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How to Juggle Writing and Working by Christyne Morrell and Trex Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have author Christyne Morrell here to share about juggling writing and working to celebrate the release of her MG science fiction Trex. This is an issue I struggle with, so I found her post really helpful. And I love that Trex is both science fiction and a mystery. I’m looking forward to reading it. FYI I also interviewed Christyne last year when her MG fantasy Kingdom of Secrets released.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

This middle grade mystery follows the adventures of a boy with an experimental brain implant, and a reclusive girl training to be a spy, as they're pitted against school bullies, their own parents, and an evil, brain-hacking corporation. Perfect for fans of Stranger Things.

Trex's experimental brain implant saved his life--but it also made his life a lot harder. Now he shocks everything he touches. When his overprotective mother finally agrees to send him to a real school for sixth grade, Trex is determined to fit in.

He wasn't counting on Mellie the Mouse. She lives in the creepiest house in Hopewell Hill, where she spends her time scowling, lurking, ignoring bullies, and training to be a spy. Mellie is convinced she saw lightning shoot from Trex's fingertips, and she is Very Suspicious.

And she should be . . . but not of Trex. Someone mysterious is lurking in the shadows . . . someone who knows a dangerous secret.

 Follower News

 Before I get to Christyne’s post, I have Follower News to Share. 

Elizabeth Varadan recently released her adult mystery, Deadly Verse. Here’s a blurb: In the tradition of Hitchcock, this mystery takes you to the bookstores and cafés of Portugal while investigating a valuable poem that inspires murder. Follow this suspenseful story of bibliophiles who care for literature more than they care for life itself.     David Hagerty, author of the Duncan Cochrane crime series set in Chicago And here are a few links: http://elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethvaradan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/4thWishVaradan

Purchase Information: Amazon and Belanger Books

Elizabeth Mueller has a new release of her dystopia, fantasy, scifi romance, Awken: A Love Story. Here's the blurb: What good is "perfect" without love? In a world without crime, aging, or death, Daemos escapes his prison with dark secrets that threaten the Balance. N'reena learns two things from him: love is real and people are dying from her technological inventions. A note: Awaken is a serialized story on Kindle Vella with new episodes every Sunday and the first three are always free. Here's a few links:

book link: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B0B5PM6GL8
website: http://www.elizabethmueller.com/


Don’t Quit Your Day Job:

How to Juggle Writing and Working

When I sold my first book, several seasoned authors told me not to quit my day job. Their comments were mostly tongue-in-cheek - because publishing is famously stingy - but it was also legitimate advice for a host of reasons. Not only does my day job provide a predictable source of income, it gives me the freedom to write what I want, on my own timeline. Because I have a financial safety net, I don’t feel pressured to “write for the market,” and I don’t have to hustle to make ends meet between book deals. If I took the plunge into full-time writing, I fear that my passion would become a chore, or even a source of anxiety.

But despite the good reasons for keeping a day job, juggling writing and work (and parenting and fitness and a social life and… well, life in general) isn’t easy. Through trial and error, I’ve developed practices to achieve balance, precarious as it may be. Like any advice, these tips won’t work for everyone, but they’ve allowed me to manage a full-time career as a lawyer alongside a burgeoning career as an author. And maybe they’ll be useful to some other writers out there, plugging away at day jobs.  

-       The 30 Minute Rule: This is the cornerstone of my writing process. It’s similar to the “write every day” advice that has been so hotly debated online, but my rule is more forgiving. I reserve 30 minutes a day for being a writer. This can be sitting down and typing words on a page, but it also includes writing-adjacent activities like doing research, attending workshops, promoting my books, etc. The important thing is that I devote time each day to connect with this part of my identity, so it doesn’t get shoved aside for more “important” things. I’ve found that 30 minutes is the perfect length of time - long enough for me to be productive and achieve that elusive state of “flow,” but not so long that it can’t be squeezed into a packed schedule.    

-       Set Expectations: If you’re planning to incorporate writing into a calendar that’s already bursting at the seams, it’s a good idea to give a head’s up to everyone who’s going to be affected by that decision - family, friends, roommates, etc. It’s easier to set boundaries and stake out writing time if you establish early on that writing is a priority for you. Tell your spouse what sort of support you’ll need from them, warn your friends that you’ll probably have to turn down some social events, and be extra nice to your in-laws so they’ll come over and babysit!

-       Confess to Your Co-workers: For years, I kept my writing habit a secret from my co-workers, afraid that they’d perceive my passion for writing as a lack of commitment to my job. When I finally came clean after selling my first picture book, my colleagues were unanimously supportive - many of them even bought the book! It was a relief not to have to hide my writing anymore. Remember that everyone has interests outside of work - whether it’s running marathons or baking cookies. Just because yours has the potential to become a separate career doesn’t mean you aren’t a dedicated employee.   

-       Stay Agile: When you have a limited amount of time to write, you can’t be too picky about where, when, and how you do it. Flexibility and mobility are key. I use Scrivener on the desktop to compile my novels, but I always have a “working draft” Google document in play so I can draft and edit chapters on the go. I’ve done some of my best writing on my phone - on the train to work, at soccer practice, or in waiting rooms.

-       Accept that You Can’t Do It All: Once you break into the world of writing and publishing, you’ll find loads of exciting opportunities available - writing groups, school visits, conferences, panels, launch parties, etc. But writers with busy non-writing lives simply can’t do it all. With only 30 minutes per day allocated to writing, I constantly have to make tradeoffs. Saying yes to one writing event almost always means saying no to another. And speaking of…

-       Learn to Say No: This can be tough to put into practice, especially when you’re promoting a book. But your time is precious and in short supply, so something’s gotta give - and that something can’t always be your writing time. Besides, if you stay focused on your next project, there will undoubtedly be other opportunities on the horizon. 

-       Settle In for the Long Haul: Just because you can write a novel in 30 minutes a day (and you can!) doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient route. Don’t expect to churn out a manuscript every few months, and try not to compare yourself to those authors who do. Instead, focus on the advantages of spending more time with your stories. I find that the longer my stories marinate, the better I understand my characters and the worlds they inhabit. 

-       Pat Yourself on the Back: After an exhausting day at work, you could do anything with that precious half hour - nap, watch Netflix, take a bubble bath. If you choose to use it to pursue your dream, you should congratulate yourself. The reward will be that much sweeter when you finally type “The End.”

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Christyne! You can find Chistyne at christynewrites.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @christynewrites.

Giveaway Details

Christyne has generously offered a hardback of Trex for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by September 3. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow Christyne or me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is U.S. and Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog. 

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, September 1st, I'm participating in the Glam and Glitz Giveaway Hop 

Wednesday, September 7th, I have a guest post by debut author Keely Parrack and a giveaway of her YA thriller Don't Let in the Cold and my IWSG post

Monday, September 12th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Sarah Fink and a query critique giveaway 

Tuesday, September 16th, I'm participating in the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop 

Monday, September 19th, I have a guest post by debut author Stacy Knockowitz and a giveaway of her MG historical MG historical The Prince of Steel Pier

Wednesday, September 21st, I have an agent spotlight interview with Jazmia Young and a query critique giveaway

Monday, September 26th, I'm reviewing Alba Dobb's MG historical The Other Side of the River and doing an ARC giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday, September 1st!



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great advice here! I especially like carving out time for "being a writer," since there are a lot more tasks than simply writing on a writer's plate.

Valinora Troy said...

Excellent advice! It's really hard to manage everything and easy to set unrealistic goals that leave you disappointed. I'd love to be included in the giveaway, thank you!

Computer Tutor said...

This sounds excellent. As one who actually considered a brain implant (for migraines), you have my attention!

Brenda said...

Wonderful post and advice. Please include me in the giveaway too. Hope you have a wonderful week.

Kate Larkindale said...

Great advice. It's so important to find that time and use it wisely.

Greg Pattridge said...

TREX should appeal to many young readers with its unique storyline. Also—very helpful advice from Christyne about working and writing. Thanks for being a part of MMGM this week.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Learn to say no is good advice.

Rosi Hollinbeck said...

I can see I need to get a copy of Trex. My granddaughter will love it. Great advice for writers at all stages. I need to pin this column to my wall. For mystery fans, I have have read and LOVED Elizabeth Varadan's Deadly Verse. Glad you could feature it here. Thanks for a great post.

Biz said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the 30 min rule because we can't all get up at 4:30 and write until noon like Dan Brown! ;)... 30 mins is so doable, I'm starting that today. Please put me down for the book draw! elizabethchestney@gmail.com
Thank you!
And hello to Christyne! Very sagely advice, thank you :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Natalie,

Thanks for the shout-out about my new book.

I love Christyne's tips - especially her "30 minute rule". Luckily I have more than 30 minutes a day to write/do writer things, but I appreciated her inclusion of writing related activities.

A science fiction mystery . . . Trek sounds interesting!

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for the great writing life advice. I know I need to block out time every day too and I keep letting other stuff take priority over my creativity. I follow Natalie on Twitter and shared on tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/view/yesreaderwriterpoetmusician/693397295796043776?source=share

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Tonja Drecker said...

Congratulations to both Elizabeths!

I'll need to listen to that advice, especially the time for being a writer. Somehow, that one always gets shoved to the side.

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post, would love to get a copy!

Paula said...

Thirty minutes is definitely doable. Thanks for the advice.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I've been reading Mueller's Vella story!

Fundy Blue said...

Christyne's juggling piece was so encouraging! I've been doing most of these things for many years, but I'm still struggling with saying no. Have a great weekend, Natalie!

Sandra Cox said...

Christyne, Great juggle rules. Wishing you much success on what sounds like an intriguing read.
'Lo, Natalie.

Sandra Cox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra Cox said...

Great juggle rules, Christyne. Trex sounds intriguing.
'Lo, Natalie.

Kasey @ The Story Sanctuary said...

Those are really great tips! Thanks for sharing this post. I really enjoyed the book, too. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice. As a mama to a toddler I always juggle time to write. I love your 30 minute rule and would love to read your book.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Thank you for the shout-out!

Nancy P said...

Sounds wonderful! positive.ideas.4youATgmail.com