The Blender

I talk a lot about my day job relative to my writing life. The two subjects are inextricably linked for me and, at this stage in my life, I have to do both. More than that, I choose to do both. I’m a better writer because I don’t have to worry about pesky things like a 401K and health insurance. And I’m a better day job employee because I have a creative outlet.

Would I prefer to write solely as my profession? You bet. Is this a viable choice right now? For me, no it’s not.

What it does mean is that my life is often a whirling blend of responsibilities. And to be quite pointed and frank, sometimes the damn blender is on overload.

This past year has fit that bill to a T. And what’s been interesting is what I’ve learned to take out of the mix. It hasn’t necessarily slowed down the blender, but it has given me a few less items to focus on. In no particular order, here’s a few of the things I’ve learned.

1 – Quit worrying about everyone else

I used to worry about disappointing people. And then something wonderful began to kick in earlier this year. I got over it. Am I still producing at the day job? Yes. Am I still writing and finishing books? Yes. Is it anyone’s business how I do those things?


2 – Ignore the noise

On the subject of other people…

I read a great quote a few years back. I wish I knew who said it, but the basic gist is that people love saying they know your situation but they have no interest in being part of the process. Do you have a friend who consistently makes you feel bad because you can’t do lunch at the drop of a hat because of your writing? Or a family member who can’t give you an hour or two of quiet to get some things done?

The problem is theirs, not yours. And those veiled attempts they may toss in about “worrying” about you? I’m not suggesting they aren’t true, but make a point to look really hard at what’s being said to you. If your health is suffering or relationships are truly on the rocks, they may have a point. If they simply think you’re working too hard because you can’t go play with them? Maybe its them.

Which brings me to the next point.

3 – Make time for fun and games and relaxation

You can’t work all the time. You can’t sustain the pressure of the blender (whatever ingredients make up your personal milkshake) and not find some time to let off steam. To forget whatever you’re working on for a while. To simply stop and enjoy yourself.

Otherwise, what are you working so hard for in the first place?

I’m sure you’ve all found your own personal blender and the crazy that makes up everyone’s daily life. What are some of your secrets for coping and for finding a way to get it all done? I’m always looking for a great productivity tip or a new way of looking at things and I welcome the suggestions!!

Thanks for joining me today!




13 responses to “The Blender”

  1. C.R. Grissom says:


    I’m in the same boat, a forty-hour work week followed by sneaking in writing in between every schedule crack and spare minute crevice. I carry my laptop with me everywhere because I never know when I might find fifteen minutes to write while I wait for the kid carpool. I’m trying to find a balance where I might give myself permission to watch a movie, talk a walk, or go shopping that doesn’t involve I’m there for my kids and my hubby. Sometimes I have to say no to friends, or cut events short. I’m trying to distance myself from the guilt I dump on myself. Your post resonated with me. Thanks for sharing!

    • Addison Fox says:

      C.R. – I’m glad the post resonated!! And I love the tip about having your laptop with you. It is amazing what can be accomplished – a page or two, completing a scene, going back and doing some editing work – in those spots of time.

      And here’s to distancing ourselves from that guilt. It’s amazing all the various ways it can creep in and its not needed. There are enough other things we’re all dealing with on a daily basis – no need to add to it!! 🙂


  2. Elisa Beatty says:

    Oh, I hear you so loud on this one!!

    It’s almost 11 pm for me after a long, long day of teaching, and then hours of homework help for my own kid with serious ADD.

    Right now I’m focusing my evenings on helping him figure out a way to manage school, and my writing is so far back on the back burner it’s in danger of growing cold.

    But I have at least managed to say no to a couple of other demands that I used to give too much time to…like deciding after 16 years of being a stalwart at teacher union meetings, I was going to ask a younger teacher to step up to the plate.

    I’m not even sure I’ll manage NaNo this year, but once the little guy gets into a more comfortable homework routine, I’m hoping I can at least have my laptop at the homework table and we can get our stuff done together.

    And at some point I might even get around to doing the dishes….

    • Addison Fox says:

      Elisa – that is an incredibly long day. And good for you on the teacher union meetings – it’s someone else’s turn! 🙂

      But I also hear you – our lives are complex and complicated and part of it (and part of what makes us writers who pay attention to the world) is our desire to do our very best in all those parts. Your little guy will find his stride. Sending you a virtual margarita in the meantime as he works through all the pressure of a new school year. xoxo

    • Addison Fox says:

      PS – those dishes are highly overrated!!!!

  3. Julia Day says:

    I’m another day job lover (software engineer). My day job is lots of fun, and I love the security of a regular check and benefits too.

    I enjoy finding ways to make my two jobs work together. I train new geeks and interns (fun way to make observations about characters and ensure I stay up on geeky electronics.) I facilitate meetings–so I get to watch and manage conflict in all its glory. And I’m the go-to person for editing anything my co-workers write, which makes me a better writer/editor of my own work.

    I worry that I spend too much time with “butt in the chair” when I’m at home. So I force myself to take walks. The first half of the walk has to be mindlessly enjoying the air and exercise. The second half— I indulge in working out a tricky plot point–no guilty feelings permitted.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      So true…interacting with lots of new people all the time provides ENDLESS material. All the students, parents, colleagues, administrators I work with, I see every possible side of human nature and personality. Doesn’t matter that I write historical; people are people, and the material is rich.

  4. I am in awe that you can work a full time job and still be as prolific as you are! Whenever I go back to having a day job for the financial security, my productivity invariably falls off a cliff. Thank you for the excellent advice for the next time I enter the blender. 🙂

  5. Ah, I remember the blender at full throttle days. I often wondered how I ever did it all and then one day it came to me. I realized I did it because I fed my passions. My family was never neglected. They came first and the result is a very close-knit family unit that remains today. I did my jobs very well. (At one time, I had a full-time job and three part-time jobs) I can hold my head high. And, I followed Hemingsway’s advice to Gellhorn—well anyone actually —write and read something every day.

    I didn’t do things for the sake of doing them because everyone else was doing them. I can count on two fingers the number of in-home parties I attended (remember Tupperware parties anyone? Nah). Soaps and sagas, I never got into them. Clubs on Saturday night-sorry not me.

    Life is shorter than you think. Feed your passions. When you look back you want to know without a doubt you took care of them. And yes, don’t compare yourself to others. This is about you!

    Great advice today, Addison. Inspiring. xoxo

  6. Oh, Addison, I love these, especially #3. Writers MUST find down time or unstructured time for that is when we fill the creative well. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  7. Tamara Hogan says:

    Great tips, Addison. In particular, I need to work on “Ignore the noise.” I must be honest; our current political/cultural scenario feels like such a dumpster fire that I’m finding it nearly impossible to write happily-ever-afters. Despite no longer having a day job, I’m not making nearly as much progress on my WIP as I’d planned.

    I have a book coming out in a couple of weeks, and it seems the primary thing I use social media for is to yell at politicians. (Branding: You’re doing it wrong.) I’m not feeling particularly productive. I feel I should have more work to show for my time, and like any self-respecting perfectionist, I’m beating myself up about it. 🙂

    Thankfully I have some editing work, and a villains class to develop, but… /sigh/ I need to snap out of this pretty soon. I’m badly overdue for a digital detox, but right now feels like a very poor time to be uninformed.

    It’s a dilemma. Suggestions, anyone?

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oy!! I know SO many creative people who’ve felt their energy sapped by the crazy, ugly, how-can-it-get-more-awful-but-it-does-every-day mess we’re in.

      I think we all need to cut ourselves some extra slack right now.

  8. Darynda Jones says:

    “The problem is theirs, not yours.”

    I love this, Addison! Thanks for this post and the reminder to do what we do how we do it, not how others would like us to. I’ve always equated my life to a tornado, but I like the blender analogy better. So many things thrown into the mix, all meshing and blending together until it all seems like a blur. YEP.


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