This is a challenge. You use the same creative muscles on promo as when you write new pages. Writing is hard, and going on Facebook isn't. It's easy to convince yourself that doing all these things is interfering with your writing, but remember, you are allowing it to do so.
One way to deal with this is to chart the time you spend doing various things. Tracking your tasks might reveal that there is more time than you think in your schedule. If you have a day job, scheduling time to write can be very productive.
If you are a full-time writer, contact a writing friend and write together in a friendly competition, either on the phone or in person. Make writing fun again. You need to have a life to be a good writer, not just to fill the well, but to get ideas and contribute to the world. Try volunteering. Nothing makes you feel better about what you have than when you help others who have less.
In the end, time management comes down to the discipline of choice. Learn what's important to you and say yes only to the things that are.
What role does the agent play when serious personal issues affect an author’s productivity (divorce, death, grave illness)?
Insecurity might prevent some writers from telling editors and agents when there’s a problem. An agent can let the publisher know the circumstances and can be there for the author. Keep the editor in the loop so she can help strategize how to move forward together. There are editors out there who are good listeners and can help you.
It’s often the case that an author will take five or six books to find a good-sized audience. Until then, sales can be discouraging. How do you help writers stay inspired through the period when it seems no one cares about their work?
We are no longer living in a world where your book will get pulled if it does not do well after a month.
Books will stay in print online. More and more people have taken old stories and found an audience on the Internet.
Often multi-book contracts are offered because editors know it will take three or four books to build an audience. If one book doesn’t work, they will strategize with the author to see what needs to change. The writing? The cover? The right change can elevate a writer's career. In each book, we can improve three different levels: prose, plot, and marketing. With every project, we can acquire a new skill that leads to a step toward success in the long run.
The world goes so fast, and we do so little to recognize when something has been accomplished. Keep track of what you have written so you can see progress. If an award or contest win can be put in a frame, do that and hang it up as a nod to success.
Speak out loud to acknowledge your accomplishments. Your voice resonates throughout your body, and that is powerful. Help your muse and your creativity by looking in the mirror and saying, “Damn, I’m good.”
Debra Mullins Welch has published 13 historical romances over the past 20 years and has been a member of NINC since 2000. She is currently working on a paranormal romance trilogy for Tor, the first of which will be out in November 2013. You can find her at www.debramullins.com or on Twitter @debramullins.