And now, a sample from the book “The Juggling Author”:
NOW comes the un-fun part. If you want to write four books a year while working forty hours a week at a day job, making time for your spouse and children, and going out with your friends every week, you’re going to have to make some serious slashes into your time budget.
You’re going to have to trim television, movies, and streaming to an absolute minimum. After Jim and his wife put their son to bed every night, they watch one hour of TV together. That’s 90% of the TV Jim consumes.
Go out to the bar four nights a week with your coworkers? Cut that to one happy hour, and restrict yourself to one appletini only. I would not suggest sitting down to pound out 2,000 words of fiction after knocking back shots at the bar for several hours. Remember what I said about not going back and reviewing what you wrote? Yeah, that might not apply if you’re drunk as hell. If you don’t remember what you wrote the day before because you drank half of Cincinnati, it’s not a bad idea to give it a glance and make sure you haven’t taken your story in a wild and stupid new direction. You’re not Hemingway, sorry to say.
“But Jugglers,” you’re exclaiming, “this all sounds really hard. I like my leisure time, I like going out with my friends, and I like re-watching shows I’ve already seen two or three times before.”
Our response: suck it up, Buttercup. Being an author is hard work. If you’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure your success, the only thing you can ensure is that you will not be a success.
If you do not do the hard work, you are guaranteed to fail hard.
But you don’t have to give up everything. In fact, there is one leisure activity I insist you participate in every single day: reading fiction. I budget a half hour before bed every night to read a book on my Kindle. It’s a way to unwind, to hone my craft through osmosis, and to remind myself of why I’m doing all this: to make art.
If you’re not regularly reading fiction, you’re not only missing out on one of the greatest experiences life has to offer, but you’re not pooping where you eat. Hold on, let me explain. Maybe in business, it’s bad to poop where you eat, but in the life of an author, it’s exactly what you want. Name one Hollywood director who doesn’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of film. Name one famous musician who can’t rattle off six dozen bands that inspired her. You have to know not only your market/audience, you have to know both the classics and the contemporaries in the business.
I do mix some non-fiction books in there from time to time (more on books I recommend later), but mostly, I read fiction. Reading a good book makes you all warm and squishy inside. I like feeling warm and squishy inside. You should too.