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But when will I have time to write?

  • Content and images for my social media posts researched – check

  • Engaged with my social media followers – check

  • My next social media posts scheduled – check

  • Answered my writing-related emails – check

  • Watched the latest YouTube video on how to market my book and what tools I should use – check

  • Fiddled with my website (again) to make it slightly better

  • Wrote my blog (mental note – schedule some time to publish to my website and share on social media) - check 

You’ve got to be kidding me. Is that the time? Now I need to go and....[Delete as applicable] 

  • Do my day job

  • Cook the kids’ tea

  • Walk the dog

  • Spend time with my partner

  • Do the housework

  • Sleep! 

Where did my time go? And when am I actually going to get around to doing some actual writing?? 

Sound familiar?  

I had many days like this and still do if I’m not careful. You may organise your life well already, others have to work at it – I know I do! But this was the dilemma I was, and still am trying to manage with developing what I hope will be a successful, or at least more successful writing career. 

I’ve written two novels – one published and another coming out later this year – and that’s something I’m incredibly proud of, and something I know lots of people aspire to doing but never do. It’s easy to forget that sometimes. Even if no-one else likes or even reads my work, I can say I’ve written not one, but two books. 

But that’s not just what I aspire to. I’ve been looking for the holy grail of trying to balance a full-time job with being present with my family (which includes two demanding teenagers!) and develop my writing career. But let’s not kid ourselves – IT IS HARD!  

I’m doing the research, reading the books, watching the YouTube videos of other authors finding their way and listening to the interviews of the mistakes to avoid [SPOILER – I can’t promise I won’t make some of these, but at least I’m aware of it!].

I’m embracing the maxim that authors, especially indie authors like myself, have to be their own marketing teams and as much time needs to go on promoting your work as actually doing the writing (the best bit!)  

I’m lucky in my professional life I have 25 years of communications and marketing experience. While none of this guarantees I’ll ever be a bestselling author, at least I know what’s involved, and can do myself many of the things that are needed. 

But I still come up against the perennial problem – having enough time to write! 

To get on top of this problem, I’m putting the following techniques I use in my day job into action:  

  • Treating my marketing like a project – yes, I know that sounds REALLY BORING, but one of the key points of project management is breaking things down into manageable chunks

  • Having a clear plan for my social media posts to help grow and engage with other writers and fiction fans – with this in place I am now scheduling a week or two in advance, and this gives me greater flexibility to better respond to ad hoc comments and engagement and not worrying about when I’m going to post next

  • Using web-based tools to store my “to do list”, notes, ideas and plans so I don’t forget – as well as the bonus of it being automatically backed-up to the cloud – the thought of losing my work brings me out in a sweat!

  • Doing my research and learning from the vast amount of information available online, and particularly on YouTube while I’m doing something such as cooking – and who said men can’t multitask! 

And what has all of this done? It’s allowing me to block out [and yes, you need to commit to blocking out specific times] to do my writing.  

Ah, deep breath and relax! Well, until I remember I need to publish this to my website and then schedule it on social media! [rolling eye emoji!] 

How are you managing the challenge of writing and marketing your work? What’s worked for you and what’s a real no-no? Let me know in the comments below. 

Miles Etherton is the author of cyber-thrillers The Codex file, and soon to be published Hedon’s Gate 

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