Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How do You Balance Life and Writing?

By DL Jackson

I’ve been writing professionally for over ten years now, and published for about as long. Being an author and wife/mother/grandmother/employee is indeed a delicate balance. Time is the one currency, that once you spend it, you don’t get it back. There are no refunds, exchanges and discounts. You can try to save time, but honestly, once it slips through the hour glass it’s gone. It’s how you spend it that counts.
About six years ago in my mixed martial arts class we discussed time. Essentially time equals life. When you put it in that prospective, you realize anyone who wastes your time is taking a sliver of your life, something you can never get back. Therefore, what you spend your time on should always be a priority. So, what is a priority?
I look at it this way. If it makes me happy, makes others happy, allows me to make a mark on this world in one way or another, it is something I will spend my time on. I have walked away from jobs because they didn’t make me happy. I have walked away from time leeching relationships that brought me nothing but misery.
When I sit down to write a book, I ask myself. Is this worth my time? Will it be worth my reader’s time? Every book I’ve written has passed that initial question.
So, how does one balance a full time job, family and love of writing?
I’ve written every novel, novella and story from within the cab of my vehicle on my lunch hour and during my breakfast. There I can focus and separate it from work and family. There I don’t cut into time I’ve set aside for other things. The Bank of D. L. keeps a tight schedule and as an author, if you want to be successful, you need to be able to put cheeks to chair and focus every day, if only for a few minutes. My goal isn’t necessarily an hour, but word count. If I can reach 1000k words, I’m done. I put it away and spend the remainder of my balance on something else.
In my most recent release, my Military Heroes Bundle, all the stories were written in this fashion, the same way every novel has since I started this writing adventure. The first book is very special to me. I wrote Cinderella Wore Combat Boots during a very uncertain time. I wanted to honor a son who’d joined the Marines, yet tell a story so many never see or hear, of a brother and sisterhood, of men and women in arms. The story is so much more than a romance; it’s about seasoned veteran leaving the military behind and the struggles she must face when she is forced to start a new chapter of her life, one that begins with civilian life. Getting out of the military is filled with so much uncertainty. What will I do? Where will I go. Will my brothers and sisters be okay without me? “I’ve got your six” is a way of life in the military. Walking away from that duty isn’t easy, but Corey Valentine must do it because of a medical discharge.
Then there was Being Prince Charming. Thousands of military spouses struggle everyday to find balance between their marriage and duties. August, or Gunny’s situation, is no different. He loves being a Marine, and has a hard time separating his home life and duty to the Marine Corp, to the point he almost loses the woman he loves forever. This is a story of empty-nesters, the stress the military places on marriage and you guessed it, another second chance story where hard choices must be made.
The third story is a little bit different from the first two. It has some fantasy and some reality, but it too has a military foundation. Seducing Liberty is a little bit time travel and a little bit historical. I wanted to write a story about specific past heroes who served as spies, as I was a member of the intelligence community at one time myself. Washington’s Culper Spy Ring, and the roots of The United States’ Intelligence organization has always been a story I’ve wanted to tell. The Culper Spy Ring is a fascinating study in men and women who fought to save a country in its infancy by collecting and planting information. It’s not just about winning land, but an ideal, a way of life, freedoms we take for granted today that were life and death matters to young men and women of the American Revolution.
I do have to say this was the hardest book to write of the three, not because I didn’t love the subject matter, as I plan to write a new adult series based on the American Revolution and centered on the Culper Spy Ring. Few know while I was penning this story and going through edits, I lost two of the most important people to me, my fraternal grandfather and grandmother. Every word was a struggle to put to paper. My mind went numb with pain. However, I continued on and something amazing happened. Every word I wrote helped to pull up from my grief and depression. This story means so much more to me that a simple romance, it literally helped me through one of the most difficult times of my life.

Cinderella Wore Combat Boots ~
Sometimes Fairytales come true...

First Sergeant Cori Valentine faces a bleak future. She’s turning forty in three weeks and life as she knows it is over. An injury received while on deployment has earned her an early retirement from the Marine Corps, something she’s not sure she’ll survive. Things get even better when interfering Marines set her up on a blind date for a party she doesn’t want. The guy has to be a total toad to want to go out with her. Right?

When Madame Eve informs Retired SEAL, Sol Keller she’s found his perfect match, he doesn’t believe it, but takes up the challenge. One look at the First Sergeant in a sexy dress and combat boots has him wondering if fairytales really can come true. Madame Eve might be the legendary Fairy Godmother, and Cori his Cinderella. Sol intends to show the Marine beauty a Prince Charming she’ll never forget, and that retirement isn’t the end of her story but merely the beginning.

Being Prince Charming ~
“You’re no Prince Charming.”
Words screamed in anger, an empty nest, empty life--there are a lot of reasons people divorce. For Gunny, a diehard Marine who refuses to give up the Corps, and Lissa his wife of over twenty years, the reason isn’t a good one. When words exchanged in anger morph beyond their control, Lissa leaves and August doesn’t go after her, letting his pride get in the way.
Two years later, Lissa is about to move on with her life and marry another man, except her reason isn’t the right one either. Her heart still belongs to a Marine she left behind.
Now, an unexpected gift in the form of a 1Night Stand may change everything.
August is back, looking for a second chance, but this time he isn’t letting Lissa walk away without a fight. He’s thrown everything he’s got into their date to prove that he can still be her Prince Charming. But if he can’t convince her in one night it’s for keeps, he may very well lose the only woman he’s ever loved.

Seducing Liberty ~
Out of the mists of time, rides a story of espionage, love, and a 1Night Stand.

When Ryann Summers, an actress playing the role of Lady Liberty, an Agent in Washington’s Culper spy ring, asks Madame Eve of 1Night Stand for a date, a night she’ll never forget—where her identity is kept secret—she gets more than she bargained for.

Now she’s caught in the middle of the American Revolution and between two of the sexiest men she’s ever set eyes on. If she can survive the musketballs and the invading British forces, she just might find everything she’s been searching for—sex hot enough to set the sea on fire.

I hope you’ll check out my military heroes’ bundle, and some of my favorite stories.


D L Jackson


Louisa Bacio said...

What an amazing process. My heart goes out to you. I know how hard it is to keep writing when life goes upside down. ((hugs))

-b9 said...

Not too wise, dear: if all you publish is the whorizontal, where's THAT gonna gitcha when 1-outta-1 croaks?? Lemme xx-plane the ticket out...

Q: Can anyone tell me the difference between K2 and IQ? A: Nthn. In Seventh-Heaven, we'll gitt'm both HawrHawr Need summore thots, ideers, wurdz or ironclad iconoclasms? Look no firdr...

VERBUM SAT SAPIENTI: As an ex-writer of the sassy, savvy, schizophenia we all go through in this lifelong demise, I just wanna help U.S. git past the whorizontal more!ass! we're in (Latin: words to [the] wise)...

"This finite existence is only a test, son," God Almighty told me in my coma. "Far beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find corpulent eloquence" (paraphrased). Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET any moe curly, party-hardy-endorphins, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs when my beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girl passed-away due to those wry, sardonic satires.

"Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3

Here's also what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

Go git'm, girl. You're incredible. See you Upstairs. I myself won't be joining'm in the nasty Abyss where Isis prowls
PS Need summore unique, uncivilized, useless names? Lemme gonna gitcha started, brudda:

Oak Woods, Franky Sparks, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, Roman Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Penelope Summers, Sophie Sharp, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zacharia Neptoon, Mercurio Morrissey, Fritz & Felix Franz, Victor Payne, Isabella Silverstein, Mercedes Kennedy, Redding Rust, Martini Phoenix, Ivy Squire, Sauer Wolf, Yankee Cooky, -blessed b9...

God blessa youse
-Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL