GUEST BLOG: F.L. BICKNELL

Over the past few months, I’ve had to step back and take a look at my writing career. I also thought about how I juggle all the jobs and projects that I do. I’m a writing instructor, a freelance writer and an author, an editor, and I’m nicknamed “The Matriarch” of a very large family and a five-bedroom home.

I came to a realization. I had more obligations than I had time or sanity. Moreover, I have looming deadlines and my time to work on them was nil.

My hubby discussed all of this with me and he said more or less what I had been thinking all along. I needed to trim some things from my life which caused my overloaded schedule to explode on occasion. It really bothered me to close down my editing services, but I’ve been happier and have had more time and less stress. I have a handful of regular clients who I agreed to continue to mentor and edit for, but the huge backup of manuscripts is now gone.

At the end of June, I shut down my workshop group and moved all the lessons, articles and publishing info I supply over to the AWH blog while keeping the AWH Chatters group open so writers can commune with others, chitchat and ask the occasional writing/publishing question.

I also pulled back from being on the Internet, especially the loops. I concentrate mostly on three groups, Facebook and Twitter. By doing so, this has freed up a lot of my time too.

It’s like my hubby said, there comes a time when a person must start saying ‘no’ and start thinking about what she needs or wants instead. The first few weeks of this policy was exceedingly difficult for me. I felt lost, felt as if I had let people down, and it took me a while to realize that I actually had free time I could put to good use. However, as time went on and as I was able to concentrate on my writing more and more, it all became easier, I began to relax and I realized that I was happier.

Since June, I’ve been offered several publishing contracts, I will see two to four books in print by this time next year, and will have books two and three in progress for a couple of series. My scrapbook is filling up again with reviews, covers, etc., my office wall has some newly framed cover art hanging on it, and I have ideas for establishing a line of books with a colleague. In the next year or two I will either have my teaching degree or I’ll bite the bullet and open my own e-publishing company, but both of those depend on what happens with my published work outside of e-books. For now, I play it by ear and mark one project at a time off my list.

If you’re a writer, it’s nice to go online and hang out at the loops and forums, but there comes a time where you have to step back and realize that you don’t need all that headache and drama. What matters is your work, what makes you happy. From time to time you must feed your soul because that’s where a writer’s energy stems from.

Good energy produces good work. Feed the muse and revel in the freedom!

The Darkness of Sable, coming August 2010 from www.passioninprint.com Available in print and ebook!

Erotic, paranormal/fantasy romance/Interracial

F.L. Bicknell’s work has appeared in a wide range of genres such as Would That It Were, Touch Magazine, GC Magazine, Ohio Writer Magazine, Waxing and Waning (Canada), and The Istanbul Literature Review (Turkey) just to name a few. Faith was a regular contributor to Gent under her pseudonym, Molly Diamond. She has also had fiction published in Hustler’s Busty Beauties, Penthouse Variations, Twenty 1 Lashes, and was a regular contributor to Ruthie’s Club for three years. In addition, Faith has many e-books and some print titles published under various pen names.

For two years, Faith served as the co-editor of The Tenacity Times and she served as the managing edtior for two e-book publishers for thirteen years until she resigned in 2009 to focus on her writing career. She is represented by TriadaUS Literary Agency (www.triadaus.com).

Comments

  1. Seriously doubt there is an author out there that can’t identify and hasn’t felt the pressure. The social interaction is great, but so is writing time. God help the writer who has a full time job, located hours from home, and a family. Congrats on all the contracts! Great post, Faith. Have I mentioned that the Sable cover is awesome? Well, it is.

  2. Faith, I feel the same way. I’ve backed off lots of groups myself. There is only three that I actively participate in. As for drama, I can do without that too. 🙁 I have enough heartache at home.

  3. Good morning, Cassie! I agree. The social interaction can be fun, but then you look up and realize two hours have passed on the pc or laptop when you were supposed to be writing, LOL!

    Hi Lisa! As always, my friend, you pop in to support me. Thank you! And I have to agree with you on the heartache. We have enough to deal with as moms, wives, and writers without having upset to deal with online too.

  4. Oh, btw, thank you for the nice compliment on the cover, Cassie!

  5. Online groups are my guilty pleasure. I can sit down to answer a few posts and before I know it two hours are gone. Now I force myself to do that after my other work is done, and I’ve also cut back on the number of online places I hang out. Just not enough time in the day.

  6. Choosing your sites is best, as you note. I know people who go to extremes, cutting off all contact and that’s just as bad as too much. I learned time management for writing while I was trying to write my way out of a less-than-ideal academic job to a better one. I didn’t want to lose my fiction writing in the mad flurry of academic writing, so I was very disciplined. I’ve loosened up since getting back to the Northeast, but that core focus is necessary. Too many new writers get caught up in the rounds of Yahoo groups and blogs without realising that writing new books has to be priority one.

  7. Well put! I’ve had to do a lot of re-prioritizing with my writing over the past year or so, and it has had both positive and negative effects on both my writing and my career. Minimizing time spent on loops (and online in general) has been a part of that. It’s tough to find that balance between good social networking and just plain wasting time….

  8. I agree, Faith. And it can be so hard to let go. I backed off most groups over the simmer, and, reluctantly, quit my crit group, where I’ve found friendship, support and tons of advice, but where I could not keep up with the obligations of membership. I still hang out on a few groups where I find little drama and lots of light hearted laughs. The time to write and just feel like I can manage to keep up with all I have to do is a very free feeling.

    I wish you luck with everything you have on your agenda, Faith! You’ve given so much to the community, it’s time you took all that energy and concentrated it on you for a while. *hugs*

  9. I can sure relate!

    I have an opportunity to make my schedule be the way I want it to be since I am going back to college and only working part time.

    I’ve said NO to endless volunteer opportunities lately. I’m not sure how demanding my classes will be and I am not putting myself into a high stress schedule where the last thing is the writing! I know how easily those few free hours a week can get booked.

  10. Sounds good. You need time to write and create. Good for you.

    I’m backing off from some of the promo work I’ve been doing, starting next month, so I can give myself some more time to write.

    That’s a gift that keeps on giving. *grin*

    Janice~

  11. Hi Maggie! It’s so nice to see you here, and you’re right! I’m guilty of losing time online too.

    Cmkempe, I have to agree. Being a writer is a delicate balancing game, but the main thing is writing new material.

  12. Lisa, Jaime, and Melissa it’s good to find writers who can relate to the problem. I hope you all find that nice chunk of time to write everyday.

    Janice, promotions take up a huge amount of time. Glad you’ve decided to carve out a slot of writing time for yourself!

  13. Hi Faith,

    When it come down to it, you have to look out for yourself because no one else will. You have already done a lot to help other writers, more than anyone else I know on the Yahoo groups and it’s time for you to think about yourself and your writing career. Don’t feel guilty about it either. 🙂 Good luck to you and your new contracts.

  14. Aw, Celtic Chick, thanks for your kind words, and thank you, too, for taking the time to read and comment here!

    You’re absolutely correct about having to look out for oneself because no one else will. If you don’t do that, before you know it, you’re drained and and fighting the blues.

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