Thursday, February 11, 2010

Confessions of an Overworked Writer's 1am, after what I like to call my Wicked Wednesday (because I'm gone--with no real breaks--from 10am to 10pm, and then I squeeze a couple hours of writing time in until I crash) and well, I'm feeling fairly pathetic. So I tried to convince myself that I am--in fact--not as pathetic as I feel and well ... it turns out I AM!

Don't believe me?

Confession #1: I had no idea last Sunday was the Superbowl until one of my CPs mentioned it in an email WHILE THE GAME WAS ALREADY ON!!!!!!! No really. I'm THAT out of touch right now.

Confession #2: Most days I don't eat breakfast. Or lunch. It's a combination of factors really. I have no time to make food--which is good because there's generally no food in my house because I have no time to go to the grocery store. And stress takes my appetite away, so I rarely even get hungry enough to remind me that I haven't eaten.

Confession #3: I've had to pay almost all my bills by credit card the last couple months--not because I didn't have the money in my account, but because I forgot to pay them until the day they were due and had to race to the website to pay by credit card to avoid a ton of late fees.

Confession #4: My 5 year anniversary was in July. For my present, my husband was supposed to upgrade to my ring to a new setting--but since I haven't had time to go to the jeweler to pick out what I want, I still haven't gotten it. Yes that's right--writing has kept me away from getting DIAMONDS. And at the rate things are going, it's not looking like I'll have time to get it done before my next anniversary swings around. *sighs*

Confession #5: I only have a handful of things I can wear in my closet, and this is because most of my clothes: don't fit because I've lost weight, need to be dropped off at the tailor or the dry cleaner, or need to be ironed. So I kinda wear the same things over and over--and they're not even all that cute. But I have no time to shop, iron, or go to the tailor icon I am not.

I could keep going, but I don't want to sound like I'm whining--because I'm not! No really, I can't complain because here's the worst confession of them all:

I only work part time, I have no kids, and my husband is actually a really big help around the house.

And I know for a fact that most of you guys have WAY fuller plates than that: full time jobs and kids and all kinds of other responsibilities I can't even imagine. So here's the real reason for this post:


How do you you find time to eat and sleep and have suitable clothes to wear and work and take care of your families and keep up with the world AND write? Some of you even sound like you have lives. do you do it??????? Do you get more hours in the day than I do? 

Any tips or secrets you have, I'd love to hear--because I'm stumped!

And...I'm about to collapse onto my keyboard, so I think it's time to get my four hours of sleep before I start another busy day of work and editing tomorrow. Ah, the glamorous life I lead...


  1. I wish I could help, but I have a feeling we all struggle with this. I spend way too much time on blogs and not enough on writing. Though, the blogging I can do in five minute spurts while kids are distracted. The writing, not so much. I do feel a lot more organized since I discovered Google reader. I love it! But there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to do it all and I've often wondered the same thing.

    I asked on facebook once and my good friend, Mercedes, said. "No one does it all. If they say they are, they're lying." I think she's right. Unless one of them has super powers they're not telling us about, we just can't do it all.

  2. LOL awwww! Must send a care package of clothes and food!

  3. I won't even pretend that I do it all...but I do a LOT...2 kids under 5...part time Grad school...blogging...making stuff and selling it online...trying to write a novel. How do I get anything (not everything) done? Well, the big hard truth is you have to...HAVE to set aside either a) a little time each day or b) a big chunk of time once a week to do "the stuff". My "time to do the stuff" is the hour or so before my kids get up...which also means I'm up at 5 am with my hubs...or on the two mornings per week while they are at preschool. I make a weekly "to do" list...then make myself kill it off during those times. Bills paid, laundry done, errands run...all at once. Yeah it means waking up earlier even when I don't want to...even when I'm dead tired...even when I'd rather be doing other things. And...not everything gets killed off the list every it gets bumped to the top of the "to do" for the next week.

    So try this...sit down and write a list of your top 5 things you need to get done. Next...put aside two hours over the weekend and promise yourself to do the things on your list. Iron your clothes for the week...go shopping for some quickie meals for the week...drop off stuff at the dry cleaner and/or tailor. If you start you week off all prepped, you won't be running around like a mad woman during the week. Just try it...even if just once!

  4. I'm magical. I've created a little machine that stops time and I climb in it ever day and take naps and write while my children sit on the couch frozen in time. It's great.

    I'd love to share it and all, but there is only one and you live all the way across the country and so you're going to have to make your own.

    All you need is a few toilet paper rolls (Well you are taller than me so you may want to use paper towel rolls) some duct tape and chocolate. I decorated mine with stickers and construction paper and then poured glitter on it to make it sparkle. Everything is better when it sparkles!

    Good luck!

  5. *fights the urge to smack Shannon*

    *continues to fight the urge*

    *decides to stop fighting*

    *realizes he can't smack Shannon 'cause she's in California*

    *curses a bit*

    Sleep loss. I do it via sleep loss. That's about it.

    Now go eat, dammit.

  6. Wish I could help. I've taken a break from my normal blogging schedule for a bit for this very reason.

    Now go eat something.

  7. Okay, the ideal breakfast food for me has become almonds (or some kind of nutty trail mix). Why, you ask? Because I can eat it while I drive and if I spill, it doesn't leave a spot on my shirt!

  8. Wait - so, if you work part time and have no kids, what is it that fills up all that time on Wednesdays when are you gone? I am assuming, from your USC posts, that you take classes. So that's probably what it is. I will say this: if you don't even have time to eat (?!) then something needs to go! It's not healthy to be so pressed for time that you can't make a sandwich or eat some yogurt in the morning.

    I actually struggled last semester because I was teaching high school full time, then tutoring after school for a couple hours, plus teaching ESL once a week, running a fund raiser, and trying to keep up with my other responsibilities while writing a book. I don't have kids either, so my stress level could only be blamed on myself. I finally had to cut the ESL and the after-school tutoring, and guess what? Now I get stuff done and I don't want to cry every day!

  9. Aw girl! You can't skip the food! I forgo the sleep. I get maybe 4 hours a night, then nap when I get home for 3, that's my sleep pattern.
    I work 40 hours a week, no kids, helpful husband (who's unemployed right now) so that's really all I do. I work in a mall office, so I can find good clothes at work. I am on a bowling league on Mondays, so that helps break it all up, and I see my friends on the weekend days sometimes.

    Maybe write down what you do, and when you do it, to see where some things can get cut or added?

    Find a way to eat though - not good! Wishing you luck with the time management - it's an up-hill battle for me too ;o)

  10. I want to know who finds time to iron. My iron is still in a box on a shelf in my laundry room.

    Don't worry about it, Shannon! You're doing great. Just try to eat a peanut-butter sandwich every now and again, lol!

  11. Okay I have to say I am right there with Simon...
    EAT GIRL! Seriously you want to have the strength to even travel on your fabulous book tour when it occurs! I mean girl - food is important to stimulate that amazing writing mind of yours!

    Now on the juggling side...I, like you, don't have kids & have an amazing husband. That being said I do a lot during the day and week. Full time job, shop, eat, write, blog, paint, sketch, visit with friends & family, watch television, watch movies, keep up with entertainment nonsense, paint my toe nails, talk on the phone, complain about entertainment nonsense...there's more but I realize my life is much like a teenager's sometimes. :o)

    Really though it is possible to do many things and still get some time in for you. I agree with AlyGatr, the list is prominent in my life but more so is the set aside time for things I want/need to accomplish on a specific day. Sometimes it is houseworthy things like laundry or cleaning, others it is a pedicure or wandering the aisles at Target searching for something completely silly to purchase or maybe it is a weekend with my nieces & nephews...But most of all take time to eat, take time to get some sleep, take time to sit back and think about your work - give it space, let it breathe.

    Trust me, my characters are right there with me complaining about Brangelina's new weird facial hair(I mean come on Brad you look like the Troll under the bridge right now!)they never leave. This isn't something that I have always been good with, it takes practice and anyone who is Type A like me has to work at it. So breathe, enjoy a few moments to yourself and tell your characters that you have to eat - heck order something extra just for them....umm...yeah scratch the last part - I don't do that..not often anyway ;o)

  12. Okay, first of all GO EAT SOMETHING WOMAN! ;-)

    Second of all, I am right there with you. And I don't even have a freaking part time job. Do you ever look at writers who write, blog, have kids and have jobs and want to fall at their feet in awe of how the hell they do it all?

  13. I think everyone struggles with balance. I have to say, like previous posters, that if you don't have time to eat, something has GOT TO GIVE!! I have a part-time job, 2 kids under 5, a husband, and I'm taking classes.

    It's easy to get overwhelmed. I have no magic answers. Some days it's just about survival. I have accepted that there just isn't enough time, really. But I've learned to prioritize, and to say no a lot! I don't take on any more than the list above, and my husband supports my need to write and exercise.

    But I always eat and sleep. Those just aren't negotiable!!!

    Now, really, I hope you're eating a big, fat sandwich right about now! :)

  14. btw, thanks for visiting my blog! I'm loving yours!

  15. Yeah...I do it, but I'm a bit of a lunatic. So, there's really no solid or sound advice that would be able to explain the insanity of my life. :)

  16. Sadly, I'm in the same boat you are. Today I put the garbage out after the truck had already been by and the dogs tore open my garbage all over the street. *sigh*


  17. Nisa: Aw, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. And I know what you mean, it's hard to find a BIG block of time to get some writing done, whereas blogging is more of a quick spurt kind of thing. And I love your friend's answer--thanks for sharing!

    Frankie: LOL. I'm kinda scared of what kind of clothes you might send me--especially after all my threats of white bunny shorts and red wellies. ;)

    AlyGatr: Thank you so much for all the suggestions. I will *try* to apply them. It's funny, I'm normally a list person, but lately my list has gotten so out of control crazy long that it was stressing me out too much to look at it. So I like your idea of limiting it to the top five. THAT I might be able to handle. ;)

    Marybeth: LOL. I'll have to try making your invention--maybe it will make me magical too!

    Simon: LOL. Now...a mind LESS innocent than mine would probably have all kinds of jokes and suggestions about you saying you want to smack me. But my naive, middle grade mentality can't think of a thing. And okay, I'm going to eat right now. Sheesh!

    Karen: I'm almost ready to do the same thing. But I'm still trying to figure out a way to do it without letting you guys down (since I know my posts are the HIGHLIGHT of your day #delusional) And okay, I will go eat.

    Storyqueen--That's actually pretty genius. THe next time I manage to get my butt to a grocery store I'm picking some up!

    Anne: Actually, I've graduated, so I'm not taking classes. But my job is a little more than part time, and I have a few other obligations I can't get out of that were way too boring to mention in my post, so that fills my day. But I know. I need to figure out somewhere to cut. I'm just not sure where... Glad to hear you've got a better hold on your schedule!

    Erica: If it's any consolation, the forgoing of food often isn't conscious. It's not like I sit there starving and deprive myself of food. I just get so busy I forget to eat. But maybe I'll try your suggestion about tracking where my time goes. Could be an interesting experiment.

    Tere: LOL. Ironing haters unite! And ooo--peanut butter sandwiches--I forgot about those. Those SAVED me during film school (talk about no time) So...I think I'll have to give that a try. Assuming I can remember to keep bread in the house...

    Southern Princess: Okay, I'll go eat. Sheesh! And okay, if you can juggle all of that then maybe I can too. (And really, Brad Pitt has weird facial hair? I'm SOOOOO out of touch!!!!! Googling now...)

    Sara: Yay--I knew you would understand. And yes, I do. That's why I'm seeking their wisdom, because I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY DO IT!!!!

    Kelly: Aw, thanks for the followback and the support. Wow--you live a crazy schedule. I'm SO impressed. And I'm not eating yet, but I will, I promise. And I'm glad you're enjoying my blog. I've been kinda bad at blog hopping lately so if I don't stop by your blog super regular please don't hold it against me. I'll be a better follower once I finish these revisions.

    Tiffany: Aw, I'm impressed. And you don't seem insane. I'm guessing you're just EXCELLENT at multitasking.

    Ann: Aw...{{Hugs}} I totally laughed at your story, but only because I can relate. My cats are famous for hacking up a hairball right as I'm racing out the door for work. *sighs*

  18. Thanks for stopping by my blog and following me!I love new blog buddies!!!

    I'm a follower *stalker* of your blog now too!!! :)

  19. I feel the same way. It's sooo hard to find hours in the day. I work full time and I am good for nothing in the mornings. When I get home from work, usually around 5:45-ish, hubs wants to spend an hour telling me about his day.

    Then I read blogs, write my post if I haven't already, watch prime time tv, read, and try to get to bed by midnight. Hubs does the cooking, which is nice. Um, neither of us really clean much. Is that bad?!

    I write (and sometimes blog) during my lunch hour. It isn't enough time! I have a hard time writing at night, with hubs on the couch next to me, and I'm a little secretive about it, so I can't just go into another room and close the door. I think I should start doing that, though -- or going somewhere Starbucks-ish in the evenings.

    I try to write more on the weekends. I encourage hubs to go out and have boys night just to get the alone time in my house.

    We don't have kids -- I don't know how mother's manage to get anything done at all!

  20. I wish I knew how to make more time. I'm always crazy busy and multi-tasking is the only way to survive. My job takes a minimum of 55 hours a week - often more, sometimes a LOT more.

    I read/comment on others blogs while I get dressed, dry my hair and eat in the morning, while I make supper and clean up at night. I actually interact with my family while we eat :)


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