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Arielle Ford

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Fitting Your Author Life Into Your Real Life

Posted: 01/11/12 05:11 PM ET

With each new year comes a fresh crop of aspiring authors prepped to inspire, excite, and motivate. To help you join that much-anticipated (and forever adored) group, I want to give you even more tools for achieving your dreams as an author.

In my last two posts I discussed how to wire your brain for success and awaken your creative genius. Today, I want to touch on an equally common issue -- how to fit book writing, promotion, and platform building into your already busy life.

The solution, of course, comes in many shades of gray. As you know by now, most authors write when they're not working full-time jobs or running the business that supports their life. Many are married, some are parents, and yet others dedicate their personal time to friends, hobbies, family and pets.

To help you create rituals that advance your dream of becoming the next big breakout author, I gathered input from three recently successful authors: Rich German, Kevin Hansen and Kailin Gow. Together, this group handles a wide array of professional and personal commitments -- when they're not busy being successful authors, that is.

Here are their recommendations (and my own) for how to fit your author life into your real life:

Schedule "me" mornings. "You've got to have a morning ritual," says Rich German, author of Monetize Your Passion, who also runs a busy coaching business and non-profit. Exercise, meditate, and do whatever it is you do to take care of yourself. You need to "create a routine that gets you mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally ready for your day." The extra energy, focus and mental stamina you gain as a result puts you ahead of the game before you've even begun.

As a full-time employee, business owner, and author, I agree with Rich 100 percent. My mornings are sacred, time when I take an energizing walk and play with my cats. I also say a prayer at the start of each day that I learned in the "Course of Miracles":

"Dear God, on this day where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say and to whom?"

Reciting those words settles my mind and leaves me open to each day's wonders and challenges.

List it out. Almost all of the authors in this group rely on lists. Instead of focusing on everything you need to do, however, focus on what you need to do today. List out tasks for your day, or possibly your week, but beware of the miles-long list that depletes your energy and gives you a slight migraine.

Forgo "timewasters." With two kids, a full-time job and a busy second career as the author of Secret Regrets, Kevin Hansen has learned to slice and dice his days, focusing only on tasks that have a real impact. For every item on your list, he recommends asking yourself this question: Is this important to me completing my mission? Then complete only the tasks that jive with your highest priority goals.

Seize each (and every) moment. Working-parents-turned-authors often get an especially heavy dose of frenzy in their days. Instead of letting the quick pace of her life defeat her, Kailin Gow, author of multiple young adult fiction series, is driven by it. Rather than worry about how many hours you are (or aren't) spending on your author career, just dive in and use the time you do have. You'll be amazed at how quickly those five, 10 and 15-minute windows add up.

Learn the all-important two-letter word. One of the biggest reasons I'm able to hold a full-time job, run my businesses, and be a successful author (while also having a life) is my ability to use one critical word: No. I regularly say no to interesting invitations, opportunities, parties, and lunches. If I don't say no, I can't get what I really need to get done, done. The payoff, for me, is going to sleep with peace of mind, knowing I'm doing everything I can to realize my dreams.

While I'll admit that I've never met an author who claimed it was "easy" to earn a living, be an author, and have a life at once, I'll also say that I've met dozens and dozens who rave about how much their author careers have contributed to their lives. With that in mind, I hope these tips and insights help you make your author dreams real in 2012 and beyond!

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books.