All Work, No Play?

Ever feel like a type of “Energizer Bunny” that keeps going and going, and going?  But in your case it’s writing, writing, writing, editing, editing, editing, revising, revising, revising, querying, querying, querying?  If so I can relate.

For some reason I believe us writers are programmed this way.  We have an inward drive to succeed, and we have goals.  We’re driven towards a target whether that be finishing a manuscript, a date we want to query by, edits we want to finish, or a date we want to publish by.  Sometimes the timeframe is set by us, and sometimes it’s put in place by others.  

But at what cost are we pursing our goals?

I believe that it’s important for us to take time to just be ourselves, to unwind, to allow ourselves to have time away – guilt-free – from the WIP, the edits, the querying, the marketing, the networking, and just be us.  Why?  Because if we don’t we risking losing it all together.  Our focus will be so off-kilter it would be like a sky diver trying to balance a level – it’s not going to happen.

So if you find yourself unbalanced, how can you fix it?

Go for a walk.  Clear your head.  Think about anything but your WIP.

Confide in someone.  Hate to say it, but sometimes just speaking to someone can help balance everything.

Readjust your goals.   Maybe you really don’t need to have everything accomplished by the timeframe you have in mind?

Realign your goals/possibly readjust to make them more reasonable.  You have 540 pages to edit, you have a full-time job, but you give yourself two weeks to hard edit and enter.  Realistic?  Not necessarily.

Set aside time for everything.  Do you have time in your life for family, friends, exercise, proper diet, recreation, or are you consumed by your love of writing?

Maybe you don't think your life is out of balance at all, and maybe it's not.  In that case, I applaud you.  

But I believe everyone should ask themselves this question:  has your lifestyle changed since you've focused on your writing?

Of course, that's a very personal question, but an important one.

If you've experienced this "tightrope" of trying to balance life with your writing, how do you manage to keep "level"?


  1. My life has changed drastically since I've devoted more time to my writing, but I manage to balance it out well. I spend the weekends focused on my children and try to fit as much writing time in during the week days after work. It's not easy, but I wouldn't change it.

  2. So true. After a weekend of refilling and cooling off, I now have energy to get back to my work.

  3. I agree. When I was writing my first novel, I ended up in a very dark place emotionally. I think the reason was not only some of the themes I was working with, but also because I spent so much time looking inward, that I managed to shut out a lot of what was going on around me. if left to my own devices, I am positively morose.

  4. good advice Carolyn.sometimes you concentrate so much on your writing that you use all your time on it.

  5. this became a problem when i first got my ipad. too easy to write everywhere at every pause in the action!

  6. Miranda and Rebecca, It sounds like you two have a good routine down - a weekend of rest. I usually make myself work extra hard. Of course, I can't always fit much in the way of edits during the workweek, but I have work at it not being all consuming! I work hard, I deserve at least one day a week where I just play - spend it with family and friends. :)

    Darian, hope you're doing better these days.

    And Sheilagh and Tara - my problem. lol I can't shut it off - not that that's a bad thing, but sometimes, I have to say it's OKAY if you want to step away.


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