I have a full time job working at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I edit the science fiction and fantasy magazine Tales of the Talisman. I write books, short stories and the occasional poem. I’m vice president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. I’m a parent of two wonderful kids. I usually make it to about a half-dozen conventions each year. Perhaps it’s not surprising that one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is “How do you do it all?!”
Simply put, a lot of the credit goes to my wife, Kumie. She makes sure the kids get to school. She makes sure the taxes get paid. She reads many of the submissions that come in to Tales of the Talisman. She does more than her fair share of the cooking and the dishes. She does her best to keep me sane when it all seems overwhelming and all this while having her own full-time job. So, maybe a better question would be how does she do it all?
That noted, I’m the one who does the dusting and scrubs out the toilets. Generally, I’m the one out battling the jungle our yard becomes during monsoon season. I do my share of shuttling kids to events, too. In other words, we do our best to share the load of keeping our day-to-day lives going. Hadrosaur Productions, the publishing company behind Tales of the Talisman, is just part of our day-to-day lives and we do our best to split the responsibilities as necessary.
Working at the observatory also factors into my writing life. My schedule is approximately one week on and one week off. During the week off, I generally have big blocks of time during the day to focus on my writing. Of course, there are still the day-to-day chores to do, too. At the observatory, there’s a full-time kitchen staff and I don’t have to worry much about cooking and cleaning, but I work from sunset to sunrise. In the summer, that does allow me some writing time, but in winter, I don’t get much because the nights are so long.
So, beyond all that, what are some of the things I do to make it all happen? Here are a few tips that might be helpful to anyone.
- I do my best to make use of the quiet times in the morning when Kumie is at work and the kids are in school to write. Find or make quiet times to focus on your writing.
- I don’t watch a lot of television. We dumped cable years ago and pretty much just watch movies on DVD or the Internet.
- I try not to bite off more than I can chew. Yeah, I do a lot, but if a project comes across my desk that I just can’t do, I do my best to say no.
- If I’m not going to make a deadline, I try to be forthright with the person who set it, so we can make adjustments. It’s amazing how much trouble people get into just because they don’t communicate!
So, in the end, how do I do it all? I think the answer is one that’s true for anyone who has ever had any measure of success. When I start a project, I focus on the goal and I do my best to stay focused on it until I see it through.
Here’s wishing you success in all your writing endeavors!