Life, Post Call

IMG_1102By Olivia Miles

It was two years ago this month that I received “The Call” from Special Edition for my Christmas book, ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas, and it’s hard to believe how much that one phone call could alter my path. I’ve just kicked off a two-part blog with my editor, Susan Litman, about everything that happens after you sell a book, and how much a book can change from its original form.

If there is one thing I’ve learned through this amazing experience, it’s that writing in the hopes of being published is far different than writing as a published author. I’ve sold five books since The Call, and in addition to writing the books, there are revisions, line edits, etc, for each one. Then there is the plotting, brainstorming, etc, of more. My daily routine, therefore, is usually fairly hectic.

When I got The Call I was freelance business writing from home and taking care of my then two-year-old daughter. My writing time revolved around her naps; now, it is stuffed into every nook and cranny I can find in a day.  Before The Call, my schedule was more or less my own. Now, not as much.

It ebbs and flows depending on where various projects are in the process, but for the most part I spend Monday through Thursday shuffling my now four-year-old to morning ballet and figure skating classes, where I usually sit in the car for forty minutes and do some writing (during dance) or cheer her on through the glass at the rink. We quickly come home, eat lunch, and then she goes to preschool for 3 hours. I don’t know what the other moms think of me, but other than a quick smile, this year especially, I have no choice but to give a wave and more or less flee the building. Ten or fifteen minutes later, I’m at the computer, and I don’t move for about 2.5 hours when I walk my two pups and then leave to get my daughter. This is the most precious time of my day. I do not ever use that school time for anything other than writing.

However…it’s not enough. Friday, Saturday, and Sundays are consumed with full-time mommy mode, and so other than following up with emails, the bulk of my work on these three days is done in the evenings. Of course sometimes deadlines creep up, and I can freely admit I have pulled more than one all-nighter, because it was simply the only time I had to get the work done. I sometimes put in an evening shift on other days as well, but at the same time, a girl really does need to make a bit of time to read or watch some all-time favorite shows like “General Hospital” and “The Americans,” or yes, I admit, “The Real Housewives.” :)

At this phase, life is go, go, go. Next year we have half-day Kindergarten here, and I can only imagine how much more productive and how much less crazed I will be in a year and a half when my daughter starts first grade. For now, though, life is about finding balance and not wishing time away. Before The Call, I could be a bit of a “shove it under the bed and deal with it tomorrow” type of girl, and now, I am rigid. I have schedules. I stick to them. I plan out not just days, but weeks and months. I want to make the most of this opportunity, not just as a writer, but as a mother too. These are precious times in so many ways, and not a day goes by where I don’t look around and feel oh so blessed. But good things don’t usually come without a bit of sacrifice, do they?

My first post, “I Sold My Book! Now What??” is up on the Harlequin Sold blog, if you’d like to stop by!

So how about you? What is your typical daily routine?

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16 Responses to Life, Post Call

  1. Seems like your days are packed, Olivia. But I’m guessing you wouldn’t have it any other way… :D

    Since my kids are grown, things are a lot easier around here. I get up, I get dressed, I wander down to my office, do email and fb and blogs and then get writing. The weekends are mostly mine and the hubby’s–and the kids and their kids. Love when we get everyone together….

    • Olivia Miles says:

      Hi Christine!

      It sounds like your days are busy as well, and how nice that you have so much family to visit with on the weekends!

      It’s true I probably wouldn’t have it any other way…I’m not one to sit idle :-)

  2. MarcieR says:

    Love this post Olivia. I’ll have to check out the SOLD! blog after work (my workplace blocks the page as suspicious!).

    Thanks for taking the time to blog both here and there.

    I have Recipe for Romance on my list to order and I can’t wait to read your Briar Creek series.

  3. Dyan says:

    Cherish these times, kids grow up so very quickly! But keep writing, so we can keep reading! ;)

    • Olivia Miles says:

      Hi Dyan,

      They do grow so quickly, and sometimes the baby phase seems a bit easier than the kid stage…well, in retrospect. Some days are tough to juggle everything, but it’s all rewarding, right? :-)

      Thanks for reading!! :-)

  4. Susan Litman says:

    Why, Olivia Miles, you watch The Americans too? You’ve been holding out on me! :)

    Love this blog–and Avery, as always!

  5. Caro Carson says:

    Hi, Olivia! I enjoyed your blog. I’m envious of your routine, actually, because many authors say the muse is more likely to show up when she has a schedule to keep. That makes sense to me, because the brain knows it’s going to be working at a certain time every day. I figure it’s just like an exercise routine. Muscles can adapt quickly once they know what’s expected. Or so I hear… ;) Personally, my schedule has been chaotic because one of my children has a very unpredictable medical condition. I never know if he’ll be at school, be at home, be at a doctor’s office. Like you, I find the all-nighter is sometimes the only way to “git ‘er done.” Whatever works! I can’t imagine a world without reading and writing romance, so I’m glad you and I and all the rest make it happen. :) Cheers!

    • Olivia Miles says:

      Hi Caro!

      I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s health issues :( Of course that comes first. I find more often than not, my schedule goes out the window and I am playing catch up, then I wonder why I bothered trying to schedule anything to begin with! I guess when something means enough, like the writing, you find a way to fit in it….even in the dead of night! :)

  6. Just popping in to say I enjoyed the blog and reading about how your life has changed since getting The Call.

    Good for you for juggling all the important things in life and making it work.

  7. Tammy Y says:

    Hi Olivia.

    I loved your first book. I read it in December. My day Monday – Friday is – Drive 45 minutes to work. Start at 8:30 – Leave at 5:00. Drive 45 minutes to get home. Make dinner, shower, spend time with my family. Watch shows on the DVR together. Do my night chores Spend some time on line, read and go to sleep.

    • Olivia Miles says:

      Hi Tammy,
      I’m so happy you enjoyed ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas!
      Your day sounds hectic…I’m glad you find time to read with your busy routine :-)


  8. Olivia–

    Loved the ‘post-call’ blog and congrats on all the sales you’ve had since!

    I really don’t know how people with younger kids/families find time to write. I have a hard enough time when it’s just me and my dogs!

    Of course, I do have that pesky day job to worry about, so my schedule is usually to write early, early morning or in the early evening. I SOOO used to be a night owl, but anymore, I’m just too tired to do much more than watch TV at night. :)

    • Olivia Miles says:

      Hi Stacy,

      I always marvel at how anyone with a day job can find time to write other than weekends. I’m like you, by the evening, despite good intentions, relaxing in front of the television is just so tempting! That’s great that you’re able to squeeze in time before work. :-)


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