Wednesday, May 19, 2021

I confess.... by Cathy Ace

Q: Balancing work and home life, do you work set hours, or do you find the writing work flow demands different time from you depending on where in the process you are?

Looks like it’s confession time for me here again. Here goes: I’m not naturally good at the whole work/life balance thing. I’m one of those people who lives to work, as opposed to the (probably much more sensible) folks who work to live. But that’s me.

That said…Husband retired just over three years ago, and we had A Good Long Talk at that time. He used to be out of here at 5.30am, I was up at 7am with the dogs, then I’d work/sort the house & garden, he’d get home around 8.30pm, we’d eat, he’d go to bed, I’d go back to work at my desk. Repeat. We’d use his annual vacation and a few long weekends to the best of our ability. So, you know, a normal life. His long days meant I was able to get a lot done. Then…he was at home all day, and has been ever since (little lockdown joke there!). I LOVE IT!!!!! He’d put off his retirement by a couple of years so I could “see how this writing thing worked out”. He deserves my company now, and I deserve his.

So, back then, I promised: only one book per year (not the three I had been – somehow – writing); more team-time (we work in the garden, often a few acres apart, but we get done what needs doing); more exploring the world (you can guess how that’s going…but we managed the South Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia before the world closed for business).

Sydney, Australia, 2019

I’ve stuck to that so far.

So, overall, I think I have a better balance now.

When it comes to the more specific part of this week’s question – yes, the time I give to my writing varies significantly depending on the stage of the book I’m at. My most productive writing time is from about 9pm to 2am. Maybe that pattern is born from the time when Husband was in bed by then, as were all the dogs, but now there are no dogs, and we can stay up as late as we like because he doesn't have to get up at 4.30am any longer...but my creative juices pump best during those hours, so that's when I write. Plotting, researching, and even editing, I can do during daylight hours, so I tend to work at my desk during the day when I'm in those stages...except for plotting, which is all in my head, so the summer months in the garden allow me to indulge my green thumb and plot the next book. 

Me, plotting!!

Come the autumn, I’ll be able to snuggle by the fire and research, and that’s when we move plants around the garden. Pre-Christmas? House decorating, I reckon, final research and outlining. January first – bum at desk, and TYPE!!!! 

But now I have to go. Today’s our wedding anniversary and Husband just came back indoors having planted a tree…he rolled his eyes then laughed like a drain when I told him I was writing a blog telling people how much better I am these days at work/life balance!!!! We just have to wait for the chap servicing our generator to be finished, then we can go out to celebrate...we're off to our local nursery to pick out some special plants to commemorate our wedding day...altogether now...awww. 

May 17th, 2004, Honolulu

If you'd like to find out more about my work, check out my website: click here for website

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Catriona McPherson said...

Happy anniversary, Cathy! And thank you for "laugh like a drain". My editor made me take that out of a book recently. I'm over it.

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks, Catriona. Noooo...take it out? I once had to take out "belt and braces" because...well, braces! LOL! Glad you're over ;-)

Susan C Shea said...


Josh Stallings said...

Erika and I just had and anniversary, we also buy plants to celebrate. It sound like you have this balance thing relatively in hand. And I like how it works with the seasons. You are an organic word farmer. Well done.

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks, Josh, I love the idea that I'm a word farmer xx