Musings, Writing

A Writer’s Life 

Possibly one of the most famous quotes on writing and fairly typical. Whenever I search for quotes on writing it seems that we are supposed to find writing painful, torturous and impossible. We are meant to consume copious amounts of coffee and alcohol. We are meant to shut out the world and sit in darkened rooms writing all night. 

But how do we actually do this when we have jobs and families to juggle alongside our writing. I think the question I’ve been asked the most about writing is: How do you balance the rest of your life with it? How do you fit writing in? How can you have a good work / life balance when you’re a writer? 

I do think our worries come from all the quotes we’re fed about writing. We’re told we must suffer for our art. Writing tips consist of ‘you must write everyday to consider yourself a writer’ but is this actually possible with you have a day job / a family to look after / both these things?

I would love to write full time but at the moment that’s impossible so like most writers I try to fit in writing when I can. I haven’t been feeling well lately and I’ve felt stressed and had difficulty sleeping. I’ve told myself off for not wanting to write, for not being focused enough on it, for having days off from writing anything.

But the thing is – we do need to look after ourselves. Sitting in a dark room writing all night with coffee and alcohol isn’t good for us. I think we should be trying to achieve that work / life balance and not tell ourselves if it isn’t hurting us, if it’s not a constant struggle, then it isn’t ‘real’ writing. 

I want to love writing. Sometimes I want to write all day everyday and sometimes I need to have a break. And I think that’s okay. I think we all need that sometimes. 

Why can’t we give ourselves permission to enjoy being writers alongside everything else we have going on in our lives? 

What do you think? 



2 thoughts on “A Writer’s Life ”

  1. There is that myth, which some writers have definitely helped feed (alcohol, cigarettes, manual typewriters or stubby pencils, drugs, lovers, suicide, fist fights, etc.).

    I always remember my father’s words: “There is only one rule in writing — write well.”

    Hemingway did most of those things, and Burroughs did the rest (with some overlap). Henry James didn’t do any of them. Unless you knew them personally, it doesn’t matter a bit. The words are what counts.

    Orson Welles used to say that one great thing about Shakespeare is that we know very little about him as a person, so we have no choice but to focus on the words.

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