Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Writer's Wednesday: A Juggler's Life

We developed Oasis for YA with the idea that it would be a sanctuary for YA writers. Lord knows we need it. Most of us are spouses, parents and maybe some other career first, authors second. We lead busy lives and what little time we can eek out of each day we spend pursuing our love of the written word. The problem is, if we've got too many balls in the air, something's bound to drop. So this week, we wanted to pass on some stress-relieving tips for juggling your life and your WIP(s).

1.  Use Your Senses.  Your five senses can be powerful tools.  Ever catch a whiff of something and you're transported back to a years-old memory?  The same thing happens with music too. You hear a song and all of a sudden you're back in high school, driving around on the wrong side of the tracks while your crazy friends hang out of the sunroof.  (Maybe that one's just me.)  Use these powerful memory-jogging tools to get you back into your writing groove as you switch between WIPs, or just writing and life. Create a book-specific playlist. Choose a signature scent and light candles in that fragrance to put you in the right mindset. You'll transition more smoothly into your writing and probably ease a little tension along the way too.
2.  Set Goals and Be Accountable.  Don't go all crazy and set yourself up for failure, but set some goals. And make yourself accountable to someone else for getting your goals accomplished. Nikki and I decided a few months back that we'd hold each other accountable for 50 pages of revisions each week. Knowing that I had to explain myself to someone else if I didn't get through those pages lit a flame under me. Perhaps as importantly, by getting the pages edited, I was able to shed the guilt I'd been carrying about not finishing. And shedding guilt can be a huge stress reliever too. That being said...

3.  Allow Yourself a Day Off.  The wonderful thing about being authors is that our manuscripts will always be there tomorrow. Hopefully we'll all have some agent or editor-imposed deadlines to meet, but for the most part, we work at our own pace. If you need to go get a manicure (or for guys, catch a quick 9 holes) instead of writing one day, give yourself permission. Take an hour to catch up on your favorite TV show, or really talk to your significant other or kids. Sometimes our brains cry out for a break -- so they can recharge with more creativity and energy -- and instead of heeding the call, we press on. Unless you have to, don't. The burn out is just not worth it. As Donna Tartt said: "But it's for every writer to decide his own pace, and the pace varies with the writer and the work."

How do you juggle writing and life? We'd like to know your tips for getting it done while staying stress-free.

Images borrowed from: and


  1. Nice post, Jessie. I appreciate it.

  2. Stress free? That would be a stiff drink of vodka. Just kidding ... sort of! My life has been one big ball of stress for a few years now. Writing is actually my relief from "real life" but it can be stressful, and I hold myself miserably accountable for my self-imposed deadlines. Especially that first draft. Which is why I'm not starting a new WIP until fall when the kids are back in school! In the meantime I'll edit and I want to put together a book profile for the upcoming one... I guess I do have some things to get busy on :)

  3. Take a day off. Mine is Sunday. I do no writing, book promos - nothing. Once a month a weekend off from the internet too. Priceless.

  4. separate from the internet? *places hand over heart* I didn't know such a thing was possible - or advisable!


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