31: Eight Ways to Create Margin in Your Author Life

An emergency in my personal life taught be lessons about needing margin in my life. Here, I share 8 ways I have found to create margin.

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Transcript
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Last week, things did not go as planned. My newsletter

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did not go out as planned. Neither did the podcast. Nothing

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went right actually, I received a phone call from my mother that

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my 82 year old father had fallen and couldn't get up through that

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experience. In the ensuing fallout. I've learned I simply

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do not have enough margin in my life. How can an author create

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margin so that emergencies and life events don't completely

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derail work? Let's discuss this question in Episode 31 of rainy

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pursuits. Welcome to the writing pursuits podcast where authors

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like you discuss writing craft, author, life and book marketing

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strategies. I'm your host Kathrese. McKee. I own writing

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pursuits and write and produce the weekly newsletter writing

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pursuits tips for authors. In addition, I am a speculative

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fiction author writing pursuits is for authors who drink too

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much coffee, endure judgemental looks from their free writing,

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convenience and struggle for words. If you are a writer

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seeking encouragement, information and inspiration,

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this podcast is for you. Let's get to it. Hey, writing precedes

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authors. Welcome back to the podcast. To those of you who are

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new, I want to extend a special welcome. My name is Kathrese

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McKee. And I'm glad you're here, please leave a comment a star

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rating and follow the show to help others find writing

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pursuits. As I described in the opening, my father fell and

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couldn't get up. They called emergency management services,

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EMS, and medics got down on his feet. He had no obvious injuries

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and seemed much better. So he declined a ride to the hospital

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in the ambulance. Four hours later, he fell again on the same

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side. And this time it hurt a whole lot more mom called to

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tell me he was on his way to the emergency room. I'm her driver.

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So of course, I picked her up and took her to the hospital and

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stayed with her. We're on our second week of recovery and now

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dad is in a rehab facility. Of course, the emergency isn't over

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for us, there will be Fallout four months to come. Last week's

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work didn't get done, and I am not sorry. Through this

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experience, I realized, I have created a schedule with no

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margin for error, I was reminded that we all need margin in our

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lives. Margin means different things to different people. But

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for me, it means that when life goes sideways, the show goes on.

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For authors like me, it means we can continue to write even if it

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is at a reduced level. Margin means I can take time off from

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the weekly routine for family emergencies or health issues or

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simply to take a week off without letting my readers down.

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Obviously, since there was no margin, no safety net, then I

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chose my family over everything else. For me, margin means

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shaping a schedule that allows me to read for pleasure. Lately,

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I have fear that I had lost the ability to read for pleasure.

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How sad is that? This week, when the hours at the hospital

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dragged by, I lost myself between the covers of a trilogy

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good fiction helped me deal with a high stress situation by

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giving me a way to decompress while being present. To advocate

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for my elderly parents. We need margin like we need highway rest

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areas, places to pull over to deal with rowdy kids and puking

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dogs and flat tires. We need the space to rest our eyes or read a

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good book or be with family. Creating margin is a way to

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safeguard mental and physical health. So what are some ways to

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create margin? I thought of eight. Number one, do less.

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Obviously we can choose to do less. But I admit it's easier

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said than done. We have to minimize commitments, pick our

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fights, choose our lane stick to our convictions guard our time

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and tell people no writing is a sacrificial activity you must be

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willing to forego quote unquote worthy causes to carve out time

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for writing. You simply cannot commit to loads of

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extracurricular activities and maintain creative momentum.

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asked me how I know to coordinate errands and everyday

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activities get gas on the way to pick up groceries and

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prescriptions. Choose one afternoon to get your hair cut

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and the oil changed in your car. Make every time out of the house

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count for two or more errands. Three. And this is going to be

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sound kind of weird but store provisions for the winter. Like

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the Ant and the Grasshopper from Aesop's Fables.

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We can store stuff for the winter we all know is coming

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emergencies are going to happen. So think ahead. I'm not a true

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prepper but if i were i would have several episodes stored

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away for future emergencies. This is something I am

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determined to implement. I plan to use batching to accomplish

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similar tasks during a given time block. So that is something

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that authors can do. If you have similar tasks that need doing

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batch them together, like creating social media posts,

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choose an hour or two and do them do a whole lot of them

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right then, and then that gives you some buffer. What are some

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other ways we can use to create margin more about that in a

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moment? Writing pursuits is run by Kathrese. McKee, who has been

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new level of excellence. Guthrie's is a three story

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methods certified editor who specializes in story

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diagnostics, coaching, and line editing to help you prepare your

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story for the journey ahead. For more information, go to writing

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pursuits.com. The link is in the show notes. And now, back to the

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podcast. So far, we have talked about doing less coordinating

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errands, and repetitive tasks and storing provisions for the

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winter. So number four, streamline and systematize. If

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you plan to do any work activity more than once, it pays to

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document the steps and save the materials for the next time

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because there's no sense reinventing the wheel. So each

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time you repeat a process like creating a newsletter or

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launching a book, look for ways to improve, document it heap the

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materials and then when you do it the next time perfect the

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process continue this cycle over and over again. And this will

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help you streamline and like get rid of the excess deadweight

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that doesn't work. Number five, train others to do the work and

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delegate tasks, when That'd be nice. As soon as you can justify

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it offload the work you hate doing, like let's say accounting

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to get more time for your creative work the work you love.

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Number six, get adequate rest, exercise and hydration. You only

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get one machine so you need to take care of it. I especially

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disagree with the advice you hear all the time for authors

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get up an hour earlier to write. Early morning writing is great.

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If you make the other needed adjustments to compensate. get

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adequate rest to think your best. I should emblazon that on

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a t shirt. If you choose to be an early riser then go to bed

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earlier to compensate. Resist the latest must watch television

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series that tempts you to stay up late. Avoid binging on

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YouTube and Tiktok man the times I've watched tick tock and it's

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kept me up an hour later. Oh, what a waste of time. Anyway,

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put it away before you go to bed so that you're not tempted get

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adequate rest to think your best. Number seven. Prepare for

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tomorrow's morning routine tonight. Lay out your clothes,

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tidy up and help your kids do the same. That will take a whole

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lot of stress out of the next day. Number eight. Don't over

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schedule or double book your time. You don't have a time

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turner like Hermione Granger, and said add buffer between

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activities. Schedule extra time to drive places add extra time

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for getting dressed, knock off the computer an hour before

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bedtime. To read for pleasures, see what I did there. Those are

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the eight ways I can think of right away to create margin in

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our lives as authors. I'm sure I didn't think of everything and I

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would love to hear your tips and tricks for creating margin.

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Please share your ideas in the comments at writing proceeds.com

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forward slash podcast forward slash 31. That's all I have for

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today. Until next time, keep writing. Thank you for joining

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us today. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a comment

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and follow the podcast. If you're new around here. I hope

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you will sign up for the weekly newsletter writing pursuits.

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Tips for authors that link and all the links mentioned in

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today's episode are in the show notes at writing pursuits.com.

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Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes and keep writing my

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