"When I tell people I write about sex, I can see immediately whether their judgment about me has changed in the second it took me to say it. Most of the time, I don’t have time to sit and explain how complex a topic we’re talking about. Now, I can just hand them this book, which asks just as many questions as it answers, and hopefully does what good sex should do: leave you wanting more."
That's Rachel Kramer Bussel explaining a little bit about her writing life. She wrote the Lusty Lady sex column for the Village Voice, and recently edited Best Sex Writing 2008--among other erotic anthologies. You can see her website for that book here.
This kind of focused, jam-packed career brings its own share of scheduling problems, and today she explains how she keeps her writing life balanced.
This is my deceptively simple feature, Five Easy Questions. In the spirit of Jack Nicholson’s mad piano player, I run a weekly set of quality interviews with writing pioneers—delivering some practical, unexpected advice about web writing. Jason Boog
Jason BoogYou have so many writing projects on your plate I can't even make a list right now. How do you manage your freelance life with your dayjob? What's your advice for keeping juggled projects straight and keeping the stress down?
Rachel Kramer Bussel:
Well, I have to admit I laughed at bit at the last part because my stress level is way high. Continue reading...
I honestly don't know how I do it. Triage, in part; I try to figure out what's most urgent and do that immediately. I'm constantly frazzled, making lists, trying to remember things.
I really don't have some perfect system and don't want to try to pretend that I do, but I think the through line is that almost all the work I do is work that I enjoy and am passionate about, so that helps at the most stressful times.
Another writer said to me the other day that we're lucky to get to do what we do, and it really made me pause. She's so right, yet I don't take the time to think about that too often in the midst of umpteen deadlines. So I think reminding
yourself of that and keeping in sight short-term as well as long-term goals is helpful.
I also try to make peace with the fact that I am never getting as much accomplished in a day as I'd like to. I always make gargantuan to do lists and am lucky if I knock one or two items off, so I'm trying to set smaller mini goals.
I like to stay busy though, and when things seem like they're dying down, I'm always searching for new things to pitch, which is probably my biggest strength and biggest weakness.
I'd say since going off my 5-6 liter/day diet coke habit, my stress level has actually increase, so I can't help you there, but I think regularly assessing whether what you're doing actually makes you happy, or is really just another kind of grunt work, will help you weed out some projects if you have too many.