God knows I do. I think about this all the time, so when Lauren Groff famously refused to answer the Harvard Gazette’s question about work-life balance, I was thrown. Like many of us, I cheered her on, but I was also frustrated. I reached out to some of the most prolific writing mothers (mothering writers?) I know and asked what advice they had for us.
I came home and fell into a serious funk. So did my husband. It took us more than a week to shake it off. (If I’m completely honest, I’m still not 100% back. In a minute I’ll get to how I’m addressing it and ask for your suggestions.) Here’s the weird thing, we were especially thrown by our malaise because we’re both lucky enough to LOVE our work and our home and our neighborhood, and now that we’re back home we aren’t sharing an itty bitty stateroom with two kids. So, why?! Why were we so deeply burned out on our lives mere days after returning from a restorative vacation?
Nope. You don’t. You definitely, absolutely, 100% do not have to write every day to be a writer.
So why do some writers claim you do? Because they do. It’s fabulous that they can sit down and write every single day of their life. Plenty of successful authors do that. Plenty of successful authors don’t.
If a daily schedule works for you, beautiful. But if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Like athletes, many of us need breaks to recover, adapt, recharge, and prevent burn out.
Want some proof?
I talk a lot about finding the right agent for you, rather than just any agent. You want someone who gets your vision, who knows how to sell books like yours, and whose personality gels with yours, which means finding the right agent is a pretty personal task. That said, there are a few consistent qualities we should all be looking for:
If you want to sell your book to a major New York publisher, you need an agent, no question. As with anything in life, there are rare exceptions, but do you want to drastically narrow your chances in hopes of winning the lottery? If so, why? A good agent has relationships with editors and publishers, they know who’s looking for what, they know how to sell a book, they know how to negotiate a good contract, and