English: the conflict of writing for man or ma...

English: the conflict of writing for man or machine read text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently posted an article for my fellow indies about SEO Best Practices and why we indies need them for our success. Vince, who has commented on my blog before and always has something interesting, helpful, or insightful to say, sent me this message:

A few months ago I did a whole bunch of research on SEO and getting traffic and so on. Writing a blog post every day was a big one, because like you, I get next to nothing on days I don’t post. Keywords were important, but every keyword you use that is popular, is, well, used. One key was getting links to you. I noticed that when I posted a link to my book cover on Writer’s Cafe, I got lots of hits. And then the traffic dwindled. Author Max Barry, who wrote Syrup, Machine Man, Jennifer Government and Office, wrote back to me in Goodreads saying basically that he spent so much time on promotions and Twitter and Facebook and such, that he didn’t have a lot of time to write. So it’s hard. Here’s to you cracking the code!

Vince also has a WordPress blog that you can find here: http://timdanklives.wordpress.com/

I wanted to share this message with you all because Vince brings up a interesting issue– balance. For indie writers, it can be next to impossible to find a balance in our work lives. Let me paint you a picture:

Everyday, I wake up after 8 hours of sleep. I could sacrifice a few of those to give myself more productive time, but I’ve noticed when I sleep less and work more I still get about the same volume of tasks completed because I’m more focused and productive when I’ve slept. So after 8 hours of sleep, I wake up. I have my morning cigarette, crap, face-wash, and teeth-cleaning. I don’t drink coffee, but I do have a giant glass of water with my probiotic and multivitamin. Then, I sit down at my computer. For about an hour to two hours, I check emails, read blog posts from the blogs to which I’m subscribed, pop onto Twitter to say hi to my fellow indies and perhaps retweet someone’s book or blog post or what-have-you. Then I roll on over here to Morsels for Monsters and write up a post or two for my own blog. That takes about an hour per article, two hours if I need to do research (which I frequently do for articles geared toward my fellow indies). If my funny bone happens to be in tact, if I have an idea, and if I have time (three ifs that rarely come together simultaneously) I’ll head over to the Kelly blog to write a humor post. After that, I get in the shower to rub my stink off, put on actual clothes (since I write in my robe) and don my war-paint, pile the wax in my hair so my spikes will be perfect, then head off to my day job, where I spend the next 8 hours wishing I was still at my computer. I get home around midnight, scrounge for some sustenance in the fridge and sometimes I even find some. Then, I spend an hour or two on Wattpad, publishing new chapters of my full-length works or reading other people’s work and leaving comments and suggestions. Finally, after all that, I fall back into my bed and straight to sleep.

This is a picture of my average day. I’m sure many of yours look roughly the same.

image credit: publicdomainreviews.org

image credit: publicdomainreviews.org

We all work two jobs– we’re writers and we’re business-people. And if you’re as unlucky as I am, you also have a third job in there somewhere, a job that keeps the water flowing from your faucets and the sustenance available in the fridge. But one thing is for sure about indies– we never stop working. Ever.

So what’s missing from this picture? WRITING! I know, blogging is writing too, but blogging is more head-writing where full-length thrillers (or whatever your niche is) is heart-writing. There’s a reason I wanted to become a writer when I was a child and it had exactly zilch to do with Twitter, Facebook, or SEO Best Practices or any of the other hullabaloo I’ve learned but in which I have no real interest. Currently, I have two half-written novels (I always stall at the midpoint, what’s up with that?!) gathering dust and all but screaming at me to complete them. One of my two completed novels is the first in a series, the second book of which is planned from beginning to end and needs only to be written. And I have two other ideas for novels that I would love to splash onto a blank word processor screen and see if they run. But what’s the one thing I don’t have time for?

Writing.

The irony is overwhelming, isn’t it?

The thought I keep having these days is that I’ve just begun this journey. There are countless other social media sites to which I’ve yet to arrive, such as Goodreads or Writer’s Cafe (as Vince mentioned in his message). Once I put myself up on those sites, I will have even more to manage and less time in which to do everything.

But, what else is missing from this picture? Fun is missing. Personal time is missing. I just found out my grandmother is in ICU and I’m scrambling trying to find a way to go an see her before she’s gone forever. I have no time for anything. Apparently, I don’t even have time for death.

On the surface, this lifestyle doesn’t seem very appealing and I sometimes wonder why I or anyone would put themselves through it. All I can say is that writing is a calling. The ideas keep coming. And having no time to write the stories doesn’t mean they don’t still excite and enthrall me. My ideas make me feel great, like I can do something, even if it is just writing a story that no one may ever read.

I’m sure there’s a balance that we indie writers can strike in our lives. But I haven’t discovered where that balance lives. If any of you have, I’m open to hearing your thoughts and I’m sure the other indies reading this article are, also. How do you keep everything going? How do you balance it all?

I’m dying to find out what works for you. Until then, fellow indies and Under-Belly feasters, I’ll just say that needles help. Acupuncture, I mean, not heroin. I get poked once a month and for one blissful day, my head is quiet and the mountain I’ve created for myself looks more like an Ohio-type hill. But if you don’t like needles, I got nothing for ya. And as Vince said to me, good luck to you all!

*Why not give my shriveling ego a little tickle and send me a note? If it’s good or insightful, you can be sure that I’ll share it and promote your blog!

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