What You Really Need to Survive as a Writer


Whoa! If you’re a writer suffering the doldrums, adjust your attitude. (Photo by Vince Fazzi, Folsom, Calif., 2015)

Do you sometimes wish you’re not a writer? I do—in times of rejection. As they say, when you get rejected, write something new. The problem is how to juggle a full-time job, family life, and writing, especially when you’re down in the dumps.

A recent blistering rejection coincided with my move into a new house without furniture or blinds. It was my second move in ten months. During one of those moments when just about any house (with curtains), any job (non-writing), and anybody’s life seemed better than mine, I stumbled upon an essay titled “How to Balance Writing, Family, Work, and Life.” Alleluia! Just what I needed.

A second look at the article made me pause. The rest of the headline said, “An Unhelpful Guide for the Perplexed.” Well, I read it anyway.

The article by David James Poissant turned out to be a 30-point “guide” for writers. I especially like the first four items:

  • Resolve to balance work, family, writing, and everything else in your life.
  • Understand that you will never be able to balance work, family, writing, and everything else in your life.
  • Understand that, from this point forward, in order to be successful in any one area of your life, you will need to neglect one or more other areas of your life. This means that, at all times, you will be either a bad parent, a bad writer, or a bad employee. Get used to being one of these things.
  • The trick is to make sure you’re not being all three of these things all at once.

As I continued reading, I found myself smiling. Although the article didn’t teach me how to balance the different (often competing) aspects of my life, I did learn something. As a writer, what I really need is a reason to smile when nobody wants my work—something to tide me over until the sting of rejection subsides and I can begin again. That’s not too hard. Sometimes, all it takes is an article with the right attitude.

Read David James Poissant’s article:

How to Balance Writing, Family, Work, and Life: An Unhelpful Guide for the Perplexed

Photo by Vince Fazzi, 2015

Photo by Vince Fazzi, 2015

Leave a comment


  1. Reblogged this on Angie Dokos.

  2. I really like this “guide.” It’s so true but yet we expect that we can balance all these parts of our lives and do it well and effortlessly, don’t we? It’s nice to be reminded that it’s not possible. No one can do it and that’s ok. We keep working at all the things we need to in a juggling act and maybe one day it will come together, or not. That’s ok too.


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