Wednesday, May 12, 2010

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Balance and the Books

It’s crunch time again. My deadline is looming in the not too far off future and I’m beginning to wonder what it’s going to take to get my third book turned in on schedule.

With Tabloid Affair, Secretly Pregnant!, in addition to an outpouring of support from my friends, family, and fellow writers holding my hands from the farthest reaches of the globe—to hit my deadline, it also took a total shutdown in the homemaking department. Neglect of my family. And compulsive bingeing on Nestle, Frito-Lays, and Keebler products (it was criminal the way those elves were worked on my behalf!)

The book got done and, in the process I lost control of my life and gained a little hip-side keepsake of fourteen pounds to remember it by. Needless to say, this is not the pattern I would like my writing career to follow.

I know, I know. Just last month I was waxing lyrical about my love affair with writing as my job. Dream job. Remember? Well, the thing about any job, dream or not, is that you can’t let it take over your entire life. Period.

So with this third book I’m aiming to strike a better balance between my need to write and my need to maintain a semblance of a life and be there for my family.

But how to do it?

Once again, I’ve gone back to consult with the experts. The lovely and talented Modern Heat girls.

The consensus seems to be this: Honest communication is your best tool. Be realistic with your family, your editor and yourself about what you can accomplish and when--both in setting your deadline schedules and as you work through the book, because sometimes things change. Life can unexpectedly get in the way.

The truth is, finding a balance between writing and life, especially as the deadline approaches, is tough. And not every system will fit every writer. For instance, while some of the girls have found strict organization the key to success, others have found that stepping back and relaxing about the demands of their book actually make them more productive. While some find working weekends the only way to get the job done, others keep weekends totally free for the family. So it’s all about finding where you fit on the spectrum and not letting the stress overwhelm you.

A few helpful tips for stress management: Get regular exercise--it's good for the body and brain. Train your family to take more responsibility around the house. Remember your editor is there to help when you get stuck. Keep a good supply of chocolate on hand. And a good supply of wine when the chocolate doesn't help.

I love flexibility, but the truth is, I know I do better without it. In fact, the more controlled my regiment gets, the better I handle the demands associated with it. So what I’m looking at over the next six weeks is a meticulous schedule to accommodate all of my priorities. If I have time dedicated to being with my family, getting exercise, and even doing the laundry (really, it has to get done), and I know that my writing slot picks up again two hours later, then I can be more “in the moment” instead of worrying about every moment that’s slipping by.

I’ll get to my writing, and if I need more time than I have blocked off, then I stay up later. And if I still can’t get it done without completely sacrificing the things that are important to me, then I’ll know it’s time to have a chat with my editor about how to structure my deadlines differently. Though, obviously, I’m really hoping it doesn’t go that way, lol!

Will report back my findings next month—unless it all goes to pot and you’ll know because my little sister will be posting for me. Really, she’s cool, so it'd be okay, lol!

WILD FLING OR A WEDDING RING? is available now in the UK and for download in the US from the eHarlequin site. Look for it in print in the US in June.
On her first night in Chicago, Cali McGovern meets seriously sexy surgeon Jake Tyler. She’s still sore after her last relationship, and her head’s yelling, run – but her body’s screaming for his touch... For the first time ever, her head gets overruled!

Jake isn’t looking for a wife – been there, done that – but his hot new neighbour is in town just long enough for a wild fling...perfect! Yet when the time’s up he can’t say goodbye. Is it just because of their sizzling chemistry – or something a whole

lot scarier?
Mira's second book, TABLOID AFFAIR, SECRETLY PREGNANT!, will be out in November 2010.
Come back next month for FIRST THINGS FIRST as we follow Mira's journey through the first year after The Call!


  1. As much as I'd 'love' to see your little sister - lol - I have faith you'll achieve your deadline and still be talking to your family! I'll be cheering from the sidelines!

  2. As you know, I adored your debut book and felt so honored to review it. It was magnificent and of course, your review appears here on PHS Review blog. Hoping to read more of your romances.

  3. Rach, thanks so much for the faith, lol. Crossing toes you're right. (Fingers required for typing!)

    Thank you so much Marilyn!! You're review made my year! Just turned in the AAs on Tabloid Affair, so what...about five months before I get a print copy in hand? You're first on my list to send it to.

  4. Love the bit about the wine, Mira. I need a good supply myself. Deadlines sound like a tough business - good luck with it huh? It's worth it in the end!

  5. lol, Jackie, totally worth it! So much so that it's easy to forget about other things too. I'm trying :-)

  6. "And a good supply of wine when the chocolate doesn't help."

    LOL - love that - totally explains my approach to everything lately.

  7. Ok - really need to read the other replys before posting. Jackie - looks like we have the same idea..

  8. lol, Janette- Great minds, right!
    Wine- the universal fix-all. :-)