I’ve always lived my life at a hundred miles an hour with never enough time to do all the things I fancy doing. But this week I’m feeling totally swamped! Today especially – I have three things including this blog, which have to be done today each of which are likely to take up most of the day. (That’s without worrying about the family quiz I have to research, write and load onto Kahoot by the weekend.) The other two essential tasks involve a considerable amount of technical skill – which doesn’t bode well.
I’m not sure I should admit this to my readers but in a week’s time I will hit my 77th birthday! Before you picture a frail little old lady sitting in a rocking chair doing her knitting as she dreams up her stories, let me update you on my life before lockdown. My weekly routine consisted of teaching yoga on a Monday morning, Tuesday at the gym teaching Tai Chi and taking part in a Pilates and a Zumba class, Wednesday and Thursday, two hours of line dancing then back to the gym on Friday for another Tai Chi session plus yoga and Zumba. Sunday, a brisk three mile walk to church for mass and a slower walk back. In addition, there are several other groups I attend including two writing groups on a regular monthly basis. And yes, like everyone else, I do have a social life, dinner with friends, theatre trips and days out.
I produce at least one novel a year. I’m not a fast writer. My daily word count rarely exceeds 500. I do several rewrites before sending the book to my two editors which usually ends up with me having to do a major rewrite each time. Then the novel is off to my beta readers nearly all of whom point out at least one thing I need to change.
As a guest speaker, I do an average of three cruises a year. Most involve four to six presentations, each taking on average 40 hours of research, writing and designing the PowerPoint presentation. As I write travel mysteries, my husband and I take a fair few holidays each year(Last year’s trips to the Brazil’s Pantanal for a Jaguar watching trip with our two children and the November history tour of ancient Persian sites in Iran are becoming a distant memory.) Marketing and promotion take a low priority not least because as my regular readers will know, I’m useless when it comes to technology.
In theory, with my morning classes curtailed, in lockdown things should have got easier. (I confess to being somewhat miffed at spending weeks preparing presentations for two cruises only to have them cancelled at the last minute though, as luck would have it, I held off preparing for the third in case it didn’t go ahead.) I have tried to keep up practising my yoga and Tai Chi at home, and have spent time preparing online yoga lessons and videos, and several things like writing groups have continued using zoom.
As I mentioned in my June blog, I used the early part of lockdown to create paperbacks of all my novels, but in addition I tried to up my marketing skills by doing several courses. As so often with these things, the more you learn, the more you realise the more you need to master. It was also necessary to improve my technical skills – very, slow progress! All of which have added to the pressure.
The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. I’m back teaching yoga on a Monday at a local community centre and my husband and I are now back line dancing once a week and to church on Sundays – all reduced numbers and socially distanced naturally. How long before those are nipped in the bud before further lockdown measures are enforced, time will tell.
The main thing that has me feeling overwhelmed is that last week I followed an excellent series of presentations from Fiction Marketing Academy. I watched nearly all of the 30 – 45min talks which took up most of each day. Topics ranged from Amazon and Facebook Adds, Goodreads, building an author platform, prelaunch strategies, book cover design, plus a whole range of marketing strategies. Needless to say, I added several pages to my little to-do list book. There are so many things I need to see to ASAP I don’t know where to start. Oh well, if my masters’ degree in management skills taught me anything it’s that the only way to eat an elephant is one spoonful at a time.
Having said all that, I ALWAYS have time to listen to you my dear readers. How is life for you? Is life getting on top of you at the moment? Are you suffering from lockdown lethargy? Forgive the cliché, but a problem shared really is a problem halved.