At the end of February this year, in the wee hours of the morning while I was breastfeeding my then six-month-old daughter, I was skimming through my Facebook feed to pass the time. I saw the usual posts from my friends about what they were doing, where they were and who with, but I also saw innumerable posts from authors that I follow via my personal page bragging about how good they were, and how their book is ranked number one and how now they are an “Amazon Bestselling Author.”
It was one particular post that finally made me snap, though. I posted about this on the 28th February (click here to read it). I actually wrote the post on my phone at four in the morning. FOUR O’CLOCK in the MORNING. I was so worked up that I posted on my blog at FOUR O’CLOCK when I should have been sleeping because I’d already been up half a dozen times with my daughter that night! Even thinking about it now makes me crazy.
I did have a couple of options to decrease the crazy. I could have simply unfollowed the author who was unashamedly boasting about their greatness, or I could have stopped looking at Facebook all together. I chose to do the latter. I uninstalled the app on my phone. I deleted the bookmarked page on my PC, and I have been blissfully ignorant to the world for the past three months.
I will just say that I do attend to my author page a couple of times a week, but I don’t spend more than five minutes on there at any time.
So what has all of this gotten me? To begin with…
1) I wrote a 65,000 word novel in two months.
2) I started with a 28,000 word novel at the start of this month and added 20,000 words to it. This may not sound like a lot, but I’ve got a nine-month-old baby at home who only gives me up to 2 hours of free time during the day to work.
After my husband gets home, I have to cook dinner, bathe the bub and put her to bed. That leaves me with approximately two and a half hours to work per night. You may ask why I don’t work longer? There are lots of reasons, but I think the main one is that I believe I should be going to bed when my husband does. It’s something simple, but I don’t ever want to feel detached from his life. If I can do that one simple thing, we can both rest easy that the other is sleeping peacefully beside us.
And I don’t just write in the evenings. I have a blog to maintain, a Twitter and Facebook page to update and then I might do some proofreading or editing work along with some formatting work, or maybe a little graphic design work with Photoshop. Sometimes I spend hours updating my website, or sending out newsletter to my subscribers.
3) My focus on writing has increased exponentially.
4) I don’t worry about what other authors are doing. I’m not longer comparing myself to them and their achievements. I’m no longer trying to measure up to them and their ridiculous word count goals. I have a word count goal. It’s not impressive, but it’s something that I try to achieve each day. One thousand words a day. It could translate to 30,000 a month—that’s 60,000 in two months, or 90,000 in three. That’s a book, and all it takes is focus and dedication.
I have no doubt that I’m not the only woman out there juggling it all. Nor am I the first author to be doing everything that I am in order to get words on a page. I think what I’ve achieved just proves that doing what you’re capable of doing—no matter how big or small—can get results. It also proves what a waste of time Facebook is. Do I regret turning off and tuning out? Not at all. I feel like I have my life back again. My focus is on what’s important—my husband, my daughter, my writing—and in the end all of those things are what really matter.
After all, who cares if you’ve got one thousand likes, or whether you’re in the top ten free list on Amazon. Some things in life are simply more important.