Jesse Hayworth writes heartwarming stories of life and love on Mustang Ranch for NAL.
How do you structure your writing day?
I write every day, though less on weekends. Even if I write a hundred words each day, that makes it easier to get started on Monday. Weekdays, I spend 5-7 hours writing, though it can stretch longer if I’m writing really well, farting around on the web, or succumbing to other distractions. (Ooh, look. Kitty!)
How do you balance the above with all the business end of writing? The promo, the websites, the social media, the email…
I check my email far too frequently, but put most of it in the ‘I’ll get to it later’ pile. Same with social media. I’m far more productive when I totally unplug from the internet … but then I tend to fall out of the public eye, so it’s a balancing act. Promo-wise, I have a quarterly-ish newsletter, a weekly personal blog and a bi-monthly spot on the Jaunty Quills, which is a group blog. That and social media are about all I do for promo, at this point. I figure it’s far better for me to WRITE!
How do you balance home life/work life? For those of you with husbands and family, how do you balance their demands with the demands of a career. In particular, how do you balance your life with your spouse who may or may not have issues with you “writing all the time”?
At other points in my career, I wrote all the time .. which translated to 5-6 books per year, and very little fun in my life. These days, with a relatively new marriage and a firm commitment to enjoy the heck out of it, I’m making a real point to spend my evenings and weekends with hubby. That means I’m writing more like 2 or 3 books a year rather than 5 or 6, but I’m a far saner person!
Do you have a day job? How do you balance the two?
I’m a full-time author, but I also freelance as a scientific editor. Fortunately, I have the option of turning down editing jobs when I’m in the weeds with a book.
Do you have a business plan? What kind of form does this plan take? Is it a yearly plan or more of a Five Year Goal type of thing?
I re-evaluate every six months or so, and have both short and long-term goals. I also try to break them into little, doable steps, and give myself credit for achieving each one. I think that’s important–many of us forget to celebrate the small victories, which can make the whole ‘write a book’ or ‘build a career’ thing feel like a long slog uphill.
Do you have a support group? Notice I didn’t say critique group. I’m more interested in the support – writing and non writing – that you receive.
Absolutely! Although it’s up to me to believe in myself and my work, there are times a girl just needs to lean, yanno? My hubby is my biggest supporter, followed by my writing friends. We trade goals, ups and downs, and it makes the whole process feel a whole lot less lonely.
Do you worry about burn out? What steps do you take to prevent this?
About a year ago, I realized I was writing/editing a full day and then several more hours at night during the week, while hubby watched TV or dozed. To avoid burnout and make my world feel a little bigger, I started volunteering at a horse rescue two days a week. That gets me out of the house during daylight, gained me a new group of non-writing friends, and gives me a sense of peace I hadn’t realized I was missing.