a writer, but don’t ignore your human connections – they’re what count, and well maintained, they'll see you through the days ... whether good, bad, or just a bridge to the next. Celebrate your life as a writer, but don’t forget to LIVE it.
Pat Morrison, Penumbra Publishinghttp://penumbrapublishing.com