Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Keeping the Balls in the Air: guest blog by Lucy Felthouse

I'm delighted to welcome another guest blogger to 'Writing about Writing'. Please welcome Lucy Felthouse, erotic author extraordinaire!

Keeping the Balls in the Air

Firstly, thanks to Cally for letting me loose on her blog! Today, I'm going to be talking about juggling. Of course I don't mean the thing they do in circuses, I'm talking writing and making sure you're keeping on top of everything you need to do.

I'm sure most people can identify with this, whether they're writers or not. But as Cally's blog is entitled 'Writing about Writing' – I'm taking that theme and sticking with it. *g*

My 'day job' in itself is always a juggle. I do PR, Marketing and Web Design for writers. Therefore I'm always juggling clients and their requirements. I'll work my way through my inbox, making sure everyone is getting what they want and need... then another email will pop up. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining as it's work and it pays the bills, but organisation, time management and lots of lists are required to keep all the balls in the air.

As well as all that going on, I have my own writing to do. Primarily I'm a short story writer, though I'm hoping to move into longer pieces this year. As a short story writer, I often have deadlines for when calls for submissions end. I have to slot these deadlines in around my 'day job' work and make sure I'm writing as many stories as I can and sending them off, as well as keeping my clients happy.

Then when good things happen – I get an acceptance – promotion is another item which jumps onto the to do list. So I'm writing blog posts, updating my website, Facebooking, Twittering and generally making sure people know I have something new available. I know lots of writers hate the promo side of things (which is why I started my business!), but I'm lucky in that I enjoy it and have fun doing it.

As a result of all this, I always have rather a lot of juggling to do. However, it keeps me busy and happy, and the days whizz past in a blur of crossing things off lists, sending emails and updating admin documents. I sometimes sail a little close to the wind with deadlines, but I'm a people-pleaser, so as long as I'm keeping everyone happy – all is good!

I'm sure lots of people can identify with all of this, so at least I've just shown you, you're not alone! Just keep juggling – the payoff will be immense!

Tips for Juggling

  1. Make lists with the most important/urgent things at the top. Crossing things off the list will give you a sense of achievement and keep you focussed.
  2. Learn to love spreadsheets. They're easy to update and you can use them to sort tasks by date, and add little notes for yourself. I colour code mine; red for to-do and green for complete.
  3. Keep your emails organised – I have folders for various projects and clients and I only move emails to folders or delete them when they've been dealt with. That way I know the ones in my inbox are 'to do.'
  4. Learn to say no. If you're already dealing with tons of things and someone asks you to do something, be honest. It's OK to say no, or 'not yet.' Most people would prefer you to say you'll do something, but not yet, rather than you say yes and they expect it quickly. We're only human and can only do so much. It's much better to deal with things one at a time and get it right, rather than taking on too much and making mistakes.
  5. Write things down. This may sound obvious, but write everything down. I always have a notebook by my side as I may have an idea for something which I can't deal with right at that second, but would like to tackle later. But if you don't write it down, you run the risk of forgetting all about it. The same thing goes with conversations with people, you may agree to do something for someone, but if you don't write it down and it wasn't on an email, it could slip away.

Lucy Felthouse is a writer, editor, marketer, PR and web wizard. You can find out more about her writing at and her business, Writer Marketing, at

Her latest release, erotic short story A BIT OF ROUGH is available from Noble Romance now:


Christine Murray said...

Great post. It's a constant struggle to keep all the balls in the air.din

K D Grace said...

I could definitely use a lesson in keeping all the balls in the air! Having said that, the constant challenge of it is exhilarating, and in spite of my very neurotic self, I love what I do.


belinda said...

interesting!! im an erotic romance writer too.....and i find it so ahrd to stay focused....and i have a 10 yr old and do avon! and other with writing it can be diff to stay on your ideas come to you at the strangest of moments!! i bet youre at work.....and you suddenly see a cute guy at the photocopier and got a storyline going!!! lol but im gonna share this x

Lucy Felthouse said...

Glad you enjoyed my post, ladies! I hope some of the tips come in useful.

As for focus, Belinda, sometimes I struggle too but looking at my lengthy to-do list usually spurs me into action! ;)

Karen said...

I really need to make a note of those tips, as I'm hopeless at juggling everything. Oddly the more time I have the less I seem to get done!