Editor and fairy-tale expert Kristy Stewart of Looseleaf Editorial & Production is here today! Not only does she have great advice regarding balancing home- and work-life, but she's giving away FIVE copies of The Familius Christmas Anthology: Just for Kids, which you can read more about here. It's a great book for family nights, and a great gift! Just leave a comment below and I'll announce winners next Monday, November 25.
My newest Christmas anthology, The Familius Christmas Anthology: Just for Kids, just came up for purchase in online retailers. In the process of putting the anthology together, I ran into a whole host of
I do almost all my work from home. With all the different claims on my time that I value, it can be hard to focus on one project, but when I’m drowning in a bottomless pit of deadlines, there are a few things that help me manage to come out alive.
Know Your Assets
Early this year, when I was figuring out how and when I would put together this Christmas anthology, I had to analyze the assets I had available. I had quite a few:
- Naptime. This was irregular, but oh so precious, and my son is a good sleeper once he gets going. It’s important to know when you have time available. That time may be at 5 AM, between 10 PM and midnight, or during the precious hour(s) while your infant slumbers.
- My husband. At the time I was putting the anthology together, the hubby didn’t have a lot of time to help me free up some of my own. But he was still awesome at helping me calm down and find guinea pigs for my recipes (i.e., his family).
- Grandma. Not every new mother has access to a grandma within a seven-minute drive, but I do, and I take advantage of her when I need to. Knowing who in your circle of friends or family can help you free up some time, talk through an outline, or speed up revisions is vital. These people care about you, and it’s okay to ask for a few favors now and again (and also very okay to reciprocate).
- My co-editor. Rick Walton is great to work with, and every year he gathers all the stories and poems we need and gives me some summaries so I can figure out which ones work best with any theme or organization we choose for our book.
Despite all these assets, I couldn’t go crazy on this anthology. This year we were slated to do the theme “around the world” (some retailers still have the old description text) and “just for kids” was for next year. But “around the world” was going to take a lot more research, and I knew that I needed more time than I had by the publisher’s deadline. So I asked Rick and the publisher if we could trade the topics for this year and next. “Just for kids” was easier for me to do in my time constraints, and next year I’ll have finished my degree and will have the extra time for research. I had to be realistic about what I could accomplish in the time I was willing to commit to this project.
After I made the change to “just for kids” and turned in a sample chapter for Familius’s sales team, I had four months or so to put together the anthology before the deadline. But I was also in the middle of a semester in which I was studying topics I wasn’t familiar with, my son was starting to be less okay with the stick-him-in-the-baby-carrier-and-study method of survival, and I was working as a teaching assistant and a webmaster on top of completing projects for freelance clients. The anthology, at that point in time, could not be my priority. So I decided which month I would dedicate to the anthology: I gave it July. Since I planned ahead, I was able to schedule freelance projects around the anthology (so I didn’t disappoint clients), I wasn’t taking any classes, and I knew it was a good month to ask for help from Grandma too. Pre-scheduling and making my priorities clear to myself and those around me made it possible for me to compile my parts of the anthology and take pictures all in one month.
It’s never easy to balance all the things we value, but with some forward thinking, realism, and humility, you can finish your novel, meet a publisher’s deadlines, or make it through another hectic holiday season without completely losing your mind.