Monday, December 13, 2010

Sacrifice

Pk Hrezo asked: How do you keep up with everything? I mean, really? Do you forget things? Or is your day all planned in Outlook?? (Google Calendar, but very, VERY close. And yes, I forget things, though I try really hard not to.)

Hannah Kincade asked: How do find the time, energy, skill, extra arms to do all of the things you do? I imagine you're like a Tasmanian devil just spinning and drooling in front of mutiple computers. Am I close? I mean, I want to see an actual daily plan. (Multiple computers? Caught! And I could email you my Google cal, but you might faint.)

Kerri C asked: How the heck do you manage kids, writing, and being a social web butterfly? (Read on...)

Theresa Milstein asked: What do you feel you need to sacrifice in order to work and to make time to write? (Many, many things. See below.)

Carol Kilgore asked: On an average day, how much time do you spend blogging and how much time do you spend writing? (Depends. Most weekdays, I read blogs for 2-3 hours. Writing...uh...depends.)

Abby Minard asked: with all the blogging, writing, emailing etc you do, how do you find a balance between that and your personal life? (I wear many hats, some on top of one another.)

Okay, so can you see a theme in these questions? They're all basically asking me how I accomplish what I accomplish. I've blogged about this before in various forms (time limits on certain things, blogging during lunch, etc.).

But the real answer is this: SACRIFICE.

Sometimes I sacrifice time with my family.
Sometimes I sacrifice making dinner.
Sometimes I sacrifice sleep.
Sometimes I sacrifice sanity.
Sometimes I sacrifice twitter/facebook.
Sometimes I sacrifice vacation time.
Sometimes I sacrifice weekends.

Sometimes I sacrifice you.

That's all there is to it. In order to do one thing, you must usually sacrifice another. You must choose.

That's why I make each choice as deliberately as I can. Because there are some things I'm not willing to sacrifice. And when I near that line, I pull back, sacrifice other things.

Choices, choices.

Because when I read your blogs, I'm not making dinner. When I'm involved in the twitter chats, I'm not spending time with my family. When I'm writing, I'm not sleeping, making dinner, or spending time with my family.

I am always sacrificing something. So I try to wear the hats I need to wear for the length of time I need to wear them, and then I take them off.

That's it.

Sacrifice.

What do you sacrifice to be able to write? What won't you sacrifice?

72 comments:

Gail said...

Isn't that what life, in general, is about...making choices and sacrificing?

You do it so very well...don't forget to give yourself some time!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I totally sacrifice the same things as you, except for dinner. My family expects me to make it, though I totally cook simple things. But definitely, I'm writing or blogging when my daughter and husband are watching TV and most of my little free time and many vacation days are taken up with writing/blogging.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Time with family and blogging are sacrificed when I write. What I won't sacrifice is my guitar time. Need that to relax.

Emily White said...

Such good questions! Yeah, I'd say time with family and blogging is sacrificed when I write. The only thing I can't sacrifice is sleep. I've tried, but when I'm sitting in front of my computer and my bed starts calling to me, the bed usually wins.

Vicki Rocho said...

Sacrifice is the name of the game. I sacrifice writing time to read/comment on blogs. Sacrifice family/fun time to write. There's just not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do, so who knows what hits the chopping block on any given day.

Susanne Winnacker said...

I sacrifice house work. My house could really need a thorough cleaning... :D

Theresa Milstein said...

I think your list at the bottom shows true balance - you rotate what you sacrifice.

Since working full-time I hardly write. I'm hoping to take advantage of the Christmas break, but I should probably query and plan for school too.

Before the full-time job if I was in a writing zone dinners became simpler, laundry piled, and I played with my kids less. Even my poor husband was ignored most evenings. But I write slower now, so it impacts everyone less than it used to.

Russo said...

Oh my goodness, I just found your blog and I love it. You've given an author in training some hope. I cannot wait for your novel to come out. Your book cover is incredible!

Rachel Morgan said...

I think I sacrifice everything you've mentioned. What I DON'T sacrifice is planning lessons every day because... well.. then I'd get fired for being a bad teacher!

Renae said...

Great questions, looks like you've found the right balance.

I sacrifice sleep, housework and cooking. Luckily for me, my husband fixes dinner and doesn't mind cleaning the house. I used to be such a neat freak, but when I'm in the middle of writing I tend to get tunnel vision.

Jen Daiker said...

Wow. Your life looks a lot like mine.

Sheesh.

Right now I still keep up with blogging but I've had to stop reading this week (that's a luxury) so I could pack and get ready for the big move.

I ask myself: Why the hell do I always choose to do so much at such a bad time.

Sarah said...

Such a great post! I think about this all the time. When I first started writing, I stopped watching television completely. Still haven't returned to it. I sacrifice all those other things you mentioned, but it's a constant balancing act! My family is patient with me, which helps.

Matthew Rush said...

Somehow I make it all work. I'm not sure how, but I probably write a lot less than most other writers. For example I cannot read pages for my crit group AND work on my own re-write on the same day. There just isn't time.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

You killed the vision of the superman cape,lol. True, true though. You have to give up something to get something. I sometimes give up family time to write. I won't give up Glee EVER!!

Marisa Hopkins said...

Fantastic that you admit sacrificing family time. I do, too, and really, I'm sure my kids are building a better bond between each other when they look to each other to play while I'm writing, anyway. But that's a hard one to admit sacrificing, since so many people would judge!

lynnrush said...

Yes. There's a bit of sacrifice to pursue a dream. I equate it to athletes...like training for the olympics. . .

It does take time, dedication, and training. That means time away from things. For me...my house isn't always as clean as I usually like it and some of the meals I prepare are of the "easy" variety instead of taking time to cook.

I think as long as the family is aware of and in agreement with what you're trying to do, then it's all good. Otherwise, there might be trouble.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Great question and points. I touch upon this on my blog today.

You make time for what you love to do.

I sacrifice a lot of social outings. I feel like I hibernate (even in the summer).

I won't sacrifice my faith or addressing my family's urgent emotional, physical, spiritual needs (this does not include getting a third bowl of Goldfish for my DD).

~ Wendy

Liza said...

It's all a balancing act...

Liz Fichera said...

Sacrifice is the perfect word! And it is a total balancing act. I'll sacrifice sleep before I'll sacrifice family or my daily jog to keep up on my daily word counts.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yep, I pretty much sacrifice the same things as you. I won't sacrifice exercise (most of the time) or reading before bed. :)

Melissa Gill said...

I sacraficed my high power career with a six figure income, for a job where I can blog/revise/read between calls. I could never have dreamed of being a writer in my old career. I didn't have the mental energy.

Shannon said...

Excellent post, Elana. I absolutely agree that in order to accomplish everything we want, sacrifices must be made.

I'll sacrifice cooking, cleaning and eating in order to write. I won't sacrifice time spent with Michael, long hot showers, and Survivor.

Meredith said...

Oh yes, there is definite sacrifice. Right now I pretty much sacrifice sleep. I'm a full-time mom to a toddler, so the only time I'm able to sit down and write is at night.

foldingfields said...

I appreciate your honesty. I think you must be fairly quick with reading and writing--that does make a difference. I often read a couple of books a week (and there are so many people who read more than that) and I think I'm able to do this because I'm a fast reader.
Your sacrifices have paid off and it's a lesson to us writers-in-training in how much work and sacrifice it takes to live the writer's life.

DL Hammons said...

At this point in my writing career, I'm not willing to sacrifice a sense of balance between this and everything else in my life. Of course that may change if I ever land an agent. :)

Jamie Burch said...

I started saying no to things I was feeling obligated to do. I've also cut down on TV and inernet time. I don't volunteer out of guilt either. I'm learning to set boundaries and create balance in my life. It takes work and every day has its obstacles, but I'm up for the challenge.

Thanks for this great post!

Michelle Merrill said...

When I write I sacrifice sleep. When I read I sacrifice sleep. When I blog I sacrifice sleep. There's a pattern. Pretty much the only time I can be on the computer is at night or early in the morning. My little kids take a lot of time an attention and if I sacrifice my time with them, it only comes back to me with double stress. Not only are they grumpy, but then I'm grumpy. And when the mom's grumpy...
I was sacrificing my family to blog. So, I had to switch that and sacrifice my blog for my family. It's just not the right time for me to do all the writing worldy things that I want to. Sad but true.
I'm glad you have found the balance. That's awesome!

Annette Lyon said...

Can I get an AMEN?!

I'm so tired of people saying that they'd love to write if only they had time.

The truth is, they aren't willing to sacrifice something. I'm betting that a good chunk of those people have no problem watching 2 hours of TV a night.

Gee, where could they find the time?

(end of rant. :)

Deni Krueger said...

I'm big on keeping family time sacred. But my time with friends has taken a serious nose dive, and I limit my blog to once a week. I'm ok with not doing it all. That will probably change when I eventually publish.

Quinn said...

I sacrifice having a personal life.

WindyA said...

*sigh* sacrifice. primarily i sacrifice sleep. followed by blogging, food and, oh yeah, more sleep. since i work m-f 8-5 i'm pretty limited as to the amount of time i have with the family, so i do my best NOT to sacrifice that, though i'm with you on not cooking. they like pizza. it works. lol

Lydia K said...

Basically you said it all so I don't have to. Everything, in little bits at a time.

Meredith said...

Ugh, I hate sacrifice! TV and Internet get cut pretty quickly, but I refuse to cut reading or spending time with my family--those make me too happy!

Michelle McLean said...

Yeah, sacrifice....I usually sacrifice sleep. When I'm blogging or critting, I'm sacrificing working on my own stuff. When I'm writing, I'm sacrificing online/blog time. I have been trying very hard lately to completely stay away from my computer and phone when my kids are home and awake because they are very young and really want my attention...and they weren't handling it well when they weren't getting it.

I finally had to come to the realization that when it comes to them, I just can't multi-task (usually...they do okay sometimes if I'm on my laptop while they are watching a movie as long as I'm sitting there with them).

But for the most part, I do as much writing/blogging/critting as I can during the day and once the kids are home, the write hat comes off and the mommy hat goes on until they are in bed. Blogging has suffered a bit. I get my posts up but generally don't have much time to go to other's blogs, which I hate. But...I do what I can and try not to worry about it :)

Lisa Potts said...

Without at least six hours of sleep each night I don't function, so I guess that's what I never sacrifice.

Write Chick said...

I'm just like you. I sacrifice different things at different times. I try not to sacrifice time with my kids as much as possible. Sometimes I have to go to my writer's group and so I must sacrifice the time then. Otherwise, my family and kids come first, then my job (only because it has to) and then my church callings (only because they have to)
So I write/blog/facebook in the inbetween times. That's just the way it has to be in my life right now. :-)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Great answer!

When I write, I sacrifice sleep and a clean house (big ones), and face-time with the TV (not such a biggie). Sometimes, I also sacrifice time with my hubby. And I sacrifice friendships with people who live close to me, in favor of having time to write and maintaining friendships with people whom I am close to, but who (for whatever reason) live far away.

Carolyn V. said...

Excellent answers Elana! And so true! The sacrifice thing.

I sacrifice TV to write. Now when all my friends are talking about the latest, hottest thing..I look like a deer in the headlights. It's very sad. =)

Heather said...

I've set a schedule for myself to make sure I don't sacrifice too much but I still get my social networking time in. It's tough but doable if one's careful.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Laundry and a clean house gets waylaid.

Colene Murphy said...

Good, hard answer. I hate having to give up something to do another but knowing that is the only way to get it done kind of helps. Thanks Elana!

notesfromnadir said...

You're right -- being a writer means a lot of sacrifice. I think it's important that people realize what it takes to write because it's not just sitting in a room for hours & hours at a time. Sometimes we're lucky if we can get 5 straight minutes of writing!

Shari said...

Boy did you hit the nail on the head. It is about choices and sacrifice. No one can do it all. I try not to sacrifice my family. They are more important than anything else, writing included.

Hannah Kincade said...

Most recently, to complete Nano, I sacrificed a lot of "live" tv, reading and blogging. Cleaning is probably number one on the sacrifice list. LOL! The Man would never let me sacrifice time with him, he's extremely demanding.

Also, I live alone so I eat a lot of cereal. So I sacrifice cooking. And I loves cooking.

Hannah Kincade said...

Oh and yes, I would like to see this Google Calendar you speak of. ;)

lotusgirl said...

It's all about the choices we make and what is most important at the time. Our sacrifices seem to match up pretty well. I'd also say I sacrifice reading time. AND exercise (but that's not a hard one to sacrifice.)

Laura Pauling said...

I try to have everything take it's turn being sacrificed. Sometimes, it's cleaning. sometimes baking. Most always television. Sometimes reading. Sometimes sleep. I try and keep them balanced.

Susan R. Mills said...

I sacrifice laundry and cleaning mostly. I will not sacrifice going to all of my kids' activities. They'll only be around for a while longer. I can write for the rest of my life. Oh, and I absolutely will not sacrifice bacon!

Cold As Heaven said...

I sacrifice sleep, but I've gotten used to it. Facebook is just boring, so that's no sacrifice. I do not want to sacrifice family time, like sking with the kids >:)

Cold As Heaven

Ghenet said...

First of all, I love Google Calendar! And Google everything, for that matter...

I try not to sacrifice too many things but it happens anyway. It's usually household things, like cleaning, watering the plants. I also sacrifice extra sleep when I'm up way too late writing a post!

Lisa_Gibson said...

I tend to sacrifice housework for sure. It's kinda bad honestly but c'est la vie. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

The Golden Eagle said...

I sacrifice time reading, and working on other projects/hobbies that I would be doing otherwise; sometimes sleep, and sometimes time with other people. But I wouldn't sacrifice friendship, or family, or having an active part in the world--those are staying safe under unbreakable-lock and key.

Karen Lange said...

I sacrifice different things depending on the week's schedule. Like you, sometimes the hats are piled one on top of the other. BTW - I like that image, although not the extra weight it places on one's head:) I miss having extra down time to do projects, like sewing. But as much as I like to sew, I like to write more. Ah well, the madness continues, doesn't it?

Marsha Sigman said...

I sacrificed phone time with friends. They can email me.

I stopped volunteering so much. My son was getting older, and frankly my being at his school so much was starting to creep him out.

Cleaning had become a surface thing. I pretty much clean like a 14 year old boy right now. If it's hidden then it's not really dirty is it?

Talli Roland said...

Oh, I hear you. To write, I sacrifice high heels, shopping, pocket cash... and I could go on, but I won't. It's worth it, though! For blogging and social media, basically I sacrifice any form of interaction with the outside world, which is probably why I've become a hermit in recent weeks!

Nicole Zoltack said...

My two biggest sacrifices: sleep and sanity. Sometimes I try to juggle too many things and an egg or two will break. I do the best I can though, that's all any of us can do.

Jen Chandler said...

I'd love to sacrifice this job. Upon an altar...with a big, rusty knife...

But seriously, time with my husband, time with my art: those are the two things that really suffer. He's a champ, though, cooking dinner and taking care of things when I am able to get the keyboard clacking.

Excellent post!
Jen

Abby Minard said...

Honestly, this makes me feel better about having to sacrifice certain things for other things. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one juggling all these roles, but when I read posts like yours and others' it makes me feel like I'm not alone in this. Thanks for using my question!

Dominique said...

Oftentimes, I sacrifice sleep. This does not have positive effects on my personality.

Sara B. Larson said...

I completely agree with this - it's all about sacrifice. Sometimes I call it stealing. I steal time from cleaning, or sleeping, or (unfortunately) sometimes my family. I try very hard not to do that last one, but sometimes it's inevitable if I have a deadline or something. Great post!

Donea Lee said...

I sacrifice things I want, of course. But, it's usually for something that's worth it. Following a dream is worth it, to me. But, when it comes to my daughter...I try to cross no lines at all. I think it's pretty amazing what you've accomplished. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

All of the above. I won't sacrifice my kids' happiness. When they start to complain that they never have any time with me, I know it's time to dial it back. My darlings come first. :-)

Jessica Lei said...

Sacrifice, hmm. I used to spent a lot of my time doing meaningless things--and now I'm working on my WiP. I wouldn't call it sacrifice because it was just doing things to keep myself busy. Now I feel like I've got real work to do.

Jeff King said...

I sacrifice my pride; writing makes me feel very humble.
I won’t sacrifice my ideals or hurt anyone’s feelings to get published, other than that anything goes.

Julie Musil said...

I sacrifice leisure time during the day, but I won't sacrifice tv time at night. After 8, I'm a couch potato.

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

So very true. We all have the same number of hours in a day. It's how we choose to use them, and what we give up in the process. :)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

What a hard question to answer. You've given me a lot to think about and examine! Thanks!

Jemi Fraser said...

Yeah - it takes a lot of sacrifices to be a writer. I don't have deadlines or pressures at this stage and I'm still sacrificing all kinds of things. The family time is the hardest to give up.

Elizabeth said...

Sleep
TV
Sanity
Warmth (my office is very, very cold)
My social life (If my friends didn't know to email and IM me, I wouldn't have any)

But it's all worth it.

Most of the time.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Oh! Just noticed that you asked what we won't sacrifice. I refuse to sacrifice face time with my kids for the sake of writing. I write when they're at school or in bed, or I set up at the table with my older son and I write while he does homework. But I never write when they're just home and hanging out; their childhoods will be too short for me to miss a bunch of it.

Carol Riggs said...

I sacrifice a spotless house, a clean counter free of dishes, and dinners that take longer than 20 minutes to prepare. Crock pots are my friend.

What I won't sacrifice? I have to be conscious of relationships, at all times, because I can easily get sucked into The Writer Zone and never surface to interact with reality.

Lisa said...

I usually sacrifice cleaning the house (my husband loves the fact that he has to do the dishes every night now).

Blogging is the hardest one. It's tough to keep up with reading everyone's stuff. I fall way behind and then I feel awful.

But, I guess writing has to come first!

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