Saturday, September 20, 2014

Author Care: Three Things Every Writer Should Be Doing

By Kimberly Rose Johnson


Busyness is a common problem, especially among writers. We are often being pulled in several different directions from marketing, to writing on deadline or simply doing that everyday thing called life. The demands on our time can become overwhelming.

I know firsthand exactly how stressful this life we’ve chosen can be. I sold my first book in 2012 to Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line, and it changed my life. I went from writing for fun, to writing because I had a deadline. To date I’ve contracted five books with Heartsong Presents. My seasoned critique partners warned me how difficult juggling all the demands on my time would be. Once my first book released, I understood the warning.

How are we supposed to do everything?

We can’t.

Problems are bound to pop up when we are over-worked and stressed out. We must take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

There is no cure-all to our overly busy lives, but there are some things that we can do to ease the strain.

Take time out.

What that looks like will be different for each of us. For me it means waking up early so I can have some quiet time reading my Bible and thinking about how I can apply what I read to my life. It also means starting my day with a healthy meal. I also incorporate exercise into my day. Most of the time my exercise time is a walk with my husband and dog.

I realize we are often under tight deadlines, and it’s difficult to even consider the idea of working out, vegging out, or spending quality time with the Lord. But, I’m proof that these things matter. I’m not suggesting a huge chunk of time. Take a walk around the block, spend a small amount of time to savor something you enjoy. That may be ten minutes of reading, or a bubble bath or reading in a bubble bath. Be creative. We’re writers, that’s what we do. J

About a year ago, I realized on the days I skipped my morning devotions my writing time did not go well. It took me twice as long to accomplish the same word count as when I took ten to twenty minutes with the Lord. I’ve been known to cut that time to five minutes when very pressed for time, but for those five minutes I was focused on Him.

You are not God

Your time is finite and valuable. You cannot be all things to all people. You are one person. Translation, choose to invest your time only in what you are passionate about. I know we have things that are “required” of us as writers, but if it’s not your thing, delegate the task or skip it if it’s optional.

Learn to say no.

Do not over commit. It is tempting to take every speaking engagement, every blog opportunity, and every contract, but it’s not always the wise and best choice. Remember, we are not super humans. We each have the same number of hours to work with.

In conclusion, before committing to something ask yourself, “Is this something I need to do or want to do, or would it be best to pass?” Be honest with yourself and ask for help if you need it. 

Kimberly Rose Johnson is the author of:

A HOLIDAY PROPOSAL

Holly Miller Is Steering Clear of Mistletoe 

Just out of nursing school, Holly can't risk any distractions. She knows a slipup could cost a life. Like the mistake she made years ago that still plagues her conscience. When she runs into old high school friend Matthew Cook, she hesitates to let romance into her life. Even if the handsome baker is as delectable as his fabulous pastries. 

She didn't notice him back in high school, but things have sure changed. Now that Matthew has Holly's attention, maybe the holiday season is the perfect time for him to show her that she deserves to have it all—work, family, friends and a love that lasts a lifetime.

ABOUT KIMBERLY ROSE JOHNSON

Kimberly Rose Johnson holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two teenage sons, and their yellow lab. She writes sweet Christian romance for Heartsong Presents and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys taking long walks with her husband and dog, reading, dark chocolate and time with friends.

You may contact Kimberly via her website at http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

6 comments:

Ane Mulligan said...

Oh, did I need this today. Thank you, Kimberly. Why is it our time with God seems to be the first thing to get "moved" to later (which rarely ever comes) when we get so busy? Busy is the enemy's favorite weapon.

I appreciate your reminder. I also appreciate your honesty that you sometimes cut it short, but at least you get it in. Another friend of mine told me she does 2 or 3 short reading times during the day instead of one long one. It works for her, and I'm going to try that. :)

Thanks again for sharing this. I think a lot of us need it!

Kimbelry Rose said...

Hi Ane,
I'm glad this was timely for you. I love your friend's way of spreading time with the Lord through the day.

Miralee Ferrell said...

Loved this, Kimberly! And I needed to hear it now, too. I've been struggling to get everything done lately, and as a result, I'm neglecting important things in my life. I needed this reminder that putting priorities first will help other things fall into place.

Kimbelry Rose said...

I'm glad you found it helpful, Miralee. :)

Jessica Everingham said...

Great reminder! It's hard to fit everything in, especially with a day job.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you, Kimberly. I, too, have noticed neither my writing nor anything else goes as well if I miss my quiet time with the Lord. It should be our first priority, but sometimes we get interrupted as soon as we start.

He gave me this line one morning a couple of years ago during quiet time. "Without The Author, the quill runs dry." I knew exactly what He was saying.