Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Juggling Act

On the fabulous blog, Wastepaper Prose, you'll find a number of authors (including myself) answering the question:

Have you ever blown off a social event with real people in order to stay at home with ones you've made up?

My answer: More than once.

It's true - and I don't feel guilty about it. I'd follow up that answer by saying, I don't really consider it blowing off event as much as recognizing the time I have and the obligations I've committed to and making choices going from there.

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked is 'how do you manage to write novels while being a professor?' Let's see - how about, by blowing off social events with real people in order to stay at home with ones I've made up.

Sometimes it's hard to communicate what it means to be a writer - and while I think the writer's life varies from person to person, for me it means sometimes (and by sometimes, I mean often) closing myself off to the outside world in order to devote time to the worlds I'm creating.

When I'm teaching I have to be even more protective of that time. These things are on my mind because for the past six months I've been on sabbatical and next week I go back to teaching full time. Have no fear - I wrote all three of my novels while I was teaching, and though it can be stressful it's also workable, as long as I set boundaries. If I can't do this I'll fail as both teacher and writer.

So in the next few months, if my blog posts aren't as frequent, or it takes a bit longer than usual for me to respond to emails or interview requests, be assured I have not forgotten you. I really like you.

I'm just spending some quality time with my imaginary friends.


  1. Good for you. Here's to a great semester.

  2. Priorities are something I'm working on as a writer. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Lord, I can't imagine how you do it! I'm writing my thesis this semester, so all fiction has to wait until I'm done in May. I can't handle academic writing + fiction writing getting all mixed up in my head, they are two separate skill sets that don't seem able to occupy the same brain space at the same time for me. It's awesome that you've been able to juggle thus far, and good luck with your semester!

  4. I love this post! Growing up, my mother always told me I was antisocial because I would bring books to picnics and parties and completely tune out the activity around me. I've always preferred imaginary worlds to real ones, more so now that I've begun creating my own. Having a full time really limits your time, but you have to do what makes you happy (and in your case, what you're awesome at). So fly your antisocial flag proudly!!