Spotlight: How Do You Find the Time? by Melanie R. Meadors

Champions_Aetaltis-Cover1500pxA question I get asked a lot is “How on earth do you find the time to do it all?” People call me superwoman. In actuality, because I’m in my life, sometimes it doesn’t seem like I accomplish so much, because there is always something more to do. But really, when you list it all out…

I’m a stay-at-home mom who homeschools my 13 year old son, who has autism and ADHD. I also am the publicity coordinator for Ragnarok Publications and the marketing/publicity specialist for Mechanical Muse. I’m a freelance author publicist who has about four authors on my roster at any given time (in addition to my authors via Ragnarok and Mechanical Muse). I’m a fantasy and science fiction author, and yes, I even have hobbies, like playing bass and doing artwork. Oh, yes, and I’m a blogger for two websites.

Yeah, that is kind of a lot. So how DO I do it all?

Well, I try to keep my focus on what’s important. And since I’m a rebel, I don’t mean what society thinks is important, I mean what I feel is important. What do I need to feel alive? What fills my bucket?

For example, I love my author publicity jobs. They are fulfilling, I’m good at them, and they pay. Are they the MOST important thing to me? No. I can say that without hesitation. When push comes to shove, however, do I spend a proportional amount of time doing this job versus the things that really ARE the most important things?

You’ve got me there.

And that’s the thing. I’ve read some books and time management books that end up being these weird guilt trips. “Make sure you spend your time doing the things you love the most.” Well, that’s fine if you’re a millionaire. But I don’t know very many of those, do you? I need some source of income so I can do the things I love. Yes, I worked very hard so I could get a job I loved, but even so, it’s a day job. I look at homeschooling as much the same. Homeschooling is hard, especially with a child with special needs. That’s why it’s very important to let go of the guilt one might feel for using up some of their day for things that aren’t a high priority in their hearts. Commuting? What a waste of time. But you don’t have much control over that, unless you change jobs, which isn’t really an option for a lot of people these days. We’re lucky to have the jobs we do.

That’s why I advise people to write up a chart that shows their day with the time they spend on their day jobs and commuting, etc, the things they have no control over, blocked off. Let it go. You have a job, and that’s that. But look, you have a lot of other time, too. So how do you figure out how to spend that time?

Make a list of all the things you want to do. Don’t think of things in terms of a day, that doesn’t always work. Think about a week. What do you want to do? I had things like writing, music, art, and family time on my list. That’s a lot on a list for a block of time that is after work until bed time. That’s why you think about the week instead of the day. You might have two hours at night after your spouse is in bed where you can squeeze in some writing time, or art, or even video games. Whatever you do, though, make sure it is something that will fill your heart and will be a salve for your soul. That’s why you make a plan. Otherwise it’s way too easy for that time to be filled with TV or Facebook, things that may not complete your vision for life.

I homeschool and work during the day. I try to save some writing time during the day, too, but I don’t hold it as precious because I know how hard it can be to have some time free from distractions during the day. At night, every day, I have my writing time set, and that is sacred. That is the thing that makes me who I am, the thing I need to be fulfilled. Then for my hobbies, I have an hour per day and alternate between art, music, etc. over the week.

So what is the answer to the question, “How do you do it all?” Well, the closest thing to an answer is, “I’m stubborn as hell and don’t take no for an answer.” If I don’t have time for something I love, I make it. I don’t fight with things I have no control over. But I do the most with what I do have control over.

I live my days as intentionally as I can, I live with as much purpose I can. We only get one life, after all, and we have no idea, really, how much time we have. Spend it with those you love, doing the things you love. Yes, you need to work to get money to have the means to do those things, but don’t resent those hours of work. Accept them as a means to an end. And who knows? If you commit even an hour a day to practicing something you love, that thing could some day become your day job. But that can only be accomplished if you live with purpose, instead of just letting life happen to you. Take control of your life.

It’s yours.

Book summary:

Champions of Aetaltis

More than three hundred years have passed since the fall of the Atlan Alliance, and the people of Aetaltis have finally brought order to their fractured world. Fledgling nations have grown into powerful kingdoms, thriving merchant states have re-established old trade routes, and the priests of the Enaros have rebuilt their great temples.

But in this time of hope, the shadow of an ancient evil has emerged from the darkness to threaten the world once again.

Discover a new world of adventure in this collection of pulse-pounding stories written by some of the greatest fantasy authors alive. From the vine enshrouded ruins of a lost jungle temple to the seedy back alleys of the villainous city of Port Vale, experience the thrill of heroic fantasy with these gripping tales of action and adventure.

Author bio:

12631428_1266855016663077_2094078697725741618_n-1Melanie R. Meadors is the author of fantasy and science fiction stories where heroes don’t always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. She’s been known to befriend wandering garden gnomes, do battle with metal-eating squirrels, and has been called a superhero on more than one occasion.

Her work has been published in Circle Magazine, The Wheel, and Prick of the Spindle, and she was a finalist in the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Science Fiction Contest. Melanie is also a freelance author publicist and publicity/marketing coordinator for both Ragnarok Publications and Mechanical Muse. She blogs regularly for GeekMom and The Once and Future Podcast. Her short story “A Whole-Hearted Halfling” is in the anthology Champions of Aetaltis, available April 12, 2016.


Twitter: @MelanieRMeadors