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Balancing Act: How to Live Life as a Wife, Mother & Writer

I wear many hats. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, an editor, a writer and a friend. How do I achieve success? Through a careful balance of discipline, prioritizing, self-motivation and mercy. I have 24 in a day and usually allocate eight for sleeping. In order to take care of myself, my family, and my career I must consciously discipline myself by 1) Being a boss—As a boss, I set schedules for myself. These include how many pages I will edit or write in a day and what chores I must accomplish that day... GIVEAWAY: Jaimie is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: GSMarlene won.)

I wear many hats. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, an editor, a writer and a friend. How do I achieve success? Through a careful balance of discipline, prioritizing, self-motivation and mercy.

(Do you need multiple literary agents if you write different genres?)

DISCIPLINE

I have 24 in a day and usually allocate eight for sleeping. In order to take care of myself, my family, and my career I must consciously discipline myself by:

  • Being a boss — As a boss, I set schedules for myself. These include how many pages I will edit or write in a day and what chores I must accomplish that day.
  • Being an employee — As an employee, I follow the guidelines I’ve created for myself. This means if I hit my editing page count for the day, I stop. I move on to do some housekeeping or take my kids to the pool or edit my client’s manuscripts.
  • Saying no —If something doesn’t support my role as a mother, wife or writer, I generally say no. This includes excessive use of social media networking. I limit my time on these to a half hour a day.

GIVEAWAY: Jaimie is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: GSMarlene won.)

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Column by Jaimie Engle, who has run a body shop, managed a hip-hop band,
modeled bikinis, and danced at the Aloha Bowl halftime show. This wife and
mother of two currently teaches creative and essay writing to both Homeschool
and college students, and offers a manuscript critique service for aspiring authors.
She has published many short stories online and in print. Her debut middle grade
novel, CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT (Wayman Publishing,
Sept. 1). See the book trailer.) See www.jaimiengle.com to read some more of
her short tales. Find her on Twitter here. or follow her main
character, Clifton Chase, on Twitter

PRIORITIZING

My goals are to be a good wife, mother and friend, and a best-selling author. They all hold equal value for me. In order to build up these facets of my life, I must prioritize through:

  • Need — I need to take care of my family, clean the house, and grocery shop. When I have a writing job, I need to meet my deadlines. When I teach, I need to be prepared for class. I cannot spend the day revamping my website if there are no groceries. And I can’t edit all day and forget about dinner.
  • Want — I want to hit my goal of 1,000 words a day. I want to write a new story that has been drumming around in my head. I want to take my kids to the zoo. I want to watch a new movie with my husband. My wants are important. They are the parts of my life that keep me going. If I do not make my wants a priority, I become unbalanced and resentful of all those things I need to do.
  • Balance — Balance keeps my wants and needs in check. It allows me the freedom to write 1,000 words in a day and forego laundry knowing the next day I can focus on chores.

SELF-MOTIVATION

As a novelist without a paycheck or deadlines, it is up to me to create and hit my writing goals. As a web writer working out of the house, it is my responsibility to turn in a high quality project within a deadline. To be self-motivated means:

  • Being able to set attainable goals
  • Getting on task and remaining on task
  • Balancing between the demands of wife, mother, writer and friend
  • The ability to say ‘no’ to anything interfering with my goals
  • Knowing when I need a break and some me time

It is difficult to go through the task of publishing a book if you are not a self-motivated person. It took me two years of persistence and diligence. I could have found a million other things to do besides write, edit and submit my manuscript. Many times the distractions are good things, like reading someone’s blog post, but if I spend too much time focusing on them, they won’t help me achieve my goals.

(Just starting out as a writer? See a collection of great writing advice for beginners.)

MERCY

Even with the best intentions, I fail. It is pertinent that I show myself mercy when it comes to my roles in life. I may not always hit my writing goals. I might not have dinner ready on time. I may need a break to have some coffee with a friend. My husband may want to watch a movie with me. There are times when I need to make a choice that goes against everything else in this post. It is during those times, I need to show myself mercy. Otherwise, what’s the point in doing any of this? If I’m stressed out, failing at everything, or worse, excelling in one area alone, I have missed the mark and forgotten what life is about.

THE FINAL ROAD

I am a good wife, mother and friend, a published novelist, a web content writer and a teacher-tutor. I spend each day striving at excellence in each of these areas. Some days require I spend more time in one area than another. But in the end, I feel whole. I will always face difficulties. The road will always be bumpy. It is when I look back upon my life and ask, “Did I do everything I could have? Did I make every moment count?” that I hope I can answer, “Yes.”

GIVEAWAY: Jaimie is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: GSMarlene won.)

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