photo by Fyfe Photography
Balancing Home Life with your Writing Career
by Barbara Mack
by Barbara Mack
I’ve been a freelance writer for a long time, and up until the last couple of years it wasn’t a problem. I had older children, and they understood that their mother was prone to muttering to herself and writing frantically on scraps of paper at dinner. They didn’t care if I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and started banging away on the keyboard; they slept through it. As long as I was up at breakfast time (however groggy and incoherent I might be), it was all good.
Then I remarried.
Suddenly it wasn’t acceptable to sink into deep thought and not speak (except to myself) for hours at a time. Plotting my character arc at dinner was perceived as rude. I couldn’t ignore the dirty dishes piled in the sink. (Well, I could, but then felt incredibly guilty when my new husband did the dishes while I wrote.)
Also, there was the common problem that work-at-home people face – You’re home, so you must be able to take care of this (insert any word here) for me. It ate into my writing time, and it caused me stress. Stress makes my writing suffer.
It got to the point where I was having trouble writing anything at all.
I loved my new husband, and I loved my writing. I had to find a way to balance my life. I set a schedule, and tried to stick to it. I wrote in the mornings, took a break for lunch, and then resumed until he came home from work. I tried to make it clear that, though I worked at home, it is still work and it needs to be attended to. An occasional break from that is okay, but anything other than occasional cuts into my writing time and is unacceptable.
For the most part, it works. I’m always going to be a person who thinks about writing a lot, and sometimes I’m going to be working on something in my head when I should be concentrating on other things. My husband forgives the dirty clothing piled up in the hamper, and I forgive his occasional forays into ‘You have plenty of time’ world. We try to meet each others' needs while still meeting our own, and that makes it work for the most part.
Though I will admit to sometimes writing at 3:00 a.m. when I have insomnia and my fingers itch to type.
About the author:
her novel excerpt.
As with all of the other guest posts, there is a prize to be won with this post too. The prize to be won is "Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers" by Mary Kole. If you are already a signed up member of the Chapter Book Challenge, all you need to do to enter to win the prize is to leave a comment on this post by noon GMT on the 31st of March.
I know that many of you already have this book, so if you win this book and already have it, you may choose to have it sent to someone else in the challenge as a gift or you may choose one of the two items below from the Chapter Book Challenge 2013 shop as an alternative prize.