Chop, Chop: Keys to finishing a book project

As I looked in the Zoku hair stylist’s mirror with my shaggy locks draping a few inches below my shoulders, I said, “Just make it short like you did in May.”

Johanna, who, of course, was perfectly coiffed, looked at her client card for me, “Honey, you haven’t been here since March.”

Right. It was Labor Day Weekend and I hadn’t had much time for haircuts in the past six months.

As she and Barri, my colorist, dove into Extreme Makeover Hair Edition, I started to think this may have been part of the answer to the question a lot of people ask, “How did you write a book with two young kids and a job?”

It’s all about squeezing it in and squeezing other things out.  In addition to a shaggy hair-do, here’s how I accomplished this feat:

  • Early rising: I wake up at about 5 a.m. to write. Granted there are some days, even weeks (particularly when our youngest daughter was cutting teeth), when this doesn’t happen. But I set my FitBit alarm so no one else wakes up (because once they do, there isn’t a chance to get anything done). For years, I’ve heard authors say first thing in the morning is the best time to write. It takes a lot of yawning and coffee to get through the first week but once I got into the habit, it’s just part of my day.

  • Part-time gig: I look at writing as my part-time job. Even before I had a book contract, I would schedule a three-hour appointment to report to the library on the weekends. Fortunately, the Summit Free Public Library has private study rooms, which you have to sign up for. But they’re holding your spot so you better show up.

  • Writing Groups: Addie, Dionne and Pari are my writing bosses. We met at Paula Derrow’s writing workshop and have met every month or so since. Our writers group forces me to have something ready to review even if I don’t have a deadline. I love having their feedback on a piece that I’m struggling with. Who said peer pressure was a bad thing?  

  • Turn it off: Game of Thrones is just about the only show I watch regularly on TV and fortunately, it’s only once a week and there are big gaps between seasons. (Though I admit, I watched every single episode of Breaking Bad while my agent had my book out to publishers.) Now if only I could break free from Facebook!

That being said, now that my book is done, I’m taking a little time to clean up my act. In addition to my hair cut and color at Zoku, I spruced up my wardrobe and going to treat myself to some new shoes.

While I have a little beautiful down time, I’ve enlisted a little professional help from Scarlet Chamberlin to help pick out some outfits for my book tour. (I can’t begin to tell you how exciting this is!) I’m also reading a great book, Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life. I even picked up some make up and started dabbling in how to do it right.  (PS. This advice from brilliant plus-size comedienne Megan Mackay is the best for SO many reasons).

Look, there’s a time and a place for everything. In order to do this project, I had to give up a lot of creature comforts and add hours to my schedule that didn’t exist before (I used to sleep until at least 6:30 a.m.) but if there’s something you’re dreaming of doing, take a look at how you can find the hours.

Chop, chop, get to it.

Kara Whitely1 Comment