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Monday, June 27, 2011

GUEST BLOG: NANCY NAIGLE

Juggling Fiction and Non-Fiction
Nancy Naigle


I did my first hometown book signing in the library in Emporia, VA last Monday. It was a fun evening. We started with a Book Talk about Sweet Tea and Secrets, and then followed up with a Q&A, a book signing and snacks. We enjoyed sweet tea, of course, cupcakes and delicious country ham biscuits. A great southern evening.

One thing that we talked about was how I balanced everything I have going on. You see, aside from writing I live on a working goat farm. I’ll admit most of my contribution to the goat farm these days is by way of administrivia except when we have bottle babies to feed or we get close to State Fair time when I manage the scholarships for the meat goat show and announce the weekend activities. Monday through Friday most of my attention is turned to Bank of America. Why? Because I’m an SVP and that duty calls, and it pays the bills, too. This is where you find out that I’m right AND left brained. My position with the bank is as a Six Sigma Black Belt. I coach associates in the six sigma methodology and provide support to Corporate Audit in their assessments of processes in the bank to insure we have the right controls and rigor in place. Statistics and organizational stuff – all day long. Writing fulfills my creative side. That combination keeps me balanced I think.

I told the folks at the library as long as I remember to keep the two careers – writing and the bank – straight I should be fine. If I start telling fiction at the bank and the truth in books, that’ll be a problem :-)

I’m not special though. I bet all of y'all reading this are wearing multiple hats every day. Some of us might multi-task a little better than others, but in the 21st century you have to be able to juggle to just get through what is business as usual in our busy lives.

Here are a few tips that I believe really help me stay focused and keep progress moving forward. Maybe they’ll help you, too.

Know your goals. Okay, I know this sounds silly but it’s important. Everyone’s goals are different. Even in a room of writers you will get dozens of different goals. Some just want to finish a book. Others want to get a big NY house deal, while someone else just wants their book in print without any care to distribution. Someone else might be writing to pay a debt, or change a heart. There aren’t any right or wrong answers, but if you don’t know the goal...you probably will never achieve it.

Make your goal clear. SMART – specific – measurable – attainable – relevant – timely. There’s no sense making a goal that is unachievable. These components will help you think through what’s important to you and set a goal you can measure your progress toward. For example: I want to publish a 90k novel with distribution in print and e-formats with a publishing house in 2012. Having a clear goal will help you list out the milestones you need to achieve on a timeline toward achieving that goal you’ve set.

Plan what you’re going to do, then do what you plan. This goes for anything from the grocery list to your writing journey and anything in between. Shortcuts don’t usually really end up saving you anything. Make your plan when you have a clear head and you’ll be less tempted to skip important steps.

Know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Delegate those things that you’re not good at, and share your strengths (or barter them!). Trading strengths is a great way for two people to be more productive. You do what I don’t do well, and vice versa. We both win!

Be honest with yourself about the time you have. No sense planning to spend 30 hours a week writing if you don’t have that time. You’d be better to commit to a plan that you can stick to. Think about it this way. If you write one page a day, you’ll have a book at the end of the year.

Share. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Following your dreams is no fun at all if you don’t have friends to share it with. Make times for your friends. They are worth the juggle and you’ll feel better and be more productive for it.

What things do you do to keep your eye on the goal? Let’s share.

Nancy Naigle writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.

Living on the cutting edge of technology in her day job, Nancy spends each night creating make-believe small town worlds filled with community, heart, and suspense. She hopes readers will accept her invitation to visit Adams Grove and will grow to care about the residents as much as she does.

Her debut novel, SWEET TEA AND SECRETS, is available now and being met with good reviews. In this Adams Grove novel, a woman comes home to settle her grandmother’s estate only to find that she is the only thing standing between a dangerous con and a secret from her grandmother’s past.

Nancy’s next Adams Grove novel, OUT OF FOCUS, will come out in November 2011. In OUT OF FOCUS, a mother gets snagged in a web of friendship and betrayal while desperately searching for her missing son. OUT OF FOCUS won several awards in 2010 including the CT-RWA The WRITE Stuff and Maryland Writers Association Novel Contest in the literary/mainstream category.

A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she and her husband of 16 years moved inland to quiet Southampton County. They now live in a log-sided home on a working goat farm with their two labs and more kids (the four-legged kind) than they keep count of, where they are living out their own small town love story.

All Nancy’s books will be released in e-format and print. Stay up to date on releases, appearances and news on Nancy’s website: www.NancyNaigle.com