By 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?