Today on The Book Pushers we get to continue our time with Debut author Jessica Scott. We chatted with her a bit earlier this month on our Debut Author Feature but felt we wanted more from her so we invited her to come back and give us a guest post. And since I am sure you are aware that she had her very first book release a couple of days ago, we are going to finish up her time with us with a review of Because of You following this post. Thank you Jessica for agreeing to return. To help you set the stage for her post, here is what we asked:
Many writers juggle what could be called their “day job” while they write until they are able to live solely off their writing income. In addition they have family and/or other social responsibilities or obligations. You have what is termed a 24/7, 365 day job i.e. being in the Army. How do you manage to juggle all of your responsibilities?
Now onto Jessica’s response.
Thanks so much for having me here today on The Bookpushers. I’m excited about the launch of my first book, Because of You but I’m still nervous. The question you sent me about how to I balance my day job with writing is a good one and not one that I have a whole lot of answers for.
The main responsibility I have as a writer is to work on my craft and ultimately, write a good book. So, while I am on Twitter, a lot, I also do it in order to keep up with current publishing trends and what authors, agents and editors are talking about. This helps me keep current with conversations at conferences and stay up on what’s going on in the industry.
Additionally, my responsibilities as a soldier are significant, as you well know. I recently handed over the guidon and letting go of the responsibility for my company of over a hundred troops was a big deal for me emotionally. There were days when I was in command that I simply had zero energy to write and, honestly, though I know there are people out there who say you have to write every single day, while I was a commander, I gave myself permission not to write every day. My writing had to take a back seat during this time because by the time I was done with work, there were days when I didn’t even see my kids because I got home after they went to bed. So command was emotionally and physically draining for me but so worth it.
When I did write – which was always after my kids went to bed, so a typical writing day didn’t usually start until after 830 at night – I focused on what my current priorities were. Did I owe my editor anything? Did I owe my agent anything? Were there any guest blogs due? Had I posted on my blog recently? I try to post there at least once a week, depending on what’s going on. In figuring out what my priorities were, I had to assess where I was on my deadline timeline. While I’m good at working under pressure, as just about any army officer has to be, I write better when I’m not under pressure. So I didn’t want to come up to being a week out from my deadline and not have my book even written. So I’d work on it bit by bit, then let it rest a little while, go back to it and see where I was, then work on it some more.
I guess the answer to your question ultimately is pacing. What’s due when and how much time do I need to get there? I don’t like causing myself extra work or anxiety, so I’m a big fan of having a plan with realistic timelines. And if I can’t meet a deadline with my editor because of my Army obligations, I’ve been honest with her and she’s been amazingly supportive. The best part about my team at Random House is that they’re so incredibly understanding about the impact the Army has on my life. While I love writing and am absolutely thrilled to be published, every person I interacted with from the team at RH, as well as my agent, this summer at conference was completely supportive of my position that the Army has to come first if it comes down between deadlines and a mission.
Having that kind of support is huge to me and makes a big difference in my ability to focus and prioritize my efforts.
BP: Jessica is generous enough to offer up winner’s choice a $25 gift card to Barns and Noble, Amazon or Starbucks PLUS a copy of Because of You from the etailer of your choice. This giveaway is open to the US only. To enter leave a comment mentioning your favorite thing about military romance. The giveaway closes at midnight on the 22d of Nov with the winner announced on the 23d. Good luck!