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What Do You Sacrifice To Write?

Last month, Rachelle Gardner over at Rants & Ramblings wrote a great post on what we give up as writers, which got me thinking about the things I give up every week so I can work on my WIP:

1. Sleep
2. Watching movies
3. Going on dates with my husband
4. Reading more
5. Making more money
6. Spending more time with friends
7. Cooking more
8. Exercise
9. Gardening
10. Cleaning out the basement (I really want to do that—it’s a disaster)
11. Organizing photos
12. Hiking, rock climbing, yoga
13. Shopping
14. Fun family activities

Of all the things I give up, the ones I miss the most are #4, #12, and #14. I don’t give up time with my kids. I have two days, and sometimes three, that I work, but I’m with them the other 4-5 days, and we do a million activities together. That’s important to me. They’ll only be little once, and the first years go by so fast, and a book isn’t worth missing out on that. But what I do miss is the group family activities I give up on the weekends. Every weekend since I started my $100 a week goal, my husband has watched the munchkins for one day while I stay home and write. They go to the Tilden Park steam trains, to Fairyland, to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, and I sit in a dark room staring at my laptop. But these past two weekends I took a break from my WIP, and it was really nice. We went to the museum one day with friends. We went to the San Francisco Academy of Sciences one day. We spent a day in the backyard playing in the kiddie pool and sandbox. (I played in the kiddie pool while my husband finished building the sandbox.) The problem with taking breaks is that I find it really hard to start working again. It’s like going on vacation and realizing, “Wow! Life doesn’t have to be work all the time! It can be FUN!” and not wanting to go back to work the following Monday.

So what about you? What do you sacrifice to write? And when do you take breaks to have fun?

8 comments to What Do You Sacrifice To Write?

  • Ditto your post-break thoughts. Which is why sometimes I feel like it's better not to take breaks. (That said, I don't REALLY think it's better not to take breaks. It's unhealthy to work 24/7.)

    I sacrifice more or less the same things:

    1. Making more money / stable career

    2. Spending more time with my boyfriend and dog

    3. Sleep

    4. TV

    5. Reading more

    6. Establishing a consistent workout routine

    7. Socializing

    8. Being as generous (with time/money/whatever) as I would like to be

    The hardest sacrifices for me to make are the ones that affect other people, like my boyfriend or my family. Less sleep or TV only deprive me, and this writing thing is my choice so that's okay. But my friends didn't choose writing; I did. That's what makes it hard for me to say no to them sometimes (although I realize that sometimes I have to).

    I *try* (with varying degrees of success) to take breaks on a regular basis, i.e., spend some time every weekend with my boyfriend (golf and dinner, or cooking out with friends, etc.) and also on a smaller scale every day (like 30 min on the couch just hanging out). The phrase "work-life balance" exists for a reason, right? 😛

  • I'm sacrificing a lot less than I used to, though I probably don't spend as much time with my kids as I should. And I would like to read more (before my TBR pile collapses on me). I don't watch much TV, which is something I don't miss. I'd rather read a book. 🙂

  • Sanity. Money. Graceful retirement.

  • Definitely sleep. But more to the point, I sacrifice my patience and good mood because I am CRANKY from not getting enough sleep. Which makes me feel guilty for being snappish. So there goes my peace of mind as well.

    On the other hand, I would probably be cranky if I didn't write too. So I need to find the middle ground somehow — a middle ground where I am less CRANKY!!! Perhaps I am just kidding myself. Maybe crankiness is who I am. 🙂

  • Kristan and Kristen – I was up until 2 a.m. and then back up at 7 when my baby woke up this morning. Normally, I'd beg my husband to get up so I can sleep for another hour or two, but I feel like he's been doing that a lot lately, so I let him sleep and I got up. By the time I got to my office at 11, I checked e-mail, pumped, wrote a little, went out to get lunch, ate lunch, and then was so bleary-eyed I couldn't write any more (remember, Kristan, when I said I can't concentrate on writing when I'm overtired?), so I went to sleep for THREE HOURS. Now I'm pumping again (and checking e-mail) and it's time to go home. UGH. The good thing is I'll be well rested to do it all over again tonight – stay up late working, sleep five hours, beg my husband to get up while I sleep (he'll owe me tomorrow) …

    Stina – I, too, have a TBR pile collapsing on me! (I still buy books even though I have an iPad now. Just can't break the habit.)

    Travener – well said!

  • I don't say that I am giving up anything to write. I write because I want to write. If it is time to exercise, it is time to exercise. I do not skip a workout to write. I go workout then come home and write about it.

    I keep my garage neat but not spotless. I know that I will never organize my photos and I am fine with that. I took an SLR camera class last year and everyone wanted to know if there was a magic formula to keep the pictures organized. There isn't one.

    A long time ago my wife and I settled on one weekend day for me and one for her. I will occasionally watch a movie with my wife but she will owe me for that. I get grumpy if I have to sit through a long movie.

    It is easy for me to not give up anything for writing because I write for fun and I do not get paid for writing. My payment is when I meet someone who knows me because of my website. I really like when people send me emails asking for advice. That means people are reading what I write. That makes me happy. My children are also old enough to be self sufficient.


  • Ted – Another friend said the same on Twitter this morning – that she doesn't feel she gives up anything to write because writing is fun. Although I love to write, my process of revising my book isn't that fun, and I do feel I have to give up some other things to get it done. I'm also envious of people who have time to write AND exercise AND do the other things they want to do. When I was training for the half marathon Jan-March, I didn't get much writing done. There just aren't enough hours in the day. But that goes with the territory of having two small kids. It won't be forever.

  • Joy

    Sleep is what I've sacrificed in a big way, except I can't blame that totally on writing, what with all the surfing I do. 😀 I'd love to read more, but I try to pick up stuff that reads fast, so I'm forced to continue. Exercise, I can take or leave, but not for long. How I need it! My little garden has turned into a wildness-in-bloom. If I told you that I remember the last time I tended it, that would be a lie.