Do you ever feel like you're juggling a million balls in the air, trying to decide which one to grab and focus on? That's kind of how this year has been so far for me. I had all these plans, but it seems to be a case of not enough hours in the day. If only I could cope with less sleep!
I had intentions of releasing another picture book, two novels and a novella under my pen name, Cyan Tayse. So far, I've only managed one of those. It's not for lack of trying though. I'm currently focusing on the sequel to Fear the Fever, which I'm determined to have out in the next month or so (all going to plan). I've also been inspired by a song and a photoshoot I attended, so I now have even more stories swirling around in my head - I know, right? Just what I need! "I'll add it to the never-ending list of things to do" seems to be my mantra this year.
On top of trying to get through my stories, and proofing for my fellow authors, I also decided to re-release my dancing series with new covers and teasers, as well as my standalone novella, Never Judge a Book. I've spent the afternoon updating my website, and I've still got another to go - there's always more admin to do (did I mention the never-ending list already?).
But wait, that's not all! I also took it upon myself to organise and host a reader/author event this year! Yes, Wham Bam Author Jam is a go! I'm bringing 32 authors from around New Zealand and Australia to the beautiful city of Christchurch for an epic event where I hope to introduce the readers of NZ to the many talented authors we have in our own backyard. I'm beyond excited for this event, and even more excited that we are raising money for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ at the same time. I have had so many wonderful authors from around the world, offer to donate books to the raffles, swag for the goodie bags, and we're even getting a write up in the next eYs magazine! Exciting times, my friends.
Meanwhile, my house is under offer, and we're frantically trying to find a new forever home. The countdown is on!
All that being said, I wouldn't change it for the world. Yes, sometimes it feels as though I'm drowning in admin and lists, but it certainly keeps life interesting. I'm slowly learning to let go of things so I can stop and smell the roses, so to speak. We've taken to having what we call "mind, body and soul time" where I have one on one time with each of the kids, and sometimes that's all it takes to make me stop and take a breath. I think we sometimes get buried in the "I should be doing something" mindset, that we forget how to relax and have fun.
This weekend is "date night" with the hubby. We're going to a comedy show with some of the best comedians in NZ, and I can't wait! Bring on the laughter and frivolity!
With houses not panning out, and only a week left to find the perfect house (if not, we'll rent - we won't be homeless, don't worry), I feel like it's something we both need to remind us that life is a journey with ups an downs, but as long as we have each other, everything will work out (queue the soppy "aww"s).
Remember, without the downs, we can't truly appreciate the ups.
Like many other professions, writing relies on community involvement. You can't just write a book and hope for the best; a mistake made by many, including myself. When I first started out, I had no clue about the vast book world online, and naively thought that having my book on Amazon would be enough. I had no idea how to market myself, and to be honest, I was scared to tell people about my book for fear it wasn't any good. I mean, I loved it, but who's to say others would?
It wasn't until 2016 when I actually started believing in myself. I started following an author, Sloane Howell, and loved the interaction he had with his readers. It was this interaction that made me want to read his books, and we became friends. I'll admit, I picked his brains a lot back then. I had no idea what an ARC was, let alone a takeover. I was clueless.
But this amazing community gave me a shot. The more I started interacting, the more readers I reached, and the more interest I had in my books. People started reading and reviewing; they loved my books!
I made friends with fellow authors, and we still bounce ideas off each other. We go through the highs and lows together, and our readers are right alongside us. It's really quite special.
And now, there is another who has connected with me, and through his page and groups, he has helped so many authors to be recognised and to boost sales, myself included. He is a firm believer of investing in your community, as am I, which is why I started the book blog two years ago, and why I share the links of my favourite books. This week, I've purchased about ten books from authors I've not seen before, and I'm really looking forward to getting into those so I can spread the love. I encourage you to do the same. Find a new to you author and give them a chance, whether it's from a friend's recommendation, a blogger post, or an email from Amazon, dive in and give it a go! I can't tell you the amount of books I've fallen in love with through doing this.
And, if you are an author looking for a boost and want to contribute to your community too, I encourage you to join in JoL's book buying club (https://www.facebook.com/groups/801685080019488/)- he has several genre based groups too, and book buying threads you can join in on. This community truly is amazing, and something I'm proud to be a part of.
Contrary to popular belief, being an author doesn't always bring in the big dollars. In fact, some months, I'm lucky to earn enough to buy a cup of coffee, maybe two. Of course, there are better months, but not as often as I'd like.
So, as you can imagine, that means I have to hold down a "normal" job to help pay the bills. I work part time in an office and also run a proofreading business with a friend of mine. On top of that, I have my book review blog, my writing, and of course, spending time with the family to fit in there too. The only thing is, there aren't enough hours in the day!
I wish I could be one of those authors who can burn the midnight oil, but alas, my brain has other things in mind, and by other things, I mean sleep. Though, my brain can be fickle sometimes and has been known to make me contemplate life's great mysteries at 3 AM. This is not ideal. Especially when business has been booming of late. There have been some amazing books fired my way over the last few months, and I love being trusted with these book babies, and helping them to shine. It really is the perfect job. Add to that the joy I get from writing and producing my own book babies, and you have a winning combination right there. However...
Trying to find that balance between home life when you work from home, isn't actually easy. I find it hard to shut off from the job - characters decide to speak to me at all hours of the day, and they will keep hounding me until I jot those ideas down. I sometimes struggle to step away and take a break, feeling like I just need to do this little bit more, and then I can relax. I find myself comparing my schedule to other authors, wondering how they can get so many words down each day and still function as a normal human being, mother, and wife. Silly, I know, but I can't help myself.
Yesterday, I took my daughter to a friend's house for a birthday party. My phone had no service while I was out there, and you know what? No one died. I spent a few hours chatting to some awesome ladies, watching the kids play, and just enjoying life without my phone attached to my hip. I didn't feel compelled to keep checking notifications, or see if I had any new jobs coming through. It was nice to just step away and not worry about the world for a minute. To just be me.
Sometimes it can be good to have these little reminders in life. Don't be so busy that life passes you by. Take time out to just be you. Take time out to hang with your family and friends. Be present. Make memories.
I am hereby making this my goal for the year: To spend at least one day each week where I take a step back, and enjoy this beautiful life I have been blessed with. Who's with me?