I get the question in interviews all the time, “How do you do it all?” They’re talking about agenting, authoring, mothering, wifing…okay, I made up that last word. The real question is, “How would I stop?” Here are the hard truths:
-Any day I don’t write feels wasted. It doesn’t matter what else I do that day, if I didn’t make progress on my writing, life feels meaningless. Seriously. I can’t not write, for the sake of my own sanity. It’s not about how hard it is to make time, it’s about how impossible I’d be to live with if I didn’t.
-I’m a Type A personality and an extreme workaholic. Any day I find myself with extra time I feel like I didn’t plan carefully enough. I don’t feel relieved that I can take a break, I feel like there’s something I should be doing that I’m not and it stresses me out. Luckily, I’ve always got as much work as I can handle, sometimes more.
-My husband and son are a) very understanding, b) frequently off at Boy Scouting events, giving me guilt-free time to work and c) creative types themselves. My son is a huge reader, so often he cuddles up to me and reads when I do, which makes it family time as well as “work.” My husband is a kick. He provides inspiration and sometimes even guest blogs about why you should buy his wife’s book.
-I’m a book addict. I’d be reading non-stop even if I weren’t repping authors and writing myself, so my off-hours really aren’t so different as an agent than they would be as a layperson, except for the critiquing.
I’ve had to learn to take time for myself every once in a while so that I don’t burn out. This does =not= come naturally to me. So I do things like get a monthly subscription for massages and pre-schedule appointments, because if I had to call to set them up, I’d never decide I had the time. I make promises to my husband and son, as in, “I’ll only work up to noon on the weekends and not past nine o’clock on weeknights.” (Yeah, this is my schedule.) I plan vacations and getaways, where I step away from my computer. The latter doesn’t happen often, but when it does…whew!
All in all, as crazed as my life can be, I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Although I’m still waiting on my version of Batman’s Alfred to bring me espresso drinks and meals when I need them so that I don’t have to pause what I’m doing to feed the body. Chicken Soup for the Agent’s Soul?)