business of writing,  groups,  Publishing,  the writing life,  thoughts,  writing orgs

When Networking Starts Impeding Progress

My key phrase for the last month has been:

Writing the next book is a writer’s first priority.

This weekend, while at lunch with a fellow writing friend, we talked about volunteering for writing associations at which time she let it slip that she was involved in three other writing groups aside from the one we were both in.  At the past M&P show, a lovely writer I met there told me about two organizations she was in, plus an in-person critique group, and she was planning on joining our organization on top of that. This made me pause and wonder if I was doing enough for my career by limiting myself to one writing organization.

Naturally, I began looking at the last six months, at all the events I’d done, and thought about my upcoming stint as the Independent Published Author’s League Liaison for my writer’s group. The responsibilities include two board positions, attending certain group functions, on top of helping to organize promotional events for the group. With all of this comes a lot of planning, communication, and events. I had to admit to myself that I was barely able to manage my chaotic schedule + writing in the past five months belonging to just one group while simultaneously promoting my writing. How do these other authors do it?

Then I realized, after looking things up, that the writers who had this kind of time were the writers only releasing a single book in a year. My release schedule was a bit lax this year. I managed to repackage two short story collections and finish a few novellas which I then put into a collection. I have not released a single full-length novel or book this year – unlike years past where I released a minimum of 2-3 novel length titles each year. However, in previous years I didn’t do as many conventions, trade shows, signings, etc…  This left me a great deal of time to focus on the work.

Admittedly I had considered joining another group, and possibly an in-person critique group, earlier this week – for like half a second. But luckily the realization that I just didn’t have any more time to devote to networking or monthly meetings slapped me hard across the face. I work 28-37 hours a week at the p/t day job. What’s left is the same amount of time every week for writing tasks. That includes all promotional work, networking, administration, volunteer work, and, of course, writing.

This past week I wrote 567 words (aside from the 1500 words in blog posts).  But I also managed to get things squared away for Mile Hi Con, to take an inventory of book stock, to do some promotion, answer reader mail, update my computer, deal with some advertising material, plan some volunteer work, finish reading manuscripts for friends/blurbs etc… I actually got quite a bit done, just not writing.

So now my challenge is creating office hours. I already have office hours for Daemonolatry for other people.  I’ve cut off FB correspondence for readers for my S. Connolly pen name in hopes readers will use my email instead, so I’m not tempted to answer email outside office hours there.

This coming week I have lunch with a fellow writer so I can pick up my new banner and a new sign for our spinner at a bookstore about forty minutes from me. Then I have to deliver said sign to the bookstore which shouldn’t be more than a two-hour task. I have a podcast to prepare for Tuesday night. Then Friday, I sit on two panels , one panel Saturday, and have a book signing Saturday afternoon at Mile Hi Con. Sunday I promised my husband I’d help with outside chores around the house. In between all of this I will somehow manage to get some writing in.

Luckily – I have no more events planned for the rest of the year, so November and December, amidst all the chaos of the holiday season and shopping and family – I will try to write as much as I can.

Writing the next book is a writer’s first priority.

Now to decide what I’m going to do with that.

  • TREE

As always, I will read the middle card first. The Coffin symbolizes big changes/transformations coming. A project will come to a close (I sincerely hope this is ETG as I think this novel created a serious emotional block for me this year). It’s time to let go of the old so something new can manifest.  Despite what this sounds like, the card insert here is the nine of diamonds – suggesting growth in the material world. In my mind this translates to book sales, or at least more people recognizing and/or reading my work.

The Tree indicates that things are unfolding and I need to allow them to grow before I can see the results of the work.  The insert is the seven of hearts. Changes in my emotional state.  Interesting that this comes up in the midst of the Sorath work because I feel my attitude toward all the networking and events changing, but they still throw me off and keep me focused elsewhere rather than on my work.

The Clover points to good things happening soon and suggests I need to be prepared when good fortune strikes, especially since sometimes opportunities are fleeting. The six of diamonds is encouraging me to make note of any patterns I see in the physical world in order to take advantage of my opportunities.

The timing on all of the cards suggests I will see the bulk of this come to manifest between February and May of 2018. So I am excited for this. But this spread has also given me an idea about how to create office hours.


  • 2PM-8PM Daemonolatry for Other People + any administrative work like taxes, royalty reports, accounting, etc…
  • 9PM-10PM Scheduling/Planning the following week.


  • 9AM-6PM – Day job.
  • 7PM-8PM – Writing time


  • 9AM-6PM – Day job (every other week)
  • 9AM-10AM – My agenda emails + Admin Work (writing days)
  • 11AM-12:30PM – Writing time. (writing days)
  • 1:30PM-5PM – Writing time (writing days)
  • 6PM-7PM – Podcast time – prep or on air. (writing days)
  • 7PM-8PM – My agenda email or Social Media Scheduling or writing time as needed.


  • 9AM-6PM – Day job.
  • 7PM-8PM – Writing Time

Thursday (Writing Day – always)

  • 9AM-10AM – My agenda emails + Admin Work (writing days)
  • 11AM-12:30PM – Writing time.
  • 1:30PM-5PM – Writing time and/or errands.
  • 7PM-8PM – My agenda email or Social Media Scheduling or writing as needed.


  • 9AM-6PM – Day job.
  • 7PM-8PM – Writing time.


  • Family/Domestic/Errand time all day unless I’m on deadline and need to catch up on writing (only).

This means that I will only deal with social media and email that is not my agenda on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  I will deal with errands on Thursdays and Saturdays. I will have writing time Monday-Friday (at least an hour a day). This schedule also allows for meals and family time, as well as time to clean my house. Now the discipline to stick to it is another matter entirely. But I hope my friends and family will support me with the new schedule and try to help out by not being upset when I don’t answer their emails right away, or I choose to schedule lunches (no more than two hours) on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

What does my agenda mean? It means that if it’s volunteer work, or furthers my career in some way — those things are MY agenda. If it involves requests, questions, or someone else’s needs that aren’t also my needs – then it can wait because that’s someone else’s agenda.

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at

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