Keeping on Track … A Writer’s Dilemma

Nancy F~ By Nancy Fraser

One of the most difficult things a writer has to deal with is the day-to-day distractions. If you’re lucky enough to be a full-time writer, you most likely have a work schedule, much the same as any other employed person. However, just as with any other ‘worker’, there comes a time when you need the sudden day off, that trip to the dentist, or parent-teacher interviews! Sometimes, you just need a break.

The problem with working from a home office (whether you’re a writer, an IT specialist, or any other work-from-home job) is that you have unscheduled interruptions — neighbors, family, friends stop by for a quick visit. What the heck! You’re at home, aren’t you?

Because I still work outside of my home three days per week, my writing schedule has to be ‘tight’ … yet still has to include family. I’d go crazy without the love and support of my sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

So, what’s a writer to do? Personally, I keep a writing calendar that I created with MS Word. I block out my days off in one color and add my “scheduled” (subject to change) project for that day. Then, I block off my one day away from writing/work — for time with family. On the three days I’m scheduled to work outside of my home, I assign myself a small task … usually something promo related like writing a blog, or creating a book trailer.

I also keep an Excel database listing projects by publisher (I write for three), color coded for different stages (complete/submitted, first round edit, final edit, galley edit). It also helps to keep me organized and in the right time period frame of mind since I write both Contemporary and Historical novels.

As a new project arises, it gets added to the database. I also created a tab for promo, listing release dates, blog tour dates, and ideas for individual promotion. Sometimes I think I spend more time on the database than I do on writing. However, if you’re not organized, everything will suffer.

Now, the problem arises when more than one project comes due at the same time. Take the first two weeks of last month for example:

Project #1 – The final galley proof of my novella , “Erin’s Gift” for the anthology, “A Very Scandalous Holiday”. We had a two-day turnaround for a final read through before the book was shipped off to Net Galley and made available for pre-order. And, of course, those two days fell on days when I’d planned to work on …

Project #2 – Final round edits for my November 11th release (with co-author Patti Shenberger), for book two of our McCade Legacy Series. “The Lawman’s Agreement” is set in post Civil-War Mississippi and there was still research/fact checking to be done! Especially when it came to certain medical facts for our 1860s, female physician! And, just as I was knee-deep in my part of the edits/research ….

Project #3 – My new contemporary novella, “Having Santa’s Baby”, a December release from Entangled Publishing’s new Flaunt line, demanded equal attention for final-round edits. Not that editing my hero was a problem. He’s so sexy, he practically writes himself! All three projects now complete, it was on to ….

Project #4 – I needed to complete Her Compromising Positions”, the next book in my upcoming contemporary series, All the Single Ladies, and due to my editor by the end of the month.

Thank goodness for computers — this said from a woman who wrote her first book (and the three following) on a Wang Word Processor and edited on hard-copy. I still have nightmares about the editorial mark-ups!

My non-writing friends often tease me about how hard it must be to work at home in your pajamas … and often ask about the glamour of being a writer!

Yeah, right! I’m in my pajamas, not out of comfort but convenience … or the fact that I’ve been so busy meeting a deadline that I haven’t had time to shower and dress! And, glamour? If you call finally remembering that you haven’t eaten all day and are now on your tenth cup of coffee glamorous, then … yeah, it is!

Still, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It’s what I do, it’s who I am! If you’re a writer, please keep on writing. If you’re a reader … by all means, please do that too. After all, readers are what make our pajama-clad, coffee-drinking, deadline-pushing day worthwhile!

Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

With eleven contracts/releases coming up in the next year, Nancy is currently working on a four book series titled, All The Single Ladies. The first book in the series, Tall, Dark and Hers, is scheduled for Summer, 2014 release from Entangled. Also in the works is the fifth novella in Nancy’s Rock and Roll Romance series for The Wild Rose Press.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and enjoys traveling and reading.




Twitter: @nfraserauthor

1 thought on “Keeping on Track … A Writer’s Dilemma”

  1. Great post, Nancy. I can relate to the ‘glamorous’ life we authors live.

    I’m a huge fan of lists to keep my work in order. I have them all over! Not sure they keep my sanity, but at least they prevent it from getting worse. LOL!

    Thanks for the info.

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