Walking back from kindergarten drop off today, I spoke with a doctor/mom whose husband is an award-winning journalist. “It’s hard on him,” she told me, “because of course he could theoretically volunteer at the school all the time.” And isn’t that the crux of being a writer/parent?  Working at our own pace, we theoretically have all the time in the world (time, even to start blogging!) to spend on our kids. How can it be that a loving dad or devoted mom doesn’t spend every given moment at the school that he/she can? How can a parent say no?

I’ll tell you how: writing is as much a 24/7 career as parenting. Being an author is no different from being the CEO of your own company. You have to constantly monitor your time–pay attention to the lure of social media, the distraction of laundry, the constant demands of your kids. Balance this out with ensuring you have time to write, some space of your own to leave out manuscript pages that won’t get colored on, you have to make the mental space both for creative work of producing new sentences, for the hard-edged editing work of making those sentences perfect, and for the administrative work of ensuring that someone in the universe besides your inner critic sees the pages you have written. Monitor your time like a CEO monitors the money s/he spends on R&D, on marketing, on drudge work like filling out time cards.  Divvy it up: what’s most important this week? Make a plan! In order to make this writing-thing a successful career, you’re going to have to balance some tricky things. Think it’s not juggling? Think again. For everything you choose to do, everything else is up in the air, waiting for you to eventually get to it.

But don’t worry. People can juggle fire and knives–simultaneously. You’ll be fine.

Set priorities, create schedules, make time.  It’s entirely up to you.