Monday, January 16, 2023

Life and Work

 Q: The balance between life and work can be difficult to manage as a writer, because we all "work at home". How do you succeed, and fail?

-from Susan...Excuse me, I have to check on the simmering pot of beans downstairs, and I think I hear the washing machine in the hall coming to a stop, and – wait – my pesky younger cat is giving me that special meow that says attention must be paid!

Yes, that’s me trying to write this and trying to write my current manuscript in between distractions. If that weren’t enough, my too-small desk is overflowing with pieces of paper that distract me: everything from health insurance docs to recipes to a printout of part of the Scrivener manual that makes me anxious every time I glimpse it. 

Balance? Succeed? It’s a wonder I get anything done at all. Periodically, I tell myself to get a grip and I clean the desk surface or persuade the cats to take a nap; but paper self-generates and cats, well, cats are cats, and they do not take orders. If it weren’t for editorial deadlines, I would have no spine at all.

The irony is I love to write. I love digging in to the lives of my characters, putting them into stressful situations and then helping them dig their way out. I enjoy the flow of words, when there is a flow, and seeing a story take shape and life. I love writing the very last scene where I can stitch together a restoration of balance between good and bad, and give my characters a few moments to bask in the warmth of their relationships.

There is a door to my home office. Why don’t I use it? Have you ever seen what happens when you close a door and leave a cat on the other side of it? Yeah, well. I live alone and can’t yell “Honey, would you stir the pot?” or “Would you take the trash out?” I participate in community projects and am committed to carry out my assigned tasks. (See below.) I don’t eat frozen meals. I did recently buy a Roomba as a present to myself, but she still needs my help maneuvering, so she doesn’t just wander down the hall.

What can I do about all of this? What advice do I have?

  • 1      Forget about having cats.
  • 2.     Door Dash
  • 3.     If you don’t have a partner, sweet talk someone into your life who likes taking out the trash.
  • 4.     Learn to say “no” to a lot of cool things. 
  • 5.     Grin and bear it because life is messy, rich, lively and having too much energy in your life is a lot worse than having too little.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is today, and I'm getting out to do some "good trouble," as the late Rep. John Lewis  urged us to do. A great way to get new energy!

"All Our Children United" tunnel art celebration November, 2022



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