Q4U: What We Give Up

Over the last couple weeks, the blog discussion has turned to whether writing is a lifestyle or a mindset or a calling. We’ve talked about how we fit it into the margins of our lives, or make it a priority. We’ve hovered around the edges of the question: What do we give up in order to pursue the dream of writing and publishing—while still maintaining a healthy family life?

Life is all about choices, and when we choose to pursue a passion that’s time-consuming, we have to say no to other things. I’m a mom and a wife, and I’ve chosen to be a literary agent, writer and editor. I also volunteer at my kids’ school and dedicate time to their pursuits. But doing all of this doesn’t come without a cost—I’ve had to let go of some perfectly good things.

So here are a few things I don’t do:

  • I don’t watch much TV.
  • I don’t scrapbook, knit or crochet.
  • I don’t separate the whites from the colors.
  • I don’t grow a garden.
  • I don’t cook gourmet meals.
  • I don’t play computer games.
  • I don’t go to PTA meetings.
  • I don’t make my kids’ Halloween costumes.
  • I don’t homeschool.
  • I don’t remember everyone’s birthday.
  • I don’t run marathons or even 10K races.
  • I don’t dust.

and finally…

  • I don’t ever sleep past 7am (usually 6), even on weekends.

So, now that I’ve admitted to some things I’d like to do if I had more time… what about you? Have you given up anything in order to pursue writing?

Spill the beans… and have a good weekend!

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!

127 Comments

  1. Leebox on December 11, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    Feedcast…

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  2. ~Brenda on May 15, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    >I know I'm a little late on this response, but here's what I've given up:

    I don't watch TV.
    I don't knit (love to!)
    I don't sew (love to!)
    I don't crochet.
    I don't eat at the table. I eat in front of the computer while I write.
    I don't get laundry folded on time.
    I don't have a perfectly clean house, even though I love clean houses. Especially when they're mine.
    I no longer volunteer 10-20 hours a week of secretarial duties for my church.

    What I still do is:

    Homeschool my son, who has learning disabilities.
    Cook one nice meal a day.
    Keep the house liveable.
    Try to love my husband more than my computer.
    Mentor my two older daughters.

    I love my life. 🙂

    ~Brenda



  3. kanishk on May 14, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    >Great post! I've given up on finishing laundry in a timely manner.
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  4. Space Coast Conservative [dot]com on May 14, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    >A Note For Clarity's Sake:

    I had previously stated: "I gave up writing to write."

    What I should have added to that was: Since I have several voices I write in, I don't write certain things until I am in the mood to write those things. When I try to work on certain WIPs, "Trapped Behind A Diesel Rabbit", for instance, I have to be in a certain mood because when I force writing those WIPs, it doesn't sound right unless I'm in that mood. I have to be in a certain mood to write in that particular voice. For "Hearth Notes" I have to be in another mood. If I try to force it, those voices sound fraudulent and I can tell that it's not working as well as when I'm using the right mood to write that voice.

    Thus, I give up writing to write: I don't write on those pieces until I am "in the mood".



  5. Sandy at God Speaks Today on May 10, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    >You seriously don't separate the colors from the whites????

    Seriously?

    I'll be pondering this all week.
    Sandy



  6. Penelope C Jordan on May 10, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    >I generally don't watch tv, I watch one or two recorded tv favourites in my own time when I'm taking breaks.
    I certainly don't knit, sew or crochet …I don't know how to and I dont wanna know either…and I wouldn't let any of my characters do any of that either…lol
    I've cut back on:
    -some of my reading time
    -talking for endless hours on the phone
    -facebook
    -reading blogs
    -aimless surfing the net

    I keep praying for time management skills and that God helps me to use my time wisely.

    I haven't become perfect overnight but like my novel…I am a WIP. 🙂



  7. Amy on May 10, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    >College, grades, friends, relationships, family, sleep, health, money, freedom, time.

    Everything.



  8. Liana Brooks on May 10, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    >I don't watch TV.

    I don't eat out.

    I don't homeschool during the regular school year.

    I don't go to PTA meetings.

    I don't go to Girl Scouts.

    I don't get a manicure once a week.

    I don't run marathons.

    I don't go home for every holiday.

    I don't dust.

    I don't do a lot of things… but that's okay. I do more than I don't. And that's what matters.



  9. alisha on May 10, 2010 at 5:15 AM

    >Great post! In 2009 when I decided I wanted to REALLY focus on writing, I decided to have two priorities to guide my decisions for the whole year. Writing was one of the priorities. During the year when opportunities arose to get involved with a new hobby or activity, I always viewed it through the lens of my priorities. This really helped because I can't successfully juggle more than two major priorities at a time without getting overwhelmed and burnt out.

    That said, I gave up on trying to learn to sew (despite buying a new machine) and excessive exercise (not too hard to give up).

    The priorities system helped me and now writing is so ingrained in me I don't need to formally think about it.

    Thanks for the reminder that we can't do everything!



  10. Dana Bryant on May 9, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    >Rachelle,

    I have had to make some hard decisions. I recently planted a garden, dove into ministry and I do most definately separate the whites and the colors…and in that, I gave up some of my writing. What I did get was a break and a deep hunger to keep writing. Time is not my issue anymore, the joy I get from expressing myself suystains me.



  11. Kathleen L. Maher on May 9, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    >I write or revise at least five hours a day, even on weekends.
    I still make the time to care for my special needs son, and my daughter. This entails play, homework, stopping my work (sometimes every two minutes to answer questions) going to swimming lessons or special olympics or helping with bathing/dressing, and counseling appointments, plus the usual dentist, doctor and specialists appointments, concerts and plays.

    I still garden, since it is my exercise and vitamin D requirement, plus my soul refueling.

    I still paint when the mood strikes, since I feel that artistic expression is interrelated. Sometimes I paint my characters or scenes from my books.

    I still read and review my favorite fiction and occasional nonfiction that feeds my soul or provides research for a wip.

    I manage to have a TV night about once a week with my husband and one with my children, too, which I do as a sacrifice. I've never been big on TV.

    I no longer curl my hair, or paint my nails or browse flea markets or take in dog shows. I don't call friends, but if they call me, I try to make time. I make simpler meals and bake less often, and I haven't picked up a crochet hook in a decade. I don't vacation, I don't travel. In short, I live as simply as possible.

    And I don't feel deprived. 🙂



  12. Hanna Loren on May 9, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    >Another great post and some inspiring comments, as always. I usually don't have time to comment but felt I could add a little something about what I won't give up for my writing:
    Caring for my 94 year old mother in law and my 78 year old 'Uncle'. Aside from Nana's advanced dementia and severe mobility issues and Grampa George's stage 4 congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease their combined health issues mean my days and nights are filled caring for them in every way they need me. With my husband and kids as backup caregivers, I write a blog and continue my WIP any time I can, which is often far less than I'd like to. One day it'll be my time for me, but for now my calling to be a caregiver must come first.



  13. J.M.Cornwell on May 9, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    >I gave up TV a long time ago, have the grocery store deliver groceries to save time, do not go out to dinner or movies and spend time only with friends who understand when I have to cancel because of a looming deadline. My kids are grown and gone and I have birthdays programmed so I don't have to remember them. I often eat simple things, like Greek yogurt and muesli and packaged organic foods because I can't always take the time to do what I love — gourmet cooking. House cleaning is hit or miss, mostly miss, and I don't separate whites and colors. It all goes in and it all comes out. Anything that gets in the way of writing and work goes, including a few boyfriends along the way.



  14. Barbara Krasner on May 9, 2010 at 7:08 AM

    >I–
    *Don't do the dishes.
    *Don't watch much TV.
    *Don't talk to friends on the phone unless I'm driving somewhere and use my Bluetooth connection.
    *Don't get to the gym.
    *Don't visit family.
    *Don't take real vacations–only attend writers conferences and retreats.
    *Don't see Broadway plays.
    *Don't see movies in the theatre.
    *Don't get the sleep my body probably needs.



  15. arbraun on May 8, 2010 at 10:54 PM

    >Great post. We do give up a lot, sometimes feeling as if life is passing us by. I still watch TV, but only during supper.

    1. I don't play video games.
    2. I don't spend as much time with friends as I normally would (quality vs quantity).
    3. I don't go to movies.
    4. I don't play sports.
    5. I only get an hour of guitar practice a night even though I should be playing 2-4 hours (I'm a musician too).
    6. I don't clean as much as I should.
    7. I never sleep in.
    8. I don't have as much money as I normally would because of copyrighting, computer expenses and book-buying expenses (aside from the Stephen King novel once in a blue moon like before I got serious about writing).
    9. I don't break laws (got to watch my butt to make it to the point where I finish my novel and get it published).
    10. I don't listen to music as much anymore (only during my 45-minute workout).



  16. Corinne O'Flynn on May 8, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    >I don't watch TV and do not volunteer as much as I would like at my kids' schools. I definitely do not sleep as much as I should. Cleaning and laundry have certainly slacked as my writing has become more of a priority.

    While my kids are still young, I have come to terms with constant interruptions, and have become able to draft scenes in my head.

    I try to focus on how lucky I am. I feel strongly that if I am able to spend most of my own time writing, then I am ahead of the game.

    GREAT POST!
    Corinne



  17. Lynne on May 8, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    >I gave up leading worship at church, a position I held for 16 years, to pursue writing. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I decided to quit waiting for "some day."



  18. Meghan Ward on May 8, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    >My list is very similar to yours, although I did run a half marathon this year. Today, though, is the perfect example. Weekend away at a cabin in the woods and I am on my computer instead of: walking in the woods, swimming in the river, wine tasting, or antique shopping.



  19. Judith Mercado on May 8, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    >I’ve learned to ease my writing into the arc of the wave while there’s still time to breathe before the water comes crashing down. For example, I’ve learned to identify those moments when my husband is perfectly happy all on his own; when the clothes can wait another hour/day/week to be washed, sorted, etc.; when my friends are so busy with their stuff that interaction with me, while a pleasant prospect, is not a must; when blog reading, commenting and writing can wait until the next day; when the refrigerator has—yes!—one more thing that can be turned into a meal so I don’t have to go grocery shopping. Maybe being creative with literary endeavors translates into being creative with managing my time. I’ll be truthful, though. A lot of times I feel as if I’m right on the edge of not pulling it off.



  20. Judith Mercado on May 8, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    >I’ve learned to ease my writing into the arc of the wave while there’s still time to breathe before the water comes crashing down. For example, I’ve learned to identify those moments when my husband is perfectly happy all on his own; when the clothes can wait another hour/day/week to be washed, sorted, etc.; when my friends are so busy with their stuff that interaction with me, while a pleasant prospect, is not a must; when blog reading, commenting and writing can wait until the next day; when the refrigerator has—yes!—one more thing that can be turned into a meal so I don’t have to go grocery shopping. Maybe being creative with literary endeavors translates into being creative with managing my time. I’ll be truthful, though. A lot of times I feel as if I’m right on the edge of not pulling it off.



  21. Jenny Keller Ford on May 8, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    >Great topic!

    Oh, my gosh, when I think about the things I've given up to pursue my writing, it makes my head spin. What's even worse is that my family has given them up, too.

    I work full-time, am a member of several writer's sites, and am a chapter director of a local writer's group. I also write whenever I can, which means clean laundry stays, unfolded, in laundry baskets, I cook maybe two homecooked meals a week, usually on the weekends, the bathrooms may go two weeks between cleanings, the dogs get bathed once a month instead of twice a week and I can't tell you the last time I used a vacuum. My boys, on the other hand, have become experts.

    Maybe someday, all of this will be over, but only until I can find something else to write about. 🙂



  22. Em-Musing on May 8, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    >I gave up my husband. No, just kidding. I left for other reasons, but I do have more time for writing now.



  23. Mary Potter Kenyon on May 8, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    >I liked this post and started the topic on my own blog. I realized I give up a lot because of my choice to be a writer;
    http://marypotterkenyon.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/what-do-we-give-up-as-writers/



  24. Eric on May 8, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    >No one will probably read this since I'm chiming in so late on this subject, but here it goes.
    I have a full-time job. I go to church three times a week. I have a wife and two kids. Oh, and I write. Enough said.
    But I'll add to it.
    I do watch a little TV. Mostly on Monday night -Chuck and Castle. Other than that I don't watch much on the tube. I am fortunate enough to have a job that allows me an hour lunch, or a little more, as long as I get my work done. In the evening, I try to catch a few writing minutes before the wife and kids get home. After that all bets are off. At bedtime I sneak in a little more writing time before I finish the night reading a good book.
    There is one thing I keep sacred. Saturday mornings, and a hour or two before church on Sunday morning. I get irate if someone, related or not, interferes with my Saturday morning writing time. After all, it is the only day that I can really sink into my WIP. But as you'd expect, when people intrude on this day, they seem to think I'm crazy for trying to hold on to it with such fervency (not sure if I spelled 'fervency' right – oh well). I long for the day when I can do this Mon-Fri. Then I might not be so grouchy when something comes calling on Saturday.



  25. Kathleen Pooler on May 8, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    >Great post and comments, Rachel! Since writing has become my passion,bordering on calling and I still work fulltime,finding writing time is the ultimate challenge for me. Knowing I can't quite give up my day job,I just have to plan ahead. My kids are grown but it is a constant juggling act to factor in all the grandkids' and family activities,etc. I do laundry, spot clean on the run and don't watch much TV.My husband is starting to get used to all the time I spend on the computer and writing. That took lots of training.( I'm lucky he likes to cook)

    That tells me how much I love to write..why else would I go through all these hoops?

    You're right . It is all about choices.

    Kathy Pooler
    http://krpooler.wordpress.com



  26. Megan Willome on May 8, 2010 at 8:00 AM

    >Such great discussion! Very timely as I prepare to keep writing and editing during the summer when my kids are HOME. How do homeschoolers do it?

    Anyway …
    I don't watch TV
    I don't clean house.
    I go to bed at 9 PM and get up at 5 AM every day.
    I don't do any crafts.
    I don't bake, but I do cook.
    I don't participate in my kids' school activities.
    My social life entirely revolves around family.
    I don't support my husband's career the way some people would like me to because I'm too busy writing.
    I communicate with friends via email, Twitter, and maybe the phone on a randomly quiet weekend.
    I seem scatterbrained, because my head is always in my work.
    I do read–one book at a time.
    I do exercise, because I can't afford anti-depressants.
    I keep 3 dogs because they are less trouble than my 2 children.
    I don't wear makeup.
    I end up going to the grocery store almost every day because other than my writing, I am completely disorganized.
    I write in workout clothes or pajamas.
    I do laundry because I find it stimulates poetry.

    Thanks, Rachel!



  27. Kathryn Magendie on May 8, 2010 at 7:00 AM

    >Sometimes I wonder if I give up somethings under the guise of "I am busy writing so I can't do that/see that/ be that" – my reclusive nature may be what pushes me to push myself to be "withdrawn" into my work (writing/editing) sometimes more than the other way around? The chicken egg thing.

    I don't get out much! And I miss going on real vacations – the kind where you acutally do not do ANY work at all – with internet/computers one can work or check on work-related things anywhere one goes! I'd like to have a real vacation and so I pronounce I will take one . . . um . . . soon!



  28. Heidiopia on May 8, 2010 at 6:46 AM

    >With 5 kids, a husband, home, and job, I squeeze my writing in when I could be cleaning, staying organized, gardening, watching tv, or socializing with friends. I hardly ever talk on the phone anymore. I gave up tennis but stick to an exercise schedule. I say "no" to most volunteer activities, especially those that don't immediately benefit my own children (selfish, right? but necessary). I'm sure there's more that I've given up, but obviously I don't miss them, whatever they were!



  29. Jil on May 8, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    >I guess it's easier to say what I do do, My dog comes first because he depends on me.That means a few good walks, grooming etc. I know, it should be my husband first but he is better at looking after himself than "Cappuccino" is. Then I write,. Go to the gym every day. House and garden get a lick and a promise. Meeting friends is usually for critiquing sessions. When I finish writing each day I allow myself to paint and often my water colors turn out to be scenes from my WIP.



  30. Tori on May 8, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    >What have I given up? Mostly…

    1) Time for myself to just…do what I want. I don't get to rest anymore.

    2) I don't sleep in or go to bed early. Instead I stay up night and day with my son. He doesn't sleep easily.

    3) I don't get out of the house. If my husband takes over with the child I only have time to shower or write…so going out to do things is low on my list.

    4) I don't see friends. And I want to. But they have their lives and I have mine. I might write them a letter or talk on the phone for a few minutes, but I don't see them anymore.

    5) I don't cook. When I want food its something quick and easy. That gives me more time to do what is needed…and what I love.

    6) I don't read nearly as much as I want.

    7) I miss most of my favorite shows.

    8) I don't go shoppig or any other thing that most women would like to do.

    9) And probably one of the biggest things: I gave up having a career so I can stay home and at least have a few minutes to write. And if I do need a job…it won't be one that I love. I will have to most likely get a minimum wage job, and that won't be fun.

    I've probably missed a lot, but these are what come to mind. And you know what? It's all worth it. I have a husband that loves me. I have a child. And I have my writing. That's all I need.



  31. Tori on May 8, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    >What have I given up? Mostly…

    1) Time for myself to just…do what I want. I don't get to rest anymore.

    2) I don't sleep in or go to bed early. Instead I stay up night and day with my son. He doesn't sleep easily.

    3) I don't get out of the house. If my husband takes over with the child I only have time to shower or write…so going out to do things is low on my list.

    4) I don't see friends. And I want to. But they have their lives and I have mine. I might write them a letter or talk on the phone for a few minutes, but I don't see them anymore.

    5) I don't cook. When I want food its something quick and easy. That gives me more time to do what is needed…and what I love.

    6) I don't read nearly as much as I want.

    7) I miss most of my favorite shows.

    8) I don't go shoppig or any other thing that most women would like to do.

    9) And probably one of the biggest things: I gave up having a career so I can stay home and at least have a few minutes to write. And if I do need a job…it won't be one that I love. I will have to most likely get a minimum wage job, and that won't be fun.

    I've probably missed a lot, but these are what come to mind. And you know what? It's all worth it. I have a husband that loves me. I have a child. And I have my writing. That's all I need.



  32. Carol J. Garvin on May 7, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    >Margaret Atwood said, "Nobody is making you do this; you chose it, so don’t whine.” I keep that in mind when I'm tempted to complain about lack of time, but the truth is, I don't feel like I'm sacrificing anything to write.

    Writing tops the list of things I love to do, so if I don't get to watch TV, do crafts, sew or bake fancy goodies I don't feel deprived.

    Mind you, my children are no longer at home so there aren't the demands that many younger writers face. I also have a supportive husband who cooks if I'm engrossed in writing, or irons his own shirts if I don't get around to it, and doesn't seem to mind vacuuming when the layer of dog hair gets too conspicuous. I know… I'm very blessed.



  33. Rachel Pudelek on May 7, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    >My first priority is God. He is the one who gave me to ability to write, and the push to actually do it. So, I have not given up my Bible study.

    My second priority is my family. The evenings belong to my husband and kids. It's important that we eat nutritious food, so I do cook homemade meals.

    Then comes writing. Which leads me to what I have given up.

    MOPS
    Perfectly clean house
    clean car
    useless internet time

    Mostly I've had to become more organized to fit it all in. I create a meal plan and shopping list for two weeks worth of groceries which cuts the amount of visits to the store as well as the last minute thrown together dinners because I was writing and lost track of time.

    I schedule my writing time as if it were a job.

    I'm sure there's more but I forget things too! 🙂

    A pastor, Mark Driscoll, said in a sermon that we each have different size plates. We need to know the size of our plate and not overfill it. 🙂



  34. Beth on May 7, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    >Also would like to add that I feel so much better not remembering many birthdays now that I see it's on your list as well. Sigh of relief! It's not just me!



  35. Angela McCallister on May 7, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    >Wow, this is tough. I've given up sleep, sleep, sleep, and let me think… SLEEP. I've been up two days straight at times. My job requires 70-90 hrs per week, so my sleep time is often all I have to work on the writing.

    LOL, funny. The guy on the computer next to me keeps nodding out at his computer. He's been at this passing out routine for about an hour now. There may even be drool on the keys 😉



  36. Cari Galeziewski on May 7, 2010 at 9:14 PM

    >This post couldn't be more timely for me and my critique group as we are struggling with the same issue. I'm a stay at home mom with four kids trying to get my writing career going. The biggest thing I'm sacrificing right now is sleep. In fact, I lovingly told my husband that for Mother's Day I wanted to sleep in AND take a nap!



  37. Nazarea on May 7, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    >~I don't cook anything that takes longer than 30 minutes of my time.
    ~I don't dust.
    ~I don't make scrapbooks–that includes baby books. My husband hates that.
    ~I don't usually remember laundry.
    ~I don't go out. Ever.
    ~I don't know what a day off means–even if I don't clean/cook/work my day job I'm still working.
    ~I don't homeschool–even though part of me wants too, it's not a big enough part.
    ~I'm not having a third child.
    ~I NEVER go to bed with my husband. I stay up three or four hours after him to work.
    ~I don't always know how we're gonna pay our bills because I won't go get a full time 'real job'.

    But despite the wrinkly clothes, the lack of son, the expensive private education, the fighting with my husband about work–I'm happy. I tell stories and I love every part of my job. It is a lifestle. And one I adore. 🙂



  38. Tina Russo Radcliffe on May 7, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    >I have always believed in this mantra.

    "Half of getting what you want is knowing what you have to give up to get it."

    –Bill Phillips.

    My life is so lean there isn't much left to eliminate. Well except possibly..Survivor.



  39. Alleged Author on May 7, 2010 at 8:01 PM

    >What I don't have time to do:

    *Plot world domination
    *Perfect my wrestling moves
    *Learn how to knit doilies
    *Shave the hair off old Barbies
    *Show my neighbor friend how to shave his legs
    *Get rid of the piranhas of the prairie invading my yard (rabbits)
    *Iron



  40. Pat on May 7, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    >You don't separate the whites from the darks???

    So THATS what's holding me back!!! 🙂

    Great post,
    Pat



  41. Debbie Maxwell Allen on May 7, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    >What I don't do (anymore):

    Watch much TV
    Go to the movies
    Go out to lunch
    Keep the house spotless
    Garden
    Clip coupons
    Spend a long time on the phone
    Work my freelance editing job
    Cooking fancy meals
    Scrapbooking, sewing, knitting
    Sleep in

    What I do:

    Get up early when the house is quiet
    Talk to my husband
    Homeschool my kids
    Read widely
    Write every day
    Learn my craft
    Blog every weekday (for writers in the same boat as me–with no time or money)
    Pass along my passion by teaching creative writing to kids



  42. The Daring Novelist on May 7, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    >Frankly, I could have had any of several decent careers, and probably a family or something. (Heck, I suppose I could have had my own car!) I refused full time work and benefits for my writing. But for the most part, I never really accepted extraneous things that would interfere with my writing in the first place.



  43. Lisa on May 7, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    >I've given up the illusion of perfection. It's freed me to do so much more. Especially writing.



  44. Shannon Taylor Vannatter on May 7, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    >I spend time with my family, but not so much with my friends anymore.
    I go on my son's school field trips, but I don't go to PTA. I do the bulletin for church, but I don't clean for free anymore. And I feel guilty, especially since we're paying someone now. But some things just had to go.
    I don't cook gourmet meals, but I wouldn't if I had time.
    I don't watch TV, but there's nothing to watch anyway.
    I don't remember everyone's birthdays, but I didn't do that before I started writing.



  45. Samantha McHargue on May 7, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    >I am a mother of 2, one 5 year old and one 1.5 year old. I gave up sleep! Lol I spend days doing the wife/mommy thing with laundry and cleaning then I spend nights with my husband waiting for him to fall asleep (usually around midnight give or take) and then I write. I write from the time he goes to bed until usually 3am, get up at 6 with the kids and write more when the baby goes down for his morning nap. Sleep has become optional in my world. Lol



  46. Lori Benton on May 7, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    >Because I write:
    I don't paint anymore.
    I don't scrapbook anymore.
    I don't answer the telephone except when I must.
    I don't have hobbies.
    I don't keep the house as clean as I'd like.
    I don't do yard work until the ivy is crawling INTO the house.
    I do as little shopping of any kind as possible.
    I don't wash my car.
    I don't read all the books I want to read.
    I don't learn to play an instrument.
    I sometimes don't join my husband on hikes, but try to keep this kind of sacrifice to a minimum.
    I rarely sleep in.

    I still watch an hour of TV or DVD or Hulu a day, because I watch it while I ride the exercise bike. I will not give up exercise. I will not give up sleep. Like someone posted upstream, I can't write if I'm sleep-deprived so what would be the point in that?



  47. Jen on May 7, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    >In addition to the things you mentioned, I'm also giving up my day job (I know, I know!). I currently teach 2nd grade, but as any teacher will tell you, that is an all-consuming way to make a living… and I've found it impossible to give my heart to my job and writing at the same time. So after this year, I'm calling it quits in exchange for a job that will work better with my writing schedule (I do my best work in the morning- not when I get home at 8pm) and something that will allow me to work my 40 hours and then leave work at work. In addition to giving up a hobby and dream, I'm also giving up job and financial security…. but it's where God wants me, so what can I do? 🙂



  48. Jen on May 7, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    >In addition to the things you mentioned, I'm also giving up my day job (I know, I know!). I currently teach 2nd grade, but as any teacher will tell you, that is an all-consuming way to make a living… and I've found it impossible to give my heart to my job and writing at the same time. So after this year, I'm calling it quits in exchange for a job that will work better with my writing schedule (I do my best work in the morning- not when I get home at 8pm) and something that will allow me to work my 40 hours and then leave work at work. In addition to giving up a hobby and dream, I'm also giving up job and financial security…. but it's where God wants me, so what can I do? 🙂



  49. Katy McKenna on May 7, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    >I think this, by Dan Case, is brilliant: "I gave up the misery of those years when I tried to convince myself I'm not a writer and tried to fill that hole with all sorts of other creative stuff. That's one thing I "gave up" that I never, ever want back."

    Sometimes, the other creative arts can complement the writing, but sometimes they are the second-best excuse for NOT writing. And that ain't how to be happy!

    After reading through and learning from everyone's comments, I keep coming back to relationships. The longer I live, the easier it is to give up things, activities, hobbies, collections, and lousy habits. But the people in my life will always come first. Fortunately for me, anything decent I've ever written flowed from faith, family, and friendship.



  50. 2inspired on May 7, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    >I gave up weeknights and weekends doing nothing. I can't remember what that was like! And long indulgent lunch breaks! But I've got a whole lot more in return. =)



  51. Kelly on May 7, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    >I watch exactly one primetime television show: American Idol. And when Simon goes, so do I.



  52. Anonymous on May 7, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    >Everything. Wait, was this about what we've given up to pursue love or writing? Writing? Oh. That's much different. I'll have to go with…the masks I used to hide behind. Well, except for this one.



  53. Dave Cullen on May 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    >Reading through these, I realize how much I've cut back on my friendships while writing my last (only) book. I quit scheduling dinners and then even lunches, and I quit going out to movies, which used to be a big love. (I couldn't afford to eat out on my writing pay, and I couldn't afford the time.)

    I put myself on six-day workweeks about 5 years ago and stayed there. I've really let my friendships frazzle, without really paying attention.

    I've let my relationships with my siblings slide even more. That took a lot of time and I squeezed it all out to get the book done.

    All that is going to be hard to repair.



  54. Space Coast Conservative [dot]com on May 7, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    >What have I given up to write? I gave up writing to write. Sometimes I have to take a break and sometimes it's a matter of needing a support system (which is what I have found here).

    As a very creative person (I paint, write, am an amateur photographer, decorator, do flower arrangements, etc., etc., etc.: everything except stained glass and quilting because I'm clutzy), I have to feed each of my creative outlets in cycles. When I am in my writing cycle, I give up time with my family and pay the price because they complain. They complain that I don't spend enough time with them while I am writing, then when I'm not writing, they complain that I'm not writing. (Can't win for losing sometimes.) Thus, the need for a support system.

    Currently, writing is on the uptake and in the next "cycle" and when I write, I do next to nothing else. Although I have a website I own/edit/write/update frequently, I still have to feed the creative side of my writing; not just the political side. During that time it's single-minded focus and bathroom breaks and some sleep are about all I leave my computer for.

    Creativity has a price. Sometimes the price is figuring out not only what to give up, but also what to put up with in order to feed that creativity.



  55. Anjali on May 7, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    >Love this post!

    Here's my list —

    1.) I don't volunteer at the elementary school, even though I don't have a paying job outside the home.
    2.) I don't take my toddler to music/gymnastics/art classes.
    3.) I severely limit the activities of my 5 and 8 year olds, so that I can use that time to write rather than schlep them around from one activity to another.
    4.) I don't do much entertaining at my home outside of birthdays. I'd rather write than clean the house or cook.
    5.) I don't clean or cook (much.) We live with dirt and eat lots of leftovers!



  56. Kelly Freestone on May 7, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    >Wow, Dave, I've never thought about sleep deprivation that way. I say it all the time with the kids, "Oh he's just tired!"
    Well, yeah! So is mom!
    LOL
    I'll have to think about that one 🙂
    Thanks for the tip.

    I won't give up:
    -God (church functions like AWANA and Sunday)
    -Work (family business and I don't ever really plan to stop, but the 50 hours will eventually subside)
    -Excersise (couch to 5k! Woohoo!)
    -Family time
    Those are a must..
    Everything else is up in the air.



  57. Kelly Freestone on May 7, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    >I think it's all a question of what you'll regret giving up.

    Writing comes fourth.
    God
    Husband
    Kids
    Writing.

    I'm in each of those pictures, and showers are about my best spa treatement I can get, so I dont' really need 'me' time.
    My devotion time is when I first get to work and no one else is there.
    I don't sleep past 5 or 6 in the morning, and thanks to FlyLady.com, my house stays clean.

    My writing 'job' is from 5-6 in the morning except on weekends, then it's 5-7 or 8.
    It's hard to stop at 6 and get ready for work, mostly by that time, I've REALLY delved into my writing…and then it's time to stop all of a sudden!
    But as frustrating as that is, everything else is still first.
    When I'm a published writer, and not working 50 hours a week, then we'll discuss different priorities.
    For now, writing takes the fourth spot.



  58. Michael K. Reynolds on May 7, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    >Rachelle,
    Me thinks you struck a nerve. This has drawn some vibrant feedback.

    There are the first layer cuts of eliminating television, sleeping in late and following our favorite sports. Then we get to the deeper trimming which is where the real challenge lies.

    I am in a personal Sophie's Choice of having to eliminate several good ministry opportunities I want to do as opposed to focusing on those I'm called to do…writing being one of them. Sometimes these are so difficult to discern. Our family is really in prayer about what should stay and what should go.



  59. Kristi on May 7, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    >Because I write I don't:

    Play computer games (was never much of a gamer, but I'm even less so now, much to my husband's dismay)

    Watch much TV (honestly, I don't miss it, though I do miss having something to talk about with normal people)

    Sew (I turned to writing after I had to give this up with space/safety concerns with young children…can't leave pins and needles laying about with babies and toddlers, and the sewing machine noise would wake them up)

    Get bored (who's got the time?)

    Though I write I haven't given up:

    Exercise. I thrive on it. Its great brainstorming/plotting time too (and helps justify all the chocolate I eat while I write)

    Reading. I think I read more fiction now that I'm writing it.

    My day job. I wish.



  60. Maureen on May 7, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    >Wow- what a great discussion.

    I think how much you spend on your art is a big consideration when answering this question.

    While I have 3 hrs a day for writing in my schedule, I don't feel deprived. I probably would if I spent more time on it, but I'm not willing to let anything else go. I still work my FT job, I still cook my meals (though being vegan means I eat a lot of salads, which are fast), I don't watch TV, but I never have, either, I still work out every day and walk my 3 dogs and spend time with my partner. I'm not forsaking any of that stuff for anything. The way my life is scheduled now, I'm in balance. Someone told me that if I wantto be a successful novelist, I need to put more than 3hrs a day toward it, but I don't buy that. It might make me successful faster , but I don't think my way means I can't get published one day. And not living a healthy life and spending less time with family isn't going to make me a better writer, unless you buy into that suffering artist stuff. I went to grad school with a lot of MFAs who got sucked into that drama. Only a handful are published.

    I should ask myself what I'd do if weren't writing for 3 hrs every day. I suppose I would stay up later watching Fellini and de Sico films and then sleep til 8 every morning. So I guess I am giving up old movies & sleeping in. It doesn't seem like a horrible trade-off. I like mornings. 🙂



  61. mkcbunny on May 7, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    >I don't "go out to play" on weekends. Saturday and Sunday are writing days. This makes me rather dull company for friends, as I'm always saying no to fun.

    I do go out on Friday nights, and we have regular Sunday dinner with particular close friends. But sometimes, I work from Saturday morning into the night; I rarely make plans on Saturday nights, unless it's a special occasion, because I like to have a long block of time to write with no end point.

    I usually do all of my chores, walks, errands, fun cooking, blog-reading, TV-watching, reading, and distracting stuff during the week. Oh, and work, that, too. But I am a weekend hermit.

    Given up:
    • Sewing – which is a shame because I have patterns and fabric, just no time to sew.
    • Videogames — which I find relaxing, but I have too many books to read.
    • Hiking (see weekend ruled above), so I am really out of shape compared to a few years ago.



  62. LR on May 7, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    >Oh yes I have.

    Just turned down next 2 weeks of freelance work so that I can focus on writing. What a timely post for me. 🙂



  63. E.J. Wesley on May 7, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    >Let's see, things I’ve given up to write:

    1. My sanity

    2. My shame

    3. My desire to talk to other people for fear of having to explain what I'm working on. One. More. Time.

    4. My ability to read ANYTHING without thinking about the POV and if the introduction had me hooked (I'm talking even microwave meal directions! Cooking 5-7 minutes seems a little too tell and not enough show, you know what I'm saying?)

    5. My awareness of all things time related; seriously, today could be June 11, 2069 for all I know… Have the machines won yet? I'll check when I finish this chapter.

    I guess that's about all I've given up to chase a writing career. I hope I catch it soon, because I'm pretty sure I got married a few years ago, so there's probably an anniversary I'm going to miss.

    My blog, it’s occasionally funny

    http://the-open-vein-ejwesley.blogspot.com/



  64. Kimberley Troutte on May 7, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    >Sleep.

    My "best" writing time is when everyone else has gone to bed. I don't want to miss one moment with my kids or hubby, so if that means shortchanging my sleeping hours a little, I do it.



  65. Wendy Paine Miller on May 7, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    >After thinking about it long and hard 😉 I’d change the way my nails look. Yep, I’d change that and the dust.

    Happy Mother's Day.
    ~ Wendy



  66. MomCO3 on May 7, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    >Great post! You've lifted the "I should've…" cloud off me for today. I should… write.



  67. Laura Marcella on May 7, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    >I use the weekends to catch up on those things I sacrifice during the week like reading and family/friends time. I always make time to cook homemade dinners all week though! I like food too much, lol.

    Have a wonderful Mother's Day, Rachelle!!!



  68. Heidi Bylsma on May 7, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    >Studying Genesis, I felt God asking me if I am willing to lay my Isaac down. I feel sometimes like I am being asked to sacrifice family…and that isn't acceptable, of course. Then, I have to evaluate…am I really? Or is it my vision of "happy family" that I am being asked to lay down like Abraham did Isaac? I think I have made my vision of the "happy family" an idol…and have bowed all of life to it. So, now I am evaluating. Your post came at a God-ordained moment. Thank you.



  69. Cindy on May 7, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    >I used to really enjoy painting, crafting, even cooking (more involved meals, anyway) but since I've made writing more of a lifestyle, I've set those things aside.

    At the same time, I don't feel any less fulfilled–more tired maybe, but no less fulfilled. I've given up interests and certain priorities for writing but I've gained so much from it, too, so I guess it evens out.

    Have a great Mother's Day!



  70. Jen J. on May 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    >Thanks for such an interesting post! I'm very much looking to reading how other writers manage to keep all the balls in the air because it is undoubtedly a constant struggle.

    As a full-time bench scientist in my day job and what feels like a full time author in my evenings and week-ends, it's a real challenge to balance work, passion and family. Like you, sleeping in is a luxury I gave up long ago. Regular house habits have also had to go by the wayside – gardening, dusting and the house is somewhat less organized than it used to be. The only time I seem to have to read now (that's not directly involved in the scientific research for my novels) is in audiobook format during my commute or as I'm doing other activities such as cooking dinner. Multitasking is definitely the name of the game. I watch very little TV and recreational activities like team sports went by the wayside years ago.

    I am very lucky that my two daughters are teenagers now; they are very independent and are also very supportive of my writing. My husband is very understanding and supportive as well, and, in these final stages of the revisions of my manuscript, he has willingly stepped in as part of my critique team (and no one nitpicks line edits like my husband!). I'm very lucky that my family has come along for the journey as we move into the query stage.



  71. folksinmt on May 7, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    >Great post. How do you keep your whites white? I never realized I could omit that step before! It would save a lot of time.

    I have five kids, so life is very busy. I've given up having a neat, organized home–which frustrates me, but if I always had to be cleaning, I would never have time to write. I keep thinking someday I'll have a clean house, like maybe when all the kids have moved out!



  72. T. Anne on May 7, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    >Basically everything on your list with the exception of Home Schooling. I also don't do many extra activities outside the house besides what the kids are involved in. I used to enjoy sewing and quilting, but that's a far off memory. I don't miss anything when I write. One thing I haven't given up, and that's reading.



  73. Alice Luther on May 7, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    >With much guilt I don't . . .
    * Cook enough good homemade meals for my family.
    * Clean the bathrooms more than once every two weeks.
    * Nap
    * Watch TV, or own one for that matter.
    * Read enough of other author's work
    * Sleep

    But I do . . .
    * Kiss my children and read them bedtime stories every night.
    * Pay bills and manage my home
    * Work a full time job
    * Volunteer and serve others in ministry

    Balance? Seriously, what does that even mean?! 😉



  74. Dick Hannah on May 7, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    >-I no longer get to play the cool, investment of hours and days, video games that my friends get to play on their XBoxes and PS3's.
    -No more tailgating on weekends, two hours of drinking followed by three hours of football takes up too much of a weekend.
    -No more camping, except for once a year (if I'm lucky).
    -Long, relaxing, weekends are planned but for some reason never pan out as scheduled.
    -Training for the Ironman triathlon, much less the race itself, will be an event that I will save for my next life.



  75. wonderer on May 7, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    >I don't watch TV.

    I don't read or exercise as much as I'd like to.

    I'm not the best housekeeper, but as others have said, not sure that's the fault of the writing!

    I do spend too much time online. It's my biggest weakness.



  76. Sharon A. Lavy on May 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    >I learned a long time ago that one person can not do all things well. So many good things have to go.

    Thanks for the post.



  77. Erika on May 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    >Hello, all–I'm a first time commenter here having valued your posts for some time, Rachelle.

    What a great post–as a mom and writer, and a product of a generation that not only was told we could have it all, but frankly should have felt badly if we didn't!

    My husband and I are always talking about how grateful we are for having made the choices we did to preserve the things we do want to have/do and yes, it means letting go of some things. Personally, I think it is a dangerous misconception that (and I'm speaking now for women, obviously) we can have it all. Instead, we should look for the balance, the joy in our choices and focusing on them. As writers, it is a challenge, but as everyone here is saying, if it IS one of our choices, then we let go of other things, and it is every individual's choice what those "things" are.

    For myself, housecleaning ALWAYS loses out. I am infamous for saying (at least to myself): "After this last set of revisions/line edits/etc, THEN I'll tackle that pile of papers/clothes/etc in the bedroom/study/kitchen…

    What can I say? Housekeeping can't compete with reading to our girls, or sharing a homebrew with my husband on the porch.



  78. Anonymous on May 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    >Sure, I still watch a lot of my fave TV shows (who can give up Dancing with the Stars?) but only while I'm multi-tasking: cooking, folding laundry, writing notes, exercising, cleaning, etc. I hate housework so TV makes it tolerable. But when I'm on deadline, nothing much gets done and my social life dwindles to almost nothing. Let's just say we watch more videos on weekends these days–it's just easier.



  79. Lynnda - Passionate for the Glory of God on May 7, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    >I gave up
    1. shopping
    2. playing computer games
    3. reading for escape
    4. cooking
    5. counted cross stitch needlework

    and I cut back on the number of people I mentor.

    Since this is the path God directed me to take, the loss of everything – while real – does not begin to compare to the rewards I've gained by obeying Him.

    Thanks, Rachelle, for reminding me of the majesty of God.

    Be blessed,

    Lynnda



  80. WhisperingWriter on May 7, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    >Hmmm.

    Well, I don't cook much.

    And I probably don't get outside as much as I should. No wonder I'm so pale.

    I feel bad admitting this but I probably don't spend enough time with my kids. I mean, I try but sometimes I'm all, "Mommy needs to finish up this chapter…"

    I do still watch a lot of TV. I probably shouldn't. But I can't get enough of those dang doctor shows. And okay, some reality ones. *Hangs head in shame*



  81. BiMbyLaDs** on May 7, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    >watching my weight. Writing means eating at desk, which means gaining excess weight.. argh

    I dont watch tv, but it's always on anyway

    I dont sleep till four am.



  82. Amy K. Sorrells on May 7, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    >Sanity, perceived and actual.



  83. GFH on May 7, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    >Wow. Great questions.

    I look at "successful" writers and I wonder what they've given up.

    I see writers from broken homes who have sacrificed their families to pursue writing. I see writers who have maintained a family, but I wonder about the "quality" because they're writing 80 hours a week.

    Then I see those that try to balance both and aren't good at either.

    And I see those that balance both and do relatively well at the family thing but not so much on the writing side.

    I work 40 hours a week at a job and have a wife and 3 kids. How can I dedicate time to write without sacrificing something from one or the other (or both) and still manage to sleep some? My kids don't play sports and very few extracurricular activities and we're very close. I will not give that up even for writing. So I write when I can and have reached the realization that I will probably never write anything major BUT STILL HOPE that I will and that MAYBE I'll write something that will enable me to write full-time. So, I have HOPE, but am fully prepared to say at the end of my life, that I was a good father and husband, but never a successful author. 🙂



  84. Deborah on May 7, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    >I gave up a lucrative but stressful and lifesucking career as a business executive to devote myself to editing fiction. So I've had to give up the well-heeled lifestyle: fine wines, expensive restaurants, exotic vacations, nice clothes, day spas, twice-weekly housecleaners…

    I made the right decision.



  85. Scott on May 7, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    >1 – I don't go out with friends as much as I like.
    2 – I limit my tv watching to 1 or 2 programs
    3 – I don't read as often as I'd like.

    As much as I sacrifice for writing, it all ends up being about balance. I give up a little bit here, there, and everywhere! It's a choice I willingly make to pursue what I want to do.



  86. D.J. Morel on May 7, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    >Great post! Five things in particular:
    1) Sleep. I get up at 5:30 a.m. to write before heading in for the day job.
    2) Social life. Not much time for it during the week, so it's squeezed into Saturday afternoon.
    3) Reading. Still read a lot, but would read much more if I wasn't also writing.
    4) Yard work. Never liked it much anyway. Dandelions are just flowers after all.
    5) TV. Don't have cable, for periods haven't had a TV at all.



  87. Daniel F. Case on May 7, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    >I have a garage full of woodworking machinery and tools, most of which haven't even been touched since my first writer's conference. I love creating things with wood, but I love creating with words more.

    I also gave up cleaning the garage, so I can't get to most of those machines and tools even if I tried.

    I collect and restore vintage radios. I haven't bought a single radio since restarting my writing journey, and the workbench where I did the restorations–well, it's in the garage.

    I'm an actor, and I love the stage. I haven't even auditioned since I began writing again.

    I have a gorgeous Taylor guitar downstairs. I haven't had it out of the case in so long that my fingers would probably try to type on it instead of playing–but I didn't play worth a hoot anyway, so it might be an improvement.

    I gave up trying to maintain the weeds that masquerade as my lawn. This is a plus though; I hated doing it anyway, and now I have an excuse to hire a kid to mow it for me.

    I gave up the misery of those years when I tried to convince myself I'm not a writer and tried to fill that hole with all sorts of other creative stuff. That's one thing I "gave up" that I never, ever want back.

    D.



  88. Elizabeth Flora Ross on May 7, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    >What a great post! As a full time mom to a 16 month old, writing cannot be my priority right now, even though it is my passion. I write @ night after she has gone to bed. Gave up TV, and don't get to spend much time with my hubby as result. But I take a break from writing on the weekends so we can get some time together. When my daughter starts school I will have more time to devote to writing, but I'm not in any rush. These days with her are not something I will ever be able to relive.



  89. Elizabeth Flora Ross on May 7, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    >What a great post! As a full time mom to a 16 month old, writing cannot be my priority right now, even though it is my passion. I write @ night after she has gone to bed. Gave up TV, and don't get to spend much time with my hubby as result. But I take a break from writing on the weekends so we can get some time together. When my daughter starts school I will have more time to devote to writing, but I'm not in any rush. These days with her are not something I will ever be able to relive.



  90. Rachel on May 7, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    >I quit my job playing violin with a professional chamber orchestra, and I only watch one television show a week.



  91. MJR on May 7, 2010 at 8:05 AM

    >I'm struggling with this issue right now. I can't give up things, even though I know I have to if I want to finish my novel (singing in a women's choir etc etc). My job at a book printing company has just this week gone from full-time to part-time due to recession, so I will have one extra day a week to write. I guess my sacrifice is a financial one–I don't want to find another job so I will need to prioritize financially to make it work.



  92. shawn smucker on May 7, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    >i actually did a guest post on balance today entitled: "An Argument Against the Balanced Life, or I am a Writer." you can read it here, if you are interested: http://www.andilit.com/?p=669



  93. lynnrush on May 7, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    >SWEET post.
    Yep, there are things that give.

    I don't watch much TV…maybe, like two shows.
    I don't clean as much as I'd like to. Especially when I'm in the middle of a story..pretty much everything goes on hold. LOL.
    I don't go out with friends as much anymore.

    Happy Friday, everyone.



  94. Bernita on May 7, 2010 at 7:45 AM

    > I don't dust had me laughing…I don't either…but then I never liked to dust anyway.
    I've given up a lot of those things, some were no great sacrifice.
    I won't give up my blogging and internet visits though…my web friends have helped me through a dark time when I almost chucked writing.



  95. Rowenna on May 7, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    >I haven't yet truly had to give anything up–all of my activities balance themselves, so I can work, exercise, cook dinner every night, meet friends for drinks once in a while, sew, camp, and hike. And still write, edit, query, blog.

    But I don't have kids yet. That's probably why I can't still feel balanced.



  96. Katy McKenna on May 7, 2010 at 7:32 AM

    >I think Timothy makes an excellent point. If you claim to have given up something you didn't have anyway (an elusive trip around the world…), that's no big sacrifice for your art.

    If you claim to have given up eating, sleeping, exercise, and all your relationships,is that a good thing? It would be a great additional question to ask: What things in your life come BEFORE your writing?

    I know there are things in my life that are still more important, priority-wise, than my writing. I would hesitate to admit it if the opposite were true….



  97. Katy McKenna on May 7, 2010 at 7:23 AM

    >I am sorry I accidentally posted twice!

    I really hesitate to cut back much on time spent with family and friends. I may not initiate a lot of having-company-to-my-house, because I tend to be an overachiever when it comes to the house and food I'm serving and therefore it just takes too much prep time to do often. But I RARELY turn down the opportunity to see a cherished friend, to visit a loved one in the hospital, or to strengthen a relationship over a cup of coffee.

    I have already given up a lot over the long-term care needs of my mother, and a further social toll is not one I'm willing to take. I need my peeps, and my writing is only improved with the joy of spending time with them.



  98. Tony Kerr on May 7, 2010 at 7:22 AM

    >I don't go to the gym (but I do go cycling at 6am every morning and try to think what my characters are doing today)
    I don't meet any friends for lunch (and have to hide in obscure cafes to get any writing done)
    I don't have an agent – I'm writing my third book now, working full time, and don't have time to find one!
    I don't do famous. Yet!
    http://wmacademy.blogspot.com/



  99. Katy McKenna on May 7, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    >Some decisions are made for you as you get older, I've found. Over the years, I bet I've crocheted more than 200 baby afghans–for friends, my own kids, relatives, and a ministry. Now I'm expecting my first two grandkids, and MAN do I want to crochet up a storm!! THIS is what all my crocheting "practice" had been for, after all: I've been WAITING for the call that grandkids were on the way! Only now, in the past year, I've developed serious arthritis in 3 fingers, and THAT has forced me to make choices. I tried to put some garden plants in the ground and couldn't do it, though I did it easily last year. That left crocheting for my grandkids, or WRITING. I truly can't attempt both. I actually called my kids to tell them about my Grandma dream of crocheting hats and sweaters and booties. Guess what they said? "Mom, honestly, if you made those things we probably wouldn't actually put them on the baby anyway…"

    So that settles it!!! These fingers will go down typing. Unless, of course, I decide to take up dusting, hahaha.



  100. Shelby on May 7, 2010 at 7:15 AM

    >I don't do those things also. I didn't know I was not alone. Wow. And I mean it.

    Cheers. Seriously.



  101. Katy McKenna on May 7, 2010 at 7:13 AM

    >Some decisions are made for you as you get older, I've found. Over the years, I bet I've crocheted more than 200 baby afghans–for friends, my own kids, relatives, and a ministry. Now I'm expecting my first two grandkids, and MAN do I want to crochet up a storm!! THIS is what all my crocheting "practice" had been for, after all: I've been WAITING for the call that grandkids were on the way! Only now, in the past year, I've developed serious arthritis in 3 fingers, and THAT has forced me to make choices. I tried to put some garden plants in the ground and couldn't do it, though I did it easily last year. That left crocheting for my grandkids, or WRITING. I truly can't attempt both. I actually called my kids to tell them about my Grandma dream of crocheting hats and sweaters and booties. Guess what they said? "Mom, honestly, if you made those things we probably wouldn't actually put them on the baby anyway…"

    So that settles it!!! These fingers will go down typing. Unless, of course, I decide to take up dusting, hahaha.



  102. Timothy Fish on May 7, 2010 at 7:11 AM

    >I gave up

    – trips around the world
    – my quest to recover the treasure from a sunken ship
    – my chance to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company
    – my dream of owning a restaurant

    If we’re going to talk about the stuff we gave up, we might as well talk about the interesting stuff. The way I see it, we find time to do the stuff that we really want to do and the stuff we “gave up” is stuff that we don’t see as a high priority. Which is why I get nervous when people start talking about not spending time with their kids because of their writing. The more telling thing is what we place in front of our writing.

    And Dave makes a good point. If I don't sleep, I can't write.



  103. Mesmerix on May 7, 2010 at 7:05 AM

    >Sleep.



  104. Carole on May 7, 2010 at 7:01 AM

    >Sanity.



  105. Author Sandra D. Bricker on May 7, 2010 at 6:55 AM

    >I'm sorry, I don't understand. No one ever told me I had the option to give something up. No wonder I'm so exhausted.



  106. Emily Ashton on May 7, 2010 at 6:37 AM

    >It is interesting to read everyone's reaction to this post. I remember seeing an interview with Nora Roberts once and they asked her "How do you do it?" meaning write, what? 10-12 books a year :), have a family, etc.

    She responded with a great analogy about juggling. I'm paraphrasing but she said something to the effect of "You have all these balls in the air. Some of them are rubber and if you drop them, they will bounce back. But some of them are glass and if you drop them, they will shatter."

    That stuck with me, though I am still trying to work out which are glass and which are rubber.

    Like another poster said, I still try to do everything. As a result, none of it seems to be getting done well.



  107. Laura Pauling on May 7, 2010 at 6:36 AM

    >Definitely gave up scrapbooking after making a couple. It's just as time consuming and way more expensive! And television. Which I don't miss.



  108. Adventures in Children's Publishing on May 7, 2010 at 6:32 AM

    >This has been a discussion that is relevant for us all. I appreciate that it's opened dialogue from so many people, so that we can all see this is not an unusual struggle. As an elementary school teacher, I can't exactly do much during the day toward writing, so I try to find inspiration from my students. The funny things they say and do, observing how they converse with one another, or making mental notes of what they're choosing to read… I'd like to think I'm multi-tasking as a teacher and writer to maximize my time.

    With Mother's Day approaching, I must give credit to all of you who have children out there. How you balance motherhood on top of careers, writing, and other obligations pushes me to strive toward better time management in my pursuit of publication.

    Marissa



  109. Carol J. Alexander on May 7, 2010 at 6:28 AM

    >Hi,
    I don't own a TV and I've trained my kids to clean the house 🙂
    Since I write non-fiction I can't give up the gardening and the homeschooling as that is what I write about! But I rarely bake, my daughter does my sewing and milks the goat and my son takes care of the chickens.
    I tried giving up sleep and got sick so that does NOT work.
    But I would LOVE to quilt and don't, would LOVE to scrapbook and don't and would love to spend more time developing friendships and I don't.



  110. Wendy Paine Miller on May 7, 2010 at 6:25 AM

    >Like Dave, I put a high priority on sleep. Like you, I also never sleep past 7am, but I try to get to bed at a decent hour. Just this morning I was in bed laughing because yesterday my husband told me he has a dust allergy. I’m not so sure. He couldn’t survive in our room. I’d hear him sneezing all the time. My PTA president neighbor keeps me updated on the latest. I watch only my few favorite shows on certain nights. I don’t do lunch with friends often because it falls during my prime writing time. I spend more money on books than clothes (no idea what the latest trends are). And somehow I manage to get the laundry done, all those happy colors together, but they end up in heaps on our bedroom floor. And I won’t even mention the sad state my nails are in. Besides maybe dusting, so my husband’s allergies don’t kick in, I’m not sure I’d have it any other way.
    ~ Wendy



  111. shawn smucker on May 7, 2010 at 6:11 AM

    >-my wife and i gave up tv for a year
    -i decided not to pursue a normal career (which means we've given up having health insurance supplied by a company, a 401k, a weekly paycheck)
    -in order to be able to afford for me to write full time, we moved into a very small house with our four children (albeit in the middle of the countryside/woods so very beautiful

    but as i'm writing this list i'm realizing that i don't even want any of these things anymore. helping other people get their stories down, and writing my own, seems to be the most important thing in the world to me right now.



  112. Buffy Andrews on May 7, 2010 at 6:00 AM

    >Between working full time, trying to exercise a couple times a week, being on my church council and the principal's advisory committee at my son's school, mother's group at church etc. etc. etc. I feel spread very thin sometimes. Unfortunately, my family probably sacrifices the most. My kids are older so they don't need me as much as they once did. And my husband is very supportive, although secretly I think he would like to have my company more. I only watch one show on TV. I'm up early to write and stay up late to write. Friday night is totally for my husband (unless he's on call and not home). I wish I had more time to do everything I want to do. Some days I look at the clock and marvel how fast the day went. In the end, I try to strike a balance to make my family happy and me happy. I'm not perfect, though, and I wish I could say that's it's easy, but it's not.



  113. Katie Ganshert on May 7, 2010 at 5:25 AM

    >- I don't cook dinner most nights (hubby does that)
    – I don't keep the house as clean as I'd like it
    – I don't sleep in (my alarm goes off at 4 am)….which leads to…
    – I don't get nearly as much sleep as I used to before writing became a lifestyle
    – Television? What's that?
    – Sadly, I don't exercise nearly as much as I used to



  114. Gwen Stewart on May 7, 2010 at 5:23 AM

    >I don't:

    1. Watch much TV–only in bed as I fall asleep
    2. Go to movies
    3. Spend the weekend shopping
    4. Garden
    5. Knit, sew, crochet
    6. Play sports (just exercise)
    7. Play video games
    8. Lay around, doing nothing
    9. Bake or explore new recipes



  115. Jessica Nelson on May 7, 2010 at 5:19 AM

    >Good post! Mostly I give up tv and all the hours of reading I'd do if I wasn't writing. I still read every day, but it's not near what I used to do.
    I hate cooking. Wish I could say I gave it up for the sake of my art, *grin*, but it's not so.



  116. Jay on May 7, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    >I don't watch sports (never wanted to, anyway).
    I don't play video games.
    I don't design websites (used to).
    I don't play guitar (used to).
    I don't eat.

    The last one is false, but I'm sure if my writing life got cranked up I would not have time for that.



  117. gentlewomanthief on May 7, 2010 at 5:15 AM

    >This post has struck a nerve with me – I try to do everything, I've tried not to give things up (in fact, I've tried to take extra things on) and reading this, I've realised that's probably why my WIP is languishing and I don't have the energy to work on it. (Which is extra frustrating because it's 40,000+ words in and it got me an excellent grade for my Masters in Creative Writing, so I know it's not rubbish… and yet I can't get back into writing it.)

    I do a large proportion of the cleaning at home (more than my fair share because mess stresses me out and the guys I live with can be a bit lax!).
    I sew.
    I make gifts (sometimes).
    I read (some).
    I watch certain TV programmes.
    I spend time with my partner.
    I bake (sometimes).
    I play computer games (sometimes).
    I socialise to a certain degree (this is probably the thing I have tended to sacrifice the most in the past, but having recently moved to a new city, I've made the effort to meet new people and build friendships, which all takes time).
    I try to do cultural things fairly regularly (eg, museums, about once every month or two).
    I'm hoping to start a teacher training course soon.
    I'm going to start skating soon (need to do some exercise).
    I spend time online – generally checking email, reading blogs and the like, as well as researching for my sewing and writing.

    So, I guess I need to give something up, because I love my story and the characters, I love writing and with what I do at the moment I just feel mentally/physically exhausted most of the time.

    Thank you for this post, Rachelle – you've given me an easy decision (to give something up so I can write) and also a hard one (what to give up, what to cut down on and what to keep up).



  118. Molly Hall on May 7, 2010 at 2:25 AM

    >Oh man. This is very thought provoking. I also don't watch TV. I don't keep my house perfectly clean. I stringently control the scope of my garden (as in one kale plant and a few sprouting green beans so the kids can experience "gardening".) I choose to skip social events quite often because I prefer either to be writing or with my family. But, you know what? It feels good to say no to some things in service to something as important as a dream! : )



  119. Alexandria on May 7, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    >Wow. I guess this makes me the odd woman out. I've no kids and no spouse and I'm still living rent-free in my parents' basement. But, that being said, I'm also a full-time student working on my MLIS in archives and records management and between school, my part-time job, and my internship that's about 40 hours a week.

    I watch way too much TV and practically live off Netflix. I can't live (or write!) without music. I make sure to get at least an hour's worth of reading every day. I haven't really had to surrender anything for writing. I've been doing it in some form since I was 12 so my life just grew up around it. I suppose I could be going to the mall or something, but even when I go to the beach I drag my laptop or notebook with me. Heck, I even write on the job (Google Docs is my best friend).



  120. Dave Cullen on May 7, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    >Dusting. haha. I don't do that either, though I can't blame that one on the writing.

    I'm a little surprised about the sleep deprivation. I put a huge priority on sleep. I can do a lot of things when I'm low on sleep, and a lot of them nearly as well (just less pleasantly). But writing is not one of them. If I'm not rested, I can't write worth a crap.

    More importantly, I can't TELL whether I'm writing well. (When I'm cranky, I hate all of it.) This is crucial to me. When I'm on a roll and it's working, I know it, and I build on that, and I really hit my stride. When it's not quite working, I know I need to rework it, and I turn it round and round in my mind until it clicks.

    When I can't see it clearly, and can't tell the good from the bad, I can't really get anywhere. Sleep is precious for my work. I find a way to get it. Better to lose a few hours and sleep in than to lose a whole day.



  121. Marianne on May 7, 2010 at 1:47 AM

    >I never watch television.
    I don't dust.
    I don't play the ukulele (despite wanting to for years)
    I don't sleep in.
    I don't go to bed early either.
    I don't make homemade presents.
    I don't bake cakes.
    But I do still do yoga because all that sitting and writing can be hard on the body!
    I also listen to podcasts, read books and crochet on the train and bus on my way to work. I've tried writing on the commute but it doesn't seem to work for me.



  122. rosemaryinwheat on May 7, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    >Felt a little sting with this post, as I've been know to crochet in front of the television with my (hopefully) gourmet meal in the oven. But I swear I'm also thinking about my WIP! Does that redeem me?

    Great post.



  123. Liz H. Allen on May 7, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    >I don't cook. I don't allow the kids to decide whether or not they are going down for naps/quiet time. I don't spend a lot of time with friends.

    But you know what I do? I get to write, and I love it.



  124. Kristin Miller on May 7, 2010 at 1:24 AM

    >Great post! I've given up on finishing laundry in a timely manner. When my husband needs something to wear he goes digging through baskets where clean, folded laundry didn't make it onto hangers. And I, too, don't knit, crochet or garden. Black thumbed gardeners unite! 🙂



  125. Shannon on May 7, 2010 at 1:24 AM

    >For me, achieving balance day in and day out simply isn’t possible. There are some days where I’m better at one role and another suffers. I strive for weekly (okay sometimes monthly) balance.

    With that said, I no longer worry about living out of the laundry basket, having a few dishes in the sink, or serving poptarts for dinner some nights.



  126. Dave Cullen on May 7, 2010 at 1:23 AM

    >What a cool post.

    One of my favorite moments in one of my favorite books–Tom Robbins' "Skinny Legs and All"–comes well into the book, when the protagonist, who is a painter/waitress runs into an old friend who happens to sit down at a table she's waiting. They catch up a bit, and the friend is so envious that the protagonist followed her dreams and is still painting, passionately, every day. She says something like, "I'd give anything to do that." The protagonist is silently infuriated, and thinks to herself, "I DID give up everything to do this."

    I'm quoting from memory, and it's a much better scene, but damn. It's not easy being an artist, of any stripe. You have to give up much of the rest. But it's also the most wonderful life in the world.

    I guess I gave up kids, maybe a husband (though who knows if I'd have found one–hahaha), living in New York City (for now), vacations for the past 15 years, knowing how I would pay my rent . . .

    But I still manage to garden and watch a lot of TV. The plants keep me sane. So does going to the gym. Sanity is not over-rated.



  127. Traci on May 7, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    >Great post! Priorities are so hard to set in the "real world." I'm a full-time English teacher (in fact, this is finals week – eek!) and during semesters, I'm consumed with crazy amounts of grading. In the past 2 weeks alone, I've graded 300 essays and 150 final exams. No help, no "aides." Just me.

    But even through all of that, I've managed to eke out a few minutes here or there to edit my novel and do some brainstorming. I miss it if I don't. And, I really consider it "me" time. Time I'm not giving to the school, to my students. It's all mine.

    What I give up in order to balance work and writing: sleep, t.v. shows I would LOVE to sit and watch, more sleep, books I'd love to read, online time I'd like to have.

    My life is usually all about the grading (I never skimp on my job for my writing — but — I also try not to let my job be so all-consuming that I neglect my writing altogether).

    Loved the picture you included – that's an accurate image, I think, for any writer!



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