ASK MIMI – #1

Well, hello! I’d like to WELCOME everyone to my first ASK MIMI column! I’ve already received some VERY interesting questions from you all. You’re going to LURRRV the two I picked for today.


For those wondering why the hell I’ve decided to write a column, I think it’s a fair question. I mean, what qualifies me to give anyone advice, right? Absolutely nothing! Or maybe everything? Kind of depends on what you’re asking.


But here’s my rationale:

  1. I get questions from people all the time, including aspiring authors. Why not share those wonderful questions with a broader audience?
  2. I LOVE chatting, goofing off, and hanging with my readers, especially on my Facebook group: Mimi Jean’s Junkies. #unicornWeirdos #RomanceFansAreNutsLikeMe. This is a way for me to justify fucking around with you guys a little bit more!
  3. I really, truly do read your posts and pay attention to what a lot of you are feeling. A HUGE number of people out there are miserable, angry, worried, or are ready to start murdering people if one more fucking thing goes wrong. #2020SucksMonkeyDicks.

Bottom line, I thought writing books was doing my part (to support my family and give people an escape), but maybe it’s not enough.


Maybe I can do more.


And maybe it’s as simple as just spending a few minutes of my time each week to lend an ear and give encouragement to a fellow writer, a fellow mom, a fellow wife, and a fellow human being.


So with that, here goes!


Dear Mimi,

I live in Santa Clarita and was wondering how worried I should be about the Zombie Apocalypse. If the situation is dire, how should I prepare?


Thanks for the advice,

Christine



Dear Christine,


First off…LOL. 


Second, I think you’re right to worry. Especially because we’ve all seen that “documentary” on Netflix about Santa Clarita. Some peculiar diets going on in your city! #SantaClaritaDiet


Third, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that movie I Am Legend, but the zombie apocalypse starts after a vaccine is administered to the masses in response to a global pandemic. Ring any bells? Eh-hem. (Run, everyone!)


Fourth reason I say yes is because I have money on “Zombie Apocalypse in December” on the 2020 disaster board. So there you go. Worry away! Also, worry about extraterrestrials (I have $50 on that one) and being invaded by HUGE dinosaur-sized spiders. Really, anything is game this year.


As for your second question, about how to prepare, I strongly recommend building a wine cellar. Also, stock up on Hallmark movies and think about a generator situation in case the power goes out (so you can still play your movies). Wouldn’t hurt to buy some rechargeable batteries (for your special “friend” if you have one). Could get lonely during a zombie apocalypse. Also, pack your Kindle. You’ll need a lot of reading material.


Good luck, Christine! Stay safe. And remember that if you can’t beat them, join them. I hear being a zombie isn’t so bad anyway. They do a lot of walking outdoors and spend oodles of time with their friends. Something most of us aren’t getting to do much of these days! LOL.


With Love,


Mimi



Dear Mimi,


When you’re in a relationship with someone, how do you find the healthy balance between spending time with them and your passion for writing and/or reading?


As an author, I have a short window of time every year to write with my hectic work schedule and my farm. I try to cram everything into four months, and I feel like my husband resents every minute I spent typing or reviewing indie authors.  

I make sure to set aside date nights and game nights, but it never seems like enough. 


R



Hi R,

This is SUCH an excellent question, and it probably applies to lots of ladies out there who work full time or who are raising kids (which is also a full-time job) or who are doing both. In your case, it’s running a farm and possibly working another job, too. (I’m guessing.) Either way, finding time to nurture relationships, on top of everything else, seems impossible sometimes.


But, because you’re an author, I’m going to answer your question a bit differently than if you had a regular career.


First off, being an author isn’t just a job. It is a passion. It is a calling. It is a craft that comes from our hearts. Jobs are something you just do, get paid for, and come home. A career is a job that you invest in and hopefully love doing, but you still go home on the weekends and take vacations.


BUT when you’re an author, it’s a whole other ball game. There is no downtime, vacations, or days off. Because even when you’re not writing, you’re still working in your head on your plot, your next book idea, or whatever.


In short, when you’re an author, there is no separating work from the person. I’m telling you something you already know, I’m sure!


But it leads to my next point: There is no such thing as work-life balance when you’re an author.


It’s really more like work-life-constant-compromise. There’s never balance. We never have enough sleep. There’s always more work than we can get through (even with an assistant). We’re always pushing ourselves to the limit. Personally, I never ever feel like I have enough time with my family or for myself. Something always falls short.


  1. My first piece of advice to you and all the other authors out there is to make a deal with yourself about the rules of your work-life-constant-compromise.

Figure out the things you will and will not do, compromises you ARE willing to make and you are UNWILLING to make. Then share these things with your family/hubby in the nicest, yet firmest, possible way.


For example, I have a deal with my kids. If I’m writing, do not interrupt me. Unless it’s important—life and death, you’re upset, or it’s time sensitive (like I forgot that I need to drive them somewhere). Bottom line, I’m here if they really need me. Otherwise, it’s got to wait.


When I’m not writing, I don’t care. They can come in and bug me. (I have busywork all the time, like ads, emails, contracts, screening files, critiquing other people’s books.)


  • I put a sign on my door so they know when I’m writing versus doing busywork.

I think the fact that they KNOW I’m here for them no matter what removes the resentment because it gives them the control. The ball’s in their court. They decide if they should interrupt me or if it can wait. Generally, they wait. Of course, then your hubby/family needs to know when you’ll come up for air. SEE #3.


Another example of a compromise I’m willing to make: cutting work short on weekends. I’m happy to set the alarm for 4 a.m. to work so that I get my hours in, and quit around noon or 1 p.m. and spend time with them.


Compromises I’m not willing to make: quit writing, missing deadlines, being a housemaid. This is a serious job. I’m not here to pick up after everyone when they are perfectly capable of doing the work. 


So what are your rules?


2. Teamwork helps free up time.


If the issue is that you need more time, ask your teammate to help! What things/task can he pick up so you can have more free time? (“I’d love to quit earlier in the day so we can hang out. Can you help me by taking XYZ off my plate?”)


  • Also, consider investing in two additional weeks of clothes for everyone. We all have to do laundry (or deal with laundry in some way), but why burn up four weekend days a month on it? Do laundry every two or three weeks instead, if you’re not already.

  • Farm out busywork that sucks up valuable windows of together-time: online grocery shopping, hire a maid to come in and deep clean once a month (so you guys only have to deal with dishes and light cleaning during the month). Dust bunnies are your friend! Unless you have allergies, then you might want to buy one of those great HEPA filters.

  • Start a Post-it wall for all the things that have to get done but can wait. Pick a day to do them all together. (Change heater filters, fix that broken lock, mow the lawn, calk the tub, whatever.)

3. Be flexible. If he needs you one night, then give it to him. But if you need extra support because you’re behind on your deadline, he should be prepared to pick up the slack around the house. (Or be prepared to stay up late waiting for you.)


When he shows you support, make sure he knows he’s your hero. He’s giving up time with his woman to help her live her dream.


4. Keep a schedule! Center it around him/family so he/they know family is important to you. (Generally I take a break right after school and at dinnertime.)


If you put your schedule up on the fridge (or a small whiteboard if it changes often), he can literally SEE you are making time for him.


Example:

6:00 – 7:00 PM ***HUBBY COMES HOME! ***MAKE-OUT TIME! DRY HUMPING! & HAMBURGER HELPER!

If you have kids, substitute dirty words with clean ones: Poetry slam! Rodeo! & Hamburger Helper!


The nice thing about this is that he can see the hours you’re working, too. If he comes home at 6 p.m., schedule an hour break there. Eat. Catch up. Make out. Then back to work. Commit to finishing up no later than 8 p.m. (or whatever hour you usually quit), with promises of more rodeo. Just be clear that the time is his. And always remind him that you are there for him no matter what. Just like you’d want him to do for you.


Honestly, though, you’re already making time for your husband, which is wonderful! And he should damned well appreciate it. Maybe he does. Maybe he’s a sweetheart and just misses you and wants more time. (Not a bad thing.) But when you say “resent,” I’m getting the impression that maybe he’s not as supportive as he should be.


Still, assuming he’s a nice guy, since you married him, his resentment likely means that he feels he’s not a priority to the most important person in his life. The only way to solve that is to actually make him a priority, but on YOUR terms, with the understanding that you are UNWILLING to compromise on certain things. (Like missing deadlines or quitting writing.)


And don’t feel like you have to carry the burden of “making time” on your own. If he wants it and feels it’s important, he has to pitch in and make it possible, too.


After all that, if it’s still not enough for him, then maybe he needs to address his own expectations, but that’s on him. Not you.


With Love,


Mimi




WANT ADVICE?

Each week I’ll pick one question, or a few, from readers and aspiring authors about:

   – sex, relationships, & family

   – the writing process & business (trad. and indie)

   – unicorns, Big Foot, the Chupacabra, & traveling mermen

   – the Universe and random crap

   – all of the things I am not an expert in, but have an opinion on! (That pretty much covers everything above.)

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS HERE: mimi@mimijean.net (Specify if you want to be anonymous or if I can use your first name. Include your hometown or state/country.)


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