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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How many balls are too many?

Most of us would be and already published writers are not lucky enough to be able just to concentrate on being a writer and writing. I know few writers in this day of the doom and gloom economy living the high life, and I don't mean Miller, off their earnings as a writer.

If you are like me, you have another job, or several, which supplement your income and keep your dream afloat until the big call comes from the NY firms telling you they want to offer you a movie deal. I maintain two jobs, am a full time mother of two young children, and blog on this blog as well as my local critique group's blog and a personal blog. Sometimes it is a feat in mind gymnastics to keep up with all my commitments, and eking out time actually to write can be incredibly challenging.

I have been trying to set aside one hour every afternoon and one hour every night to writing. On a rare weekend, I sometimes get to write for four or five hours straight, and in these times, I feel as if I have won the lottery. As my commitments seem to keep piling up, and my time to write dwindles before my eyes, I was reminded today of a NYT bestseller that I heard speak at Nationals. She said the most important thing you can do as a writer is write your stories. Everything else is secondary and takes away from getting your first book published or the next book published.

Obviously, a job to put food on the table is not secondary, but I do have a few things I can pull back from like judging contest, surfing the web, and too many extra curricular "fun" clubs. It's a choice, and I chose to write and make my dream come true.

Do you manage all your commitments without being taken away from writing, or do you need to pull back and look at what you can wipe from your screen so you can once again see the path to your dream?

Julie Johnstone, Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. Great post, Julie. I think we all feel like this sometimes. It is hard to balance writing time with family time. But it gets easier as the kids get older. My 15 year old loves it when I'm too into my writing to check on his homework. :0)

  2. You have a wonderful point.Yes, I think we all need to step back and clean our plate of tasks to make time for our passion. Your's being writing and lady you are a wonderful writer. Keep the work up--make time to write.. Best of luck..

  3. Great post, Julie! As a new mother, I'm trying to map out realistic goals for myself and force myself to stop checking emails and Facebook all the time! I started writing 30 minutes later than planned today because I was on Facebook...and 30 minutes is precious time when there's a newborn in the house, as I'm sure you know! LOL!

    I don't work outside the home, but sometimes I think that's a curse - the more I have to do, the more efficiently I work. So, I have to create To Do lists to really get stuff done. I schedule times for cleaning the house, making/eating meals, running errands, writing, etc...Of course, all of this depends on the baby and if she's willing to cooperate.

    I'm definitely still figuring all of this out, but I think the main point is that I need to get my butt off Facebook!! LOL!

  4. It can be difficult to juggle everything without a doubt. February has been one of those months where I've been over-extended and it makes things difficult. And email can be a huge distraction, so sometimes I have to leave my house where I don't have internet access when I'm having one of those days. One thing I've done to lighten my load is giving up my personal blog. I used my site to showcase samples of my writing, but my last blog directs everyone to this site. I think part of doing a group blog is to free me up for writing.

  5. It is really hard to juggle and shift some stuff to the backburner as you are pulling other things to the front burner and constantly switching them back and forth while you are trying to find the right balance to get all writing/publishing things done with a family and a job outside of the home. When I am overwhelmed I find myself on Facebook (like Jerrica) playing Bejeweled while I try to figure it out. This accomplishes nothing. I have been trying out different schedules and eventually one will work.

  6. Excellent post Julie and something that had crossed my mind today as a matter of fact. I was thinking I needed to cut back on something, somewhere but like you I look around and think what exactly can I cut back? It's difficult to say the least to support your dream with very few rewards. I hope someday this will pay off but I write because I love it. I don't think I can stop even if I wanted to and even if I don't get published, I know I will still probably write. But for now, I'm definitely not giving up on my dream to write. I think I'm like everyone else and just have to force myself to cut back on email and such to make it work. I sit down to write every day, treat it like a job, even if I only write ten words. Ten is better than none anyday.

  7. I feel like I have four full-time jobs... my day job, meeting my publisher's deadlines, being a mother, and re-entering the dating world after 13 years.

    Then there's all the side projects I've take on - being the President of my local RWA chapter, judging contests, being an active member of my critique group, blogging, and the list could go on and on.

    Sometimes I look at my daily schedule and can't figure out how am able to do all the things I'm doing. I can only hope I'm doing them well.

  8. It sounds like we are all juggling a thousand things. Maybe as writers we secretly thrive on the challenge.