I haven’t yet set a writing goal for the year. As in, the number of words I want to write. I’m waiting until this Blaze I’m working on now is done. I consider it part of last year’s writing, even though I carried it over. I’m not beating myself up about it. Writing through the end of the year and the holidays has always been tough for me.
Except for Sam, all our immediate family birthdays (including the daughters’ boyfriends) fall between August 27 and January 22. That same period covers Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s also back to school time, though school for my bunch now means whatever college classes they fit in while working.
Then there’s my wedding anniversary that in ’08 I managed to forget. Casey & Taylor’s anniversary, too. (That one, I remembered.) So, yeah. The last quarter of the year may be my favorite, but it’s also the most demanding. The book will get done in the next couple of weeks, sooner if my right brain will start playing nice with my left, and then I’ll sit down and work out what I’m going to write during 2009. I’m excited!
To be able to write those words, however, to focus on the stories and give them my all, I need to keep my mind as free of interfering distractions as I can. One way to do that is to cut back my online activity and simplify my electronic corespondence.
I’m a partner in an online business, so I check that email daily, and usually first thing to find out what my clients need done, and schedule accordingly. There are days I have very little work to do (most days, in fact), but there are others with fires to put out and brainstorming to do. This would be similar to authors who work day jobs and have that obligation to balance with their writing. I can’t not check this email or put it on hold because of my deadlines. This email is related to income, a job, and has to be handled. I’ve scaled back how much I do, and have taken a pay cut because of that, but I still have ongoing commitments.
My website email I tend to check about once a week – if that – depending on my writing schedule. It’s mostly letters from readers, requests for interviews, etc., or contact info from contest winners, and I get to it as I can. I have a personal email address (family stuff, credit cards, bank accounts, online shopping) that I run once daily. That one gets the most spam since I give it to the most sites for my contact info.
I have another address I use for my author persona. Emails to writer friends, my agent, my editor, author loops, blog comments, etc. This one I check most often because it sees the most action and is the most fun! It’s where I get publishing news, find out what’s going on with my buddies, hear all the juicy industry gossip, etc. ;)
Honestly, I would never be able to deal with having one email address for everything. I know others operate differently, but I’d go nuts if I had to give a personal email to business contacts or have my family writing to my author name. Compartmentalizing my online correspondence has been a life saver and a huge help with focus.
Even having as many addresses as I do, I still use filters and folders to sub-organize what each of those addresses receive. Yes, most of it’s still in Outlook (though my most active account is at Gmail and I like it there), but I don’t have to deal with it all at once. I run the business email first thing each day, the personal email usually once daily or so, and the website email every week or when I have time.
The separate accounts keep me from drowning in the avalanche by letting me see what I want, when I want to, and though it’s been known to happen, I rarely lose anything. Of course, not everyone gets the amount of email I do. If you don’t run an online business, or maintain an online presence, you won’t. If you’re as inundated as I am, however, you might want to give different contact addresses a try!