Monday’s Friend: Lynn Cahoon

Today I’m pleased to welcome romance writer Lynn Cahoon to the blog to talk about a subject that’s close to my heart – juggling the writing round a day job.

Writing With a Day Job
By Lynn Cahoon

First, I want to thank Sara-Jayne for inviting me to her blog today.

I’ll admit it.  There are days when I fantasize.  Not something you admit in mixed company, but we’re friends, right?  I fantasize. It’s the truth. Wait, why is your face turning red?

Oh, you thought since I write romance, that I was referencing the more carnal types of fantasies.  Nope.  At least not right now.

Don’t tell my boss, but I fantasize about quitting the day job and writing all day.

But the practical side of me keeps getting up early, getting my words in, and then driving the thirty plus miles to the office, where I play the get stuff off my desk game with the other members of the cube tribe.  Some days, I get more off my desk than came in.  Those are the good days.  The bad days, well, let’s just say, I have a lot on my plate.

I thought today I’d share my top five strategies that have allowed me to sell six manuscripts this year plus three short stories and essays.  My debut, The Bull Rider’s Brother released in June.  November, I have two new releases.  The second in the series, The Bull Rider’s Manager releases November 19th and A Member of The Council, on November 5th These strategies have helped me stay sane in the last six months.  So here we go.

How do I juggle working full time with an hour of drive time a day and still write, promote, and get my name out there in the social network universe?  Goals and planning.  You have to have a game plan to get stuff done.

One – I believe in weekly goal setting.  By setting weekly goals, I give myself some wiggle room in case I get home and the recliner and remote is calling my name.  If I’ve been diligent throughout the week, I can take a day off.  If I took yesterday to veg or read, well, I’m going to have to do at least some work.

Two – I make a list.  Several actually.  I’ll tell you about one in a minute.  The other, I write out the days of the week, make a daily goal list, then summarize with my weekly goals.  So if I want to write 7000 words this week, I need to write 1000 a day.  Except Saturday, I have a full day of training at my writers group.  So either I need to adjust my weekly word count goal or up the daily count to 1167.  Other items on this week’s list include pre-writing seven blogs for my November blog tour.

Three-I have an accountability partner.  Every Sunday night, we trade goals and results from the past week.  Sometimes we’ve exceeded our goals, sometimes, not.  But we always report, evaluate what occurred, and help each other make plans for a better result the next week.

Four- I write down everything.  If I say I’ll read a friend’s book and review, it goes on the list.  I save emails until the action is done or the information is transferred to a list. My mind is like a kitchen strainer, ideas fall out.  And the good ones are sometimes the most elusive.

Five – I take advantage of small pockets of time to get at least something started or a little task done. My lunch hour is usually spent scarfing down my food, so I can spend the time writing a short story or a guest blog.  I can’t lose myself in twitter or Facebook at the day job because the applications are blocked.   It’s amazing how much you can get done in 30 minutes when you’re focused.

So readers, what strategies do you use to get your work done?  Are you a modern day juggler like me?

About Lynn:

Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters to modern cowboys. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want.  She blogs at her website, A Fairy Tale Life. Her paranormal romance A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL is released by Lyrical Press on 5 November 2012.

Find Lynn on the Internet at all of the following links:

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A rogue hunter, a clueless witch and a mission to save an unknowing world.

Parris McCall, owner of the dive bar, The Alibi, has finally constructed a life where her little quirks don’t show or matter to anyone. As for her grandmother’s warnings that she’s different, well, she’ll cross that bridge if she comes to it. But when Ty walks into her bar, both lives are instantly changed.

Ty Wallace loves his life. How could he not? He’s a powerful human lawyer by day and the Magic Council’s rogue witch hunter by night. But after he agrees to substitute on his secretary’s dart team, all hell breaks loose. Now Ty has to help Parris admit who she is before her long-lost relatives kill her.


2 comments so far

  1. Shannon on

    Fantastic post Lynn. This came along right at the right moment for me. Some of the advice is so simple–like having an accountability partner–but I just didn’t think about it. 🙂 The idea of having smaller goals is very appealing and seem do-able.
    Thank you!

  2. lynncahoon on

    I love small goals. I feel so good crossing them off my list. Right now, I have my week ahead of me, but I only have three more things on my monday must do list. Thanks for stopping in Shannon!

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