Juggling

This is skill that you must develop as a writer.

(No jokes about making more money as a street juggler than a genre novelist, please…even if it is true!)

In the beginning you juggle your schedule. You have to make room for writing as well as family and friends and that pesky day job. It’s the easiest form of juggling—just decide you don’t need television or the Internet anymore.

Seriously, though, while you must make time to write, please shuffle things to make time for what is truly important—your family and friends. To paraphrase Stephen King, “Life is not a support system for your Art; your Art is a support system for Life.”

The second kind of juggling is harder.

Eventually you’ll need to have more than one ball in the air at once.

This means more than one project in play at the same time. One project may be in a development stage, another might be with your editor for revisions. It’s essential that you learn how to smoothly switch mental gears to keep up and make the most of your writing time.

Which brings me to the trickiest part of this metaphor.

…Letting go.

You must let go of the balls and let them fly on their own trajectories for a while.

I see too many writers lose time and energy obsessing over what editors think, or waiting to hear back from publishers or agents, or looking at their Amazon numbers every hour. I’ve seen beginning writers wait months…even an entire year to hear back from agents/editors…when they could have written an entire new novel in the interim!

You’ll notice professional jugglers don’t look and track every ball they toss into the air. They’re too busy catching and throwing the next ball—and the next.

Supremely confident. Fearless.

This is very hard by the way.

Insanely hard.

But you should try it. Let go. Get busy on the next thing.

Once you do it, you’ll find it liberating.

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