The Work-Home-Writing Juggling Act

Those days when you say, “I didn’t get very far on (fill in the blank) today,” and even though it’s driving you crazy, it doesn’t mean you’re not a writer anymore.

Work-life balance is a juggling act, and life balance is an ongoing challenge for women writers. There is so much you can’t control. You can’t control when your kids or spouse gets sick, when work gets super busy, when a family responsibility superseded your desire to write.

Most of us have to balance jobs, family and writing. And it’s a fallacy that “real” writers work full time at their writing, and that’s the only thing they do. Most working writers have another job, or two, or three.

Those days when you cannot get your butt in a chair, when you can’t get words on the page, you need take a deep breath and realize that you will have time in the future, if writing is something you truly value.

When life is wild, here are three things I do:
1. I tell myself, you can do it. I write what I can. I encourage myself. I make it a point to be generous with myself.

2. I find the pockets of the day when I’m not doing anything and use that for writing.

3. Sometimes I can’t fit writing in. On those days, I take a deep breath and relax. I write down the ideas as they’re coming and I know that I’m going to get back it as some point.

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Find Your Work-Life Balance

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This tightrope walk is how I feel most days. I’m trying to keep my career, my home life, my family life, my writing life in balance.

Are you envious of that sort of fluid life-writing experience that selling writers talk about? Do you wonder how you can weave writing or more writing into the moments of your day?

But for the most part, the thing of it is, you just have to do it. And that’s way easier to say than do.

First, figure out which days and for how long you can write. If it’s going to be one hour a day, if it’s going to be only two hours a week you can write.

Then, whatever time you can take to write, you do it religiously.

It doesn’t matter what time of day you write, as long as you mean it, and you stick to it. Make your routine rigorous – not hard – just rigorous. What I mean by this is that you train yourself to lock in and do it. If you miss your writing session, get right back on the horse at the next writing session time.

Here’s why: You must sit down and write. You can fix a page that has words on it. You can’t edit ideas.

Everyone’s life is busy. So, because of how life is, there will times when you just have to do things and you don’t have time to write. One on hand, it’s incredibly important than you be loyal to yourself and make your writing time happen. But on the other hand, don’t beat yourself if something interferes. Things are going to happen that you can’t foresee. As soon as you can, just get back to your writing.

Do. Not. Beat. Yourself. Up.

Be disciplined about your writing, because writing is what you want to do; but when life gets in the way be forgiving to because that’s what you need to do.

Dream the impossible dream

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We are women. We do things that are impossible, like herding cats. Every. Freaking. Day. Today is a good day to remember that nothing is beyond the bounds of possibility when it comes to your writing dreams. Go and write. And when you need a break, herd a few cats.

You are braver than you think

To write when we have so many other pressing demands takes courage.

Katherine Anne Porter said, “One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage of it.”

It takes courage to move beyond wanting to write, to writing. Courage to put words down on paper. Courage to tune out family and responsibilities, if even only for a short time.

But there is no other way to be a writer. The actual, genuine, true gift of writing is courage. You, dear writer, are braver than you think.

The Truth About Writing Motivation

The truth about those motivational articles and books that say you can find inspiration anytime and anywhere: They lie. They are written by a collective of cranky motivational “experts” who have devised ways to keep the rest of us in perpetual uncertainty, frustration, discontent, and torture.

I think they meet every Thursday at noon.

And they wear berets.

The Truth About Being A Writer

If you want to be a writer you have to show up, sit down, and write. Words may be dictated to you by God as they were for Giacomo Puccini when he wrote the opera Madame Butterfly, but then it’s up to you to do the menial work of getting them down on paper, because you’re just the designated typist. That job involves a lot of hard, laborious, meticulous work that takes dedication and persistence. When it comes right down to it, writing is just a job, and like any other job you have to work at it. Okay, and it’s the only thing that makes you happy.

Trust the Process

Writers like to tell other writers to trust the process. Show up, sit down and write, and trust that something good is emerging.

But how do you trust the process? It’s simple. You need a plan that guides your writing:

Pick a place to write in every day
Pick a time to write every day
Pick an amount of time to write every day

That’s it. It could be your favorite coffee shop at 7 a.m. for 30 minutes or your lunch hour. It could be your armchair in your living room at 7 p.m. Do that every day—or at least more days than not—and you’ll find the process is working.