A Question of Energy
Last week, I started this blog series on summer goals by revealing mine (to write, and to structure my writing … loosely at least). Everyone has different needs and goals in the summer, however, because every author’s life looks radically different from the next person’s. One thing remains constant, however:
It takes energy to write.
And in the summertime, that energy is a complicated thing to channel. On the one hand, the days are longer. More daylight means more time to write (or the illusion of more time) because there are more hours in the day to take care of the basic what-have-yous of summer life, including mowing the lawn and going for an evening ramble through the neighborhood. More time outside in that daylight equates to more Vitamin D (or so my family doctor tells me), and more Vitamin D means an uptick in mood and–you guessed it–energy!
So far, so good.
But there’s trouble in paradise. (There always is. Ask John Milton.) Just because we have more energy and (the illusion of) more time in summer, we also have an increase in demands. You heard me: the myth of a languid summer is one we absorb from a literary canon in which people go for long vacations, long walks on the beach, languid soaks in the hot tub, or whatever else they can dream up. The problem with this is: most of us have to work. The world looked a little different when we were still in school (and when resumes for college didn’t mandate packing our high school schedules with summer programs), and the world still looks rather different for people of means. But the fact of the matter is, most self-publishing authors aren’t middle schoolers or millionaires.
Statistically speaking, most self-publishing authors (that we know of, at least) are of an age and demographic that they both work and have families to wrangle. And while jobs are as diverse as the people who work them, I can safely say that my own job is busiest in summer–by far. And with school out for the summer, wrangling kids to and from various social activities, sporting events, and so forth occupies a lot of my (supposedly languorous) time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this:
Protect Your Time. Treat Energy as a Finite, Precious Resource.
What does your energy budget look like? When are you at your absolute best? That’s the time you want to set aside to write. For me, it’s the early morning hours. Now, I know my basic instinct is to try and knock out everything on my to-do list first thing as soon as I wake up, to leave “more time for things I love later,” but the problems with this theory are that–
- the to-do list never ends;
- I burn myself out by midday; and
- I never feel like starting something new at the end of the day, when everything is quiet at last.
If I’m not careful, my best hours are over and gone before I know it. Even worse, if I start prioritizing a to-do list instead of my writing, I end up being not much of a writer. Luckily, my family understands this and they want to support me in my writing, so every evening as we negotiate the details for the next day, we make sure to set aside a little time first thing in the morning for me to do the thing I love–so that I can better be the person they love (and let’s face it, be a more happy and loving person in general). I also have to remember that sleeping and eating well are vital components to feeling well and retaining energy throughout the day. I know we all feel the pull towards strong coffee and starch after the lunch hour when our blood sugar is crashing–but I’m here to tell you we can do better, together. More on that later!
You are not alone. ♣︎
|ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.|