As my readers can see, I’ve been MIA since November. To put it bluntly, I’ve been in a panic (read: deadline) with a manuscript due April 2. Before I became an editor at VegNews magazine, I was the features editor at Rangefinder magazine, a photography trade publication. Through my work at Rangefinder, I met Bambi Cantrell, an extraordinary photographer. Bambi asked me to collaborate with her on her next book, so we worked together on a book proposal, and now the full manuscript is due in about 5 weeks. Hence, the panic. I’ve pretty much put off social dates, anything fun, and worked every weekend to get this together.
But you know what I realized? I was killing myself. The manuscript wasn’t getting any more fun and I was stressing myself out.
I keep a tight schedule and I’ll be 100% honest, every day that schedule changes. What I thought would take 2 days to finish a chapter (who am I kidding?) takes triple the time. So I started meditating to help me get restful nights of sleep. (I highly recommend The Meditation Podcast–the Falling Asleep meditation works for me every single time.) I started taking it day by day. I give myself one night off. Your brain needs to recharge. Or maybe it was the fact on the most recent Parks & Recreation, I related to Leslie Knope working two jobs and when Ron Swanson told her to cut back, I’m pretty sure he was talking to me.
Plus, I think this quotation I have posted on Pinterest Quotes board pretty much sums it all up.
I recently was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Hyphen, a San Francisco-based Asian American magazine, about being a full-time magazine editor and writer. Hyphen online Q&A editor Rachel Filipinas asked how I balance my time to juggle both careers. And often, my blog readers ask me the same thing. I wish I could say that I have a clone who helps me out with these projects, but I haven’t perfected that science yet. I wanted to expand on my answer to Rachel and give you a little more detail here.
What I do is schedule. I use my handle iCal on my iPhone and set dates for myself to write. Since I’m balancing outside projects such as a photography book with top photographer Bambi Cantrell, working on a new young adult series, and freelance, my calendar is my best friend. Since I work 9am to 5:30pm most days, I work at nights and during my lunch hours. I purchased a MacBook Air so I could lug my laptop to work without killing myself. (A great investment if you can afford it.) It is a bit crazy to work during a lunch hour but it really forces me to get work done. You have 60 minutes, go! I go to a nearby café and churn out as much as I can.
Talk it out. My husband is a great sounding board. He works full-time while balancing outside projects such as his graphic novel, RASCAL RACOON (out this December 2011, Oni Press), so he understands what it means to work on multiple projects. I like to talk out my work schedule with him. He tells me honestly if I’m tackling too much in one night or week. Find a person in your life that you can discuss work with and your goals. Sometimes it’s hard to see what you’re working on from the outside.
Love what you do. I love magazines, young adult novels, photography, and being creative. I might be working until midnight to finish an article, but I love it. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t kill yourself for something that doesn’t matter to you. It’s not worth it.
Most of all, take some time off. I’m a perpetual worker. Every minute of the day must be filled. But when I do that I burn out. I either get sick or get cranky. That’s no way to live. I’m trying to remember to take a night off and relax. Work will always be there.
How do you juggle multiple projects?
Posted in Freelance, Magazine, Writing, Writing Advice & Exercises, Young Adult
Tagged bambi cantrell, brendan hay, Hyphen magazine, magazines, photography book, Rachel Filipinas, rascal racoon, writing, young adult series