Your Life is waiting for you

The most solid advice . . . for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.  WILLIAM SAROYAN


You’re overwhelmed, overworked, writing till the wee hours of the morning to catch up. You get things done but your exhausted, some days you never step out side. There isn’t any end in sight as the days march on and the mountain of work never diminishes.

There’s a problem with living this way. As artists it’s hard to turn down work or  manage our time in a organized fashion. But the reason you need to is simple.

You need to live life.

Living life doesn’t mean working yourself to the bone. It means going out to dinner. Going outside. Taking a day off. Playing with your kids. Playing basketball. Not letting the days pass in a fog but being in the moment and enjoying the moment.

Taking a day off doesn’t mean your lazy. Writers need days off as much as any other human being. Maybe even more! Getting away from the words will recharge the brain. Have you ever found you solve a writing problem after you’ve stepped away from the page? I solve more plot holes on walks than I do staring blankly at the immovable words.

You need to get a hobby.

Seriously. I’m not talking macrame or stamp collecting. A hobby is something, that isn’t your job that you gladly spend time doing. It can be anything. Hobbies use a different part of your brain and that’s important. If you’re only a writer all the time, that will lead to burn out.

My hobby is being an Aunt. I have two nieces and I make an effort to go see them, to plan activities for them. It’s never dull, always fun and if you want to learn how to be creative, hang out with a four year old. I also practice yoga, bake and travel. 

All of this makes me a better writer. It’s good to use different parts of your brain. Sure, you still have to manage your time so that it’s not a 24 hour niece yoga baking party on the beach. But life is about balance.  

What is your balance between writing and life?



Time Never Magically Appears

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. – William Penn (1699)


Even in the 17th century they worried about time. We always want more and no one’s figured out yet how to make the day longer.

If you are overwhelmed, if you take on too many projects, the first place to look is time. How do you manage your time as a writer?

I’ll get to it…. later…..

Many artists suffer from the misuse of time. Whether it’s not buckling down to consistent work day after day, a disorganized calendar which makes us too busy to be productive. Do you know someone who constantly cries I need more time!

Time management is your best friend as a free lance artist. Because you don’t have a traditional nine to five job, you have to figure out not only when you’re going to work but how long projects are going to take.

Get control of you time

Put writing time in your schedule or calendar. 

If you’re not writing consistently, start thinking of it as an appointment you can’t miss. You wouldn’t blow off your doctor (I’ll get there…later) don’t blow off your writing time. If it’s in the schedule, don’t cancel it. Don’t put something else in it’s place, don’t agree to go for coffee. Keep that appointment.

If you don’t like the rigidity of an appointed writing time in your day – then block off times in the calendar where you’re not allowed to schedule anything else. The last week of the month for example.

Overestimate your time. If you’re teaching a workshop, or giving a presentation, don’t just schedule the day. Block off two days before hand. That way you give yourself time to review notes, to prepare, to even just think about what you’re going to do. There’s nothing worse than feeling unprepared or looking unprepared for an event.

Look at your calendar daily. It’s great if you’ve got everything mapped out on your calendar. It’s not great if you never look at it and you make plans on the fly. That’s how you end up double booking, or not giving yourself fully to a project because you’re swamped. Put your calendar on your phone. Have it at your finger tips so that if someone wants you to do a reading, or wants to set up a meeting you can be honest about your time. Which leads to the best tip for time management….

Say no. If someone asks you to do something, and you’re booked up, say no. Don’t imagine you’re going to re-organize your time to make it work. Or that time will magically appear to make it happen. Time never magically appears.

Give yourself time to have a life

 Time management is not about being rigid. It’s about being organized, productive, and ultimately giving yourself time to have a life. As artists it’s important that we get out into the world. That we examine humanity. How can we do that if we’re hunched over our work 24/7?

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Groucho Marx