I get the question in interviews all the time, “How do you do it all?” They’re talking about agenting, authoring, mothering, wifing…okay, I made up that last word. The real question is, “How would I stop?” Here are the hard truths:
-Any day I don’t write feels wasted. It doesn’t matter what else I do that day, if I didn’t make progress on my writing, life feels meaningless. Seriously. I can’t not write, for the sake of my own sanity. It’s not about how hard it is to make time, it’s about how impossible I’d be to live with if I didn’t.
-I’m a Type A personality and an extreme workaholic. Any day I find myself with extra time I feel like I didn’t plan carefully enough. I don’t feel relieved that I can take a break, I feel like there’s something I should be doing that I’m not and it stresses me out. Luckily, I’ve always got as much work as I can handle, sometimes more.
-My husband and son are a) very understanding, b) frequently off at Boy Scouting events, giving me guilt-free time to work and c) creative types themselves. My son is a huge reader, so often he cuddles up to me and reads when I do, which makes it family time as well as “work.” My husband is a kick. He provides inspiration and sometimes even guest blogs about why you should buy his wife’s book.
-I’m a book addict. I’d be reading non-stop even if I weren’t repping authors and writing myself, so my off-hours really aren’t so different as an agent than they would be as a layperson, except for the critiquing.
I’ve had to learn to take time for myself every once in a while so that I don’t burn out. This does =not= come naturally to me. So I do things like get a monthly subscription for massages and pre-schedule appointments, because if I had to call to set them up, I’d never decide I had the time. I make promises to my husband and son, as in, “I’ll only work up to noon on the weekends and not past nine o’clock on weeknights.” (Yeah, this is my schedule.) I plan vacations and getaways, where I step away from my computer. The latter doesn’t happen often, but when it does…whew!
All in all, as crazed as my life can be, I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Although I’m still waiting on my version of Batman’s Alfred to bring me espresso drinks and meals when I need them so that I don’t have to pause what I’m doing to feed the body. Chicken Soup for the Agent’s Soul?)
If you’d like to support my writing habit (and, as you might guess, I’d totally love that), I hope you’ll check out my Vamped series from Flux or my Latter-Day Olympians series from Samhain.
13 thoughts on “Why I Do What I Do”
I was shaking my head as I read this, thinking about how demanding a schedule you have, but then I stopped and thought about my own situation. I’m regularly at my PC every night until 8:30 – 9:00, writing or updating my blog, and the bulk of my free writing time is on the weekend, but none of that feels “demanding” because its what I love to do. I’m a type B person though (is there such a thing as C+), so I never get too stressed over it all. 🙂
I admire your dedication and devotion to the craft!
Thanks so much! Yup, this is something everyone with a day job and/or family goes through to an extent. There’s no such thing as “found” time. Ever. Something will always enter to fill the void!
I am totally going to do the massage subscription thing! In my dream office I also want one of those massage chairs. I think my writing would be even better in one of those;-)
How I wish I worked this way! Like you, I feel that every day I don’t write was wasted, but instead of using this feeling to encourage and further my writing, I tend to get critical of myself which leads to writing less. Being aware of this habit has so far not made a huge difference. But I’m still hoping, reminding myself that I am happier after I write.
Writing a blog helped. There is freedom within the self-imposed limitation of 500 words. Clear beginning and ending. Easy to keep a subject in mind. This way I get an hour or two of writing a day, and sometimes just having produced a blog post makes me so happy that I find myself working on the novel again.
Very inspiring. Thank you!
Blogs as a gateway to other writing…I love it! Sadly, for me, I often find that the writing of a blog or article will satisfy my impulse rather than spur it on, so I have to be careful with that.
My brother once told me that if you think you don’t have time for anything, then you are not doing enough. Free-time just get’s squandered, so I try to fill up mine productively. Job, family, hobbies — everything gets their allotted time. And as thinking is a huge part of the writing process, I think about my WIP instead of stressing out about things that are beyond my control. Keeps me sane and productive.
Yes, “sane and productive” is pretty much my mantra!
I’d often get the same question too. How do you find the time?
And my answer is always: where there’s a will, there’s a way.
It’s something you HAVE to do. Workaholic is a good word for it 🙂 But I think passion is another word that best describes it. And I don’t know about you but I feel pretty blessed that I’ve been given that passion and that drive to want to do things that make me oh, so awesomely happy. It’s just a beautiful thing.
These are all great reminders how to manage your time. Setting limits and taking time out for yourself. Making that promise to Hubby and son. My Hubby always likes to remind me how I’m married to my laptop. Not so, But I guess I can truthfully say it is one of my weaknesses (Doesn’t weakness sound so much better than addiction?:D).
Kudos to you for doing what you LOVE to do and for doing it ALL so VERY well!
I love seeing hardworking, passionate people succeed. Especially those who are just as passionate with family.
I know I would go crazy if I didn’t write something. I know a short cut there, and hope to bypass psychosis on the way. :^)
Vacation? What is this word you use? We find it unfamiliar, yet wonderful at the same time.
And hope you will post on FB or somewhere about the con in the Carolinas. I have swiss-cheese memory, and cannot remember the name or which State it is in.
You have a great job/s, and good solid support; not just from your family, but we your fans.
I think the con is actually called ConCarolinas (http://www.concarolinas.org/). I don’t have anything set in stone on that yet, but it looks wonderful! Thanks so much for your support. It means worlds to me.
It’s refreshing to hear such honesty. I know blogs are personal diaries for the world to see, but most bloggers — me included — use their platform for marketing and all that professional stuff. Underneath, we are people with complex lives. Thanks for sharing your story.
Like you, my writing life is something I do out of necessity. I write because of habit, urges, ideas, inspiration, stress release, etc.
Not sure what type of personality I am but I also feel like I’m missing something (or worse, forgotten) if I have free time. It feels unnatural: “Wait — if I am free then I haven’t done X or Y” … “Maybe I’ll start this project since I have the time” …
This post was so scary – especially since it sounded just like me! Yikes! xoxoxo
Just reading about your routine has worn me out, Lucienne. W O W. I pride myself on getting a lot accomplished each day but I don’t always live up to my lofty expectations. Yes, I have four kids; yes, I have a full-time job; yes, I have other family duties. But none of those are excuses. They just necessitate masterful time management skills! It’s encouraging to hear how someone so busy still accomplishes so much. You go!