Friday, March 24, 2017

Balancing It All with Claire M. Banschbach

Hello! I have Claire M. Banschbach here with us today to talk about the all-important task of BALANCING life on top of your writing career. It's a tricky task, one that I've as yet to master. Just when I think I have it down ... I realize that I just spent the last five hours playing a computer game.

(Seriously, though, computer games are addicting.)

Claire's a good friend of mine, and I highly recommend her Adela's Curse. Her other two books, are, unfortunately, unavailable at the moment, but I rather enjoyed the first one.

Follow Claire on the Interwebs:

Keeping Your Balance
I wear many hats. I’m a graduate student working on a doctorate of Physical Therapy, an author, an indie publisher, a blogger, Netflixer, and occasional napper. Only sort of kidding about the last two. J The big question for me becomes time management in order to fulfill a lot of these obligations.
School comes first. Thankfully I’m almost done with my degree (finish in May!) but it’s been a big part of my life for the last three years during which I’ve also published two books. Do I recommend trying to publish books while you’re nose deep in studying and class? Not really. But it happened. One book was published by a company and the other I indie published. Now even though I had a company doing most of the work on the book, I still had to do edits, look through proofs, and work with cover designers, etc. Book 2 was infinitely more complicated in that I was doing everything myself and studying and class and trying to blog.

Now that things have calmed down for me while doing internships in the clinic, I have a little more spare time, but a lot of it is still devoted to studying. So, I’m still on major time management. But maybe you’re a little like me in that you work a full time job and are finding it hard to do everything else. Here’s some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Work is important. It comes first since it’s probably your major source of food income. And food is always important. Especially if you’re like me and don’t quite buy into the whole “starving artist” ideal.

Writing is important. If you’re here participating in this week’s e-Con you know this. For the last three years, it’s been hard for me to write consistently. I use the phrase “I don’t have time” quite a bit, and for a while, it was partially true. Therefore, it was hard for me to get into any routine to write consistently and I was always eager to listen to other writer’s advice on juggling careers with writing. I’ve discovered something recently that’s helped me write consistently. 100 words a day. That’s it. If you write more, that’s fantastic. But even if you only write 100 words that day, at the end of the week, you have 700. In one month you have up to 3000 words. That’s 3000 words towards your WIP that you didn’t have before. And guys, 100 words is a paragraph. A paragraph a day is totally doable. I’ve started to really look forward to my daily writing time now that I have it and feel off if I don’t for whatever reason.

Blogging is important. If you’re a beginning writer, it’s a way to connect and hone your writing skills. If you’re an established writer, it’s a way to connect and hone your writing skills. If you’re a published author it’s also a way to connect and market and spread the word about your awesome new books. No matter what stage you’re in, it’s so very important to keep your blog active! You don’t have to go crazy. Right now I post once a week on Thursday because I know I can keep that commitment. And I have the possibility of posting more days a week if I have time or even just want to! Having trouble posting? Make a list of 10 potential blog posts and pick one day of the week to post. You now have the next ten weeks taken care of. You just have to write them. *whispers* 100 words a day.

Marketing is important. Now, to be honest, I don’t really have a chance to do much serious marketing, due to low funds being on a student budget and also time. But I make sure my social media is all connected to my blog. I’ve made a commitment to become more active on one social media platform (Facebook!) and post more about my WIPs and myself. People love hearing about your next project, but they also like hearing about you!

I like blocking off things in hour increments. So I know I’ll study for at least one hour, then have an hour to write/edit, an hour to read or work on projects for myself or other people. If you prefer lists, make a list. Schedule things in a calendar. There’s a bazillion and one ways to fit things in.

Also, remember that things like naps are important. Your life doesn’t have to be 1000% scheduled all the time. Take time off. Let your brain and body refresh. Even if it’s a spontaneous trip for ice cream, or a walk or game night with friends/family. Being around people is important. The world won’t end if you don’t get to everything on your to-do list done. I know it feels like it sometimes. But it’s ok every now and then to chunk the list out the window and do something else entirely. (Believe me, I’ve done it when life seems overwhelming with everything I’ve got going on.)

Now, do I actually have everything together? Absolutely not! But I’d like to think I do ok balancing my various hats. Things will change as I graduate and move on with my career, but the basic concepts will be the same. If you love something, you’ll make time for it.

Questions for me? Ask in the comments! 

Questions for you! Do you have a schedule? What hats do you wear?


  1. What hats do I wear? Blogger, writer, student, big sister - among other things :D. I don't really have a schedule, but since I'm still young and homeschooled, it's easier to be flexible ;). I loved your idea of writing 100 words a day! I once participated in a 100 words for 100 days event, and that helped my wordcount a lot ;). Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

    ~ Savannah

    1. I'm a big sister and a little sister. lol! It was definitely easier to write during high school since I was also homeschooled. I had waaay more flexibility with time. :)

  2. Thank you for this! Some great tips here, some of which I do, others of which I need to work on... I struggle with balancing everything too, and I don't even have "regular" school/college or "regular" work and I'm not even a published writer yet. I do a lot with to-do lists and I recently started some form of Bullet Journal, which has been helping some. Internet is a major distraction so I think I need to manage that time as well. I love that you can do the 100 words per day thing! I might try to get into something more loose than that (like a vague weekly or ever-other week goal) because I work better in spurts of activity than slow-and-steady. Anyways, thanks for sharing! :)

    1. I've heard of a bunch of people doing the bullet journaling recently, but I think I might prefer straight up to-do lists that I can cross things off of.
      The 100 words a day thing has been great, but it's basically been getting me into a schedule. I think having a schedule forces me to plan ahead to the next writing session instead of just waiting until "I feel like it" because I'm really good at doing the writing in spurts thing too. :)

  3. Thanks for the encouragement and advice! I've done the 100-words-a-day thing several times. My problem is when I get to editing and I feel like I have to do more than that.

    1. You're welcome, Sarah! Yeah, I'm about to head into editing for April and I might chunk the 100 words/day out the window and just focus on number of pages edited or an amount of time a day.

  4. This is a great article, Claire! I think I learned the importance of balancing back in high school because I was already writing a lot back then, and even being home schooled that doesn't mean you have all the time in the world (like public school kids seem to think lol) Since I'm between jobs currently, I have more time to write, but that still doesn't mean life doesn't get in the way, and I am a huge advocate of writing SOMETHING every day even if it is only 100 words so I definitely agree with that one. No matter how little, you'll feel better if you actually work on it than if you totally blow it off :) I personally think balancing is one of the most important things any writer, or really any artist at all, needs to learn. No matter how you choose to do it.

    1. Yeah, I had waay more time in highschool being homeschooled compared to now. I wished I had started the habit of writing every day back then. Ah well. Better late than never. :)

  5. Balancing it all is definitely huge. Thank you for the reminder that we need to prioritize. :)


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...