How I Balanced Two Jobs, School, and Publishing
For a good period of time while I was writing my upcoming book, Of Thrones and Thieves, I was also working two jobs and was a full-time college student.
Yeah, when I told people this, they usually looked at me like I was insane.
Luckily, I’m no longer doing that — now I’m only working one job and I’m a full-time college student while I’m publishing. Luckily, I’ll be graduating college in only a few short weeks, so I’ll have more time on my hands, but I have to say, juggling all of the responsibilities that go into publishing — marketing, editing, campaigning, writing the book itself — on top of school and my job has definitely been time-consuming. I’m constantly asked how I managed it all without giving up on one or the other, and how I managed to meet all of these tight deadlines that writing a book comes with.
Lucky for you, I’m finally ready to spill my secrets:
Take It Day by Day
It’s easy to look at your mountain of a to-do list, with the hundreds of assignments and thousands of deadlines within the next few weeks, and let it overwhelm you. There were often times when I would have several essays for different classes due while I was supposed to be writing several chapters. I would focus in on everything that I had to do in the week or in the next few weeks all at once, and it was this mountainous pile that crushed me until I couldn’t breathe. Then my fiancée and I worked out how to fix this.
Take it one day at a time.
Whenever you write down your to-do list, you often put down everything that you have to do for the next week (at least I do). When you look at your calendar, you’re bombarded with this insulting reminder that you have five papers and seven chapters due within the next week, on top of the assignments you have to complete for work.
You can’t look at it like that. If you do, your brain will get so overwhelmed with what it has to do that it won’t be able to do any of it. Instead, write down only what you have to do during that day. Then five papers and seven chapters turn into, “Okay, I have to write one paper today and finish half of a chapter.” And that’s all that you have to focus on for the day. That’s it. Or, if you need a bit more organization, what I ended up doing when I was really overwhelmed with work was, I wrote down each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday, and I broke down what I had to do for each day. Every day, I had about three to six assignments to do, and that was all that I focused on. I didn’t focus on any other day of the week or what else I had to do later on, I only focused on whatever day it was and crossed off the assignments as I went.
Trust me, you will thank yourself when you are looking at a to-do list that only has three or four items instead of staring down the barrel of a dozen assignments all due in the same week. It will keep you sane and make sure you actually get the work done on time.
Have a Support System
A lot of people think that they can do it all on their own (you know, living the #independence life), but I’ll be the first to tell you that you’re wrong. People need people, and you need somebody to rant to and cry to, and somebody to give you a rational point of view when things are going very, very not well. It doesn’t have to be a romantic partner, but it can be. It can also be a friend or multiple friends, roommates, mothers, fathers, siblings — pretty much anybody that you’re close to that you can rant to and who will comfort you.
I don’t think I would have gotten through this past year of publication without my support system, which consists of my best friend and my fiancée. They would pull me away from my computer when I worked into the long hours of the night. They’d listen to me patiently while I ranted about how much work I had to do and helped me work out a schedule to figure everything out in a way that would keep my hair on my head. They were there to hug me through every breakdown (yes, there were quite a few because I cry when I’m stressed), and to offer me encouraging words and rational ideas.
Overall, they are the ones who made me believe that I could do this. Whenever I started to doubt myself or started to fall behind, they had my back and believed in me. They held me up, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that during this crazy, hectic year.
Everyone needs a support system.
Self-Acceptance and Understanding
This was the hardest one for me to accomplish, but the most needed to balance everything that I had to do. It’s important to understand that you won’t always be able to get everything done; you have to remember that you’re only human, and you have to take care of yourself too.
I had many moments where I pushed myself to the breaking point. I would work into the early hours of the morning trying to finish a chapter or working on an essay that was due the next day, and I was miserable. What I failed to realize was that I wasn’t getting any kind of adequate work done — the work I finished was half-assed and mediocre because I did it when I was exhausted and stretched far too thin. Even my chapters were beginning to grow boring and mundane because of it.
I wasn’t devoting enough time to myself amongst everything else. I was harsh on myself when I didn’t meet a deadline and I was working myself to the bone trying to accomplish everything. But I’m only human. Sometimes, I can’t meet every deadline, and sometimes my work isn’t one hundred percent. Sometimes, I have to take a step back from everything, drop my hands, and realize that I need to take a break. You have to show yourself compassion and kindness, or else risk breaking under the pressure.
Practicing self-care and time management is so important when you’re trying to balance a million priorities at once. I have to say, trying to balance all of these priorities at once for this past year has definitely taught me a lot of incredibly helpful skills — but at the same time, I’m so ready to graduate and have more time on my plate. I will have far more time to devote to my book and my passion, and I, for one, cannot wait.
If you want to support or preorder my upcoming book, Of Thrones and Thieves, you can find the link here! Any and all support brings me one step closer to making the dream a reality!