Juggling Your Creative Life

34d4f71fc9ac164fd6af6bc5770ca7e4One of the hardest things about being a creative person/writer/artist etc. is balance. When you work from home sometimes family members don’t know your boundaries. When you love your job sometimes it’s hard to stop working when your desk is always in the other room. Tell me in the comments what the hardest part of the “creative juggling balance” is for you.

Tips for Juggling Your Creative Life

  • Give yourself a schedule. I always advise writers to treat writing like a job if they want it to be a career. If you want it to be a hobby (and in that case, an agent might not be right for you at this time) then you can treat it like a hobby. But the only way to get writing done is to do it.
  • But remember to define your work day by what feels right–beginnings and endings don’t always start at 9 and end at 5. In fact, it’s nearly impossibly to write that long every day.
  • So, what is your word count goal? 1000 words? If it’s done in 1 hour or 5 hours you can pat yourself on the back.
  • Have a defined space that your family and friends are aware of. Laptops are great for being able to pick up and go to the coffee shop, but they make it challenging for your family to understand the divide if you type from your lap in the living room. Try a desktop if you’re having trouble setting physical limits.
  • Remember: your book should always be your #1 priority if you’re writing fiction. Blogging and social media aren’t going to write your novel for you. (Non fiction writers, platform is equally important so you stick to that community building!)
  • Do yourself and favor and read BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her point of view on creativity and inspirational guidance is unparalleled and you won’t regret it. Even better: listen to her MAGIC LESSONS podcast too!
  • A book can be written in 10 years or in 1 month. It’s all about the time you give and that’s up to you. Remember that everyone is busy. Every. Single. Person. How do writers get books written? They simply make time and write. Sacrifices will be made and it’s up to you which those are–but in order to make a career of this priority has to be given to the craft.
  • Do you feel guilty when you work on your writing because you could be doing other things for your family/friends? Don’t. Your family and friends want you to be happy and they want to spend time with you when you’re at your best–which means: when you are living a fulfilled life creatively. If you are in your best place you’ll be more fun to hang out with anyway. (Resentment never looks good on anyone. It can build fast and take years to chip away.)

Don’t forget: Tell me in the comments what the hardest part of the “creative juggling balance” is for you.


Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

22 thoughts on “Juggling Your Creative Life

  1. Creative Juggling Balance:

    Writer’s life style was not new to me. I am a clinical psychologist turned screenplay writer who was writing for Indian Television for years. But for two years (starting somewhere in 2013 and lasted till March 2015), I had the FEVER of my first novel. I call it FEVER because I felt it on my skin. Something like this had never happened to me before. Prior to this, writing was a TASK. And one fine morning, while writing my novel, it stopped being a TASK. It became CONVERSATION. At first I felt spooked.

    It was like one moment, I sit in a restaurant talking to my family. Next moment, I look at a corner and I am GONE, talking to one of my characters inside my head. Good for me, my family and friends did not abandon me.

    But once that first novel was out, I was more confident that my characters will talk to me even if I rest for sometime.

    Even now, when the conversation in my head is too LIVE, I record it on a voice recorder. But I let myself wait to transcribe it. Now, that I am writing my third novel, I am much more confident that things will come to me. Sometimes too fast, sometimes at their pace.

    Just as you said, I pre decide the number of pages I will write according to my stage of writing. (If I am simply brainstorming I write 10 pages, If I am doing research I write 1-2 pages, if I am writing the first draft, I write 12 pages.) I have a font, paragraph and size in place. Which I guess is nothing but idiosyncrasy :)

    I can’t agree more with you, without a work-life balance, a writer can write ONE NOVEL, but s/he can’t make a career out of writing novels over years.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. When something goes wrong in my non-creative life that stresses me out or worries me I have a hard time getting in the right head space to write. Sometime a run works…I’ve tried wine and chocolate but that usually just amplifies the problem. :-)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You got the formula wrong: it’s coffee and chocolate. Save the wine for when you’re done.


      True about blogging and social media. That stuff can suck you in like a vortex. I found that when I was blogging I had no creative energy for my book — even when I had time to write both. I’m like a bull that can only run in one direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think all this “platform” pressure is a creativity killer. It makes it too easy to justify hanging out on the internet when you could be writing – REALLY writing. A healthy relationship with the internet is an essential part of maintaining creative balance.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great question.
    Not only do I write, but I play three instruments, getting together at least once a week with friends. Then, of course, I work, which is not my writing (yet). Quality time must be made for family, and I’m blessed to have a wife who supports me in my endeavors, especially the writing. It can be tough. And we all know how it is when we run the range of emotions that take us to feeling overwhelmingly positive about our writing, only to wonder what in the heck we’re doing the next day.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. For me there is so much instant gratification from blogging that I’ve officially declared it a personal weakness. I’m close to needing intervention.
    “Hello, my name is Susan and for the last four weeks I’ve been on WordPress…”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. thanks for this Carly. And yeah, setting those physical boundaries is difficult working from a laptop in the living room while everyone else is trying to watch tv, and telling u the dog needs walking! I have to go out most of the time to write. But coffee shops are way too noisy. School works best for me. There’s really something about being around other students who are all studying and writing too that keeps me on track.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I really have the family problem. My family is great and loves that I write and submit material, but every time I’m visiting my parents they assume that if I’m on my laptop, I’m not doing work, which means I’m free to go pick up groceries, make dinner, walk the dog…the list is endless. As someone with an intense focus on things, it can be quite annoying to sit down to work, only to get up every five minutes to do this or that.

    Yet they keep asking me if the novel is done yet :D

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The hardest part for me is that my husband is semi-retired. When he is home, it’s hard for me to concentrate on my work. I should go in another room, but on these cold winter days, I love to sit with my laptop near the pellet stove. He works three full days, so I do have some time to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. i have a hard time finding any time to write. i’m a stay at home mom with a 3 year old and 7 month old. they rarely nap at the same time and my nights are still pretty busy. i’m hoping that as my youngest gets a little older maybe his naps will lengthen so that i can accomplish something. any advice?


  10. Thanks for the email. Because writing is a solitary job one must find a place where there are few interruptions. This of course is sometimes difficult when our children are still at home.

    On Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 12:17 PM, Carly Watters, Literary Agent wrote:

    > Carly Watters posted: “One of the hardest things about being a creative > person/writer/artist etc. is balance. When you work from home sometimes > family members don’t know your boundaries. When you love your job sometimes > it’s hard to stop working when your desk is always in the ” >


  11. Funny you should mention having a dedicated space for your creative activities. I only recently stopped writing on my Microsoft Surface at the dining room table and cleared my desk of any paperwork NOT related to my writing, and began to work there. Major change in outlook now, and definitely for the better. But my biggest challenge when it comes to finding a balance with my creativity is finding enough time to engage in the work. Entrepreneur Extraordinaire Gary Vaynerchuk has mentioned that an entrepreneur’s most important asset is time, and I would agree. As a single father with a full-time management job, finding the time to not only engage in my creative activities but to do so consistently to maintain momentum is my greatest challenge. When I do find the time, I fall in love with what I am doing and the rest of the world just disappears. :)

    Liked by 1 person

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