Drawing Lines in the Sand

- by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Hello Everyone! This is my first Ninc Blog post and I thought I’d kick off by whining. Okay, maybe not whining, but at least talking about a hazard of writing. What is it you ask? It’s the inability to stop. I’m not talking here about getting on a roll and keeping going until you run out of words. What I’m talking about is finding a healthy balance between writing and not writing.

Here’s the problem for me. Like many writers, I work a day job and have a family. But I also have deadlines and with the day job and the family, sometimes I worry that I will not hit my deadlines. So I end up squeezing writing into every spare moment. In fact, I reach a point where if I’m not writing or folding clothes or digging in the dirt or running errands or grading papers or prepping classes (you get the idea–doing something constructive)–if I’m not doing something useful, then I start to feel like I’m lazy or I start panicking that I’m not getting enough done.

I’ll say it: this is not healthy. Vacations are good. Taking evenings off and having down time–these are vital. But it’s finding the balance that’s difficult. I even reached the point where I would miss some of my kids’ events because I had to write. But the truth is, I don’t. Or rather, I can’ t make it more of a priority than my own health or my family or enjoying life. Because as much as I love writing, without a life, it doesn’t really matter much.

This year I made a decision simply not to worry about when I’m not writing. I drop it to go take the kids swimming at the Y, or to take them to football, or to work on plans for remodeling the kitchen (that begins all too soon and will involve construction). I’ve decided that worrying when I’m supposed to be having fun is not only stupid and destructive, but annoying. It ruins the fun. So I’ve decided not to and I’ve found that my ability to write and get down words during my writing times has improved. Imbalance of the life and mind (no, I’m not unbalanced–stop it), leads to an inability to write well.

I still squeeze writing time in as often as I can, but I’m lot less frantic about it. If I can, I do, but I no longer let it dominate my life.


  1. Hey, check out my blog entry on tips for kitchen remodeling:

    I know what you mean about writing dominating your life. For me, it’s not so much the writing as the promotion. That can squeeze away any spare time.

    Sorry about posting my book winner today…I didn’t realize we were supposed to do it on Sunday. It’s my first time on here too.

  2. I wish I could figure out promotion. Arg. No problem on the bookwinner. I haven’t sorted out the give away thing either, so it’s all good.


  3. All work and no play makes everyone dull. We all need down time to recharge our batteries.

  4. Welcome Diana.

    Being a write is just like any job really, we all need to take breaks to clear up our minds, unlike today for me though. It seems that it helps. :)

    Nancy, I thought so, belated welcome to you also. :)