Monday, June 3, 2013

My Unbalanced Life

My Unbalanced Life
By Mary Connealy
I have people ask me how I find time to do all the marketing involved with being an author and still get my books written.

Buy on Amazon
Add in I’ve got a husband who likes some attention, four adult daughters who I love hanging around with, two glorious grandchildren who NEED THEIR GRANDMA!!! A home to maintain and a full time job.

So how do I do it all? Here’s the answer. 
I don’t.

When someone asks me how I balance everything I have to admit I am unbalanced. I believe there has been some paperwork filed with the County Attorney to that affect.
Writing isn’t something I find time for. Writing is my default activity. I have to be dragged away from my stories. It’s the rest of my life that I struggle with. 
Mary's Unbalanced Life
Writers write. That’s what we do. No one can sit alone for hours on end, having imaginary conversations with themselves….if they don’t love it.

When you talk with a writer who is harried and exhausted and under deadline she may worry about getting her book finished but that’s not because she doesn’t love writing, it’s because life intrudes on her book. She has to pull herself away and feed small children. Field emergency phone calls. Pay attention to her husband, very often the man supporting her while she works on her often poorly paying little hobby/job. Walk the whining dog.
Click to buy A Bride for All Season
on Amazon
And don’t even talk about marketing. It’s fun to write blog posts. 

I’m having a really good time right now. It’s writing, of course it’s fun. But it takes time. It takes creative energy. And that book is always whispering to you, alive in the back of your head ‘come back. You left your heroine hanging on a cliff by her fingernails. You left your hero heartbroken but too macho to admit he loves the heroine. You left a villain who needs to be arrested and shot and beaten with a big stick.
If the world would just leave a writer alone there would be only peace and harmony (for her at least, heaven help the kids and husband and dog).

I have people say to me A LOT ‘I think I have a book in me.’ Or sometimes, ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book.’

I always say, “You know, write if you have the desire but don’t feel bad if you never get that book written. Sitting alone hour after hour makin’ stuff up isn’t a very normal way to conduct your life and most people just can’t do it. They like human interaction, they like talking to REAL people. They like MOVING. 

I tell heartbroken, cruelly rejected authors that if they can’t take the pain then GET OUT. Go do something else. The money is probably better in a career that includes the words, “You want fries with that?”
For the most part, writers can’t stop. The pain and rejection and public humiliation (I’m thinking of One Star Amazon Reviews here) would stop any writer if they could be stopped. 
But there is peace in knowing this is how God made me. We just have to accept that. Embrace who we are. Live an unbalanced live with joy—since you can’t stop anyway.

Tell me about your unbalanced life...or how do you have time to live when you've got a book to write! :) A comment gets your name in a drawing for a signed copy of A Bride for All Seasons
A Bride for All Seasons
releases June 18th
It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .

This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.

“And then Came Spring” by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea.

“An Ever After Summer” by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.

“Autumn’s Angel” by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. ­ e trouble is, there’s no money to send them back . . .

“Winter Wedding Bells” by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?
Click to buy A Bride for All Season on Amazon


  1. oh my goodness, writing is a time consuming activity!

    We got rid of the tv years ago, now both of us wonder how we ever got anything done with that thing in the house.....of course, adding small children to the family might have something to do with why I have no time.

  2. My husband has always counseled would-be ministers, "If you can do anything else, don't preach." He could never do anything else.

    I find a lot of parallels between his preaching and my writing. It's what we HAVE to do.

    Coffee will be ready for early morning.


  3. My real problem is I want to write. It's REAL LIFE that I don't have time for. :D

  4. Writing is very time-consuming for me.
    Luckily, I am still in school, so during the summers I have more time to write. I try to write every day though.
    Otherwise, it is very unbalanced. :)

  5. I love anthologies and this one sounds like one I'll really enjoy.
    My life is unbalanced, but I am trying to set it straight. Buying a 100 year old house that needed to be gutted and redone was the start. Playing musical rooms and boxes for years has kind of gotten me used to the mess. Now the mess has taken over and I'm fighting it. Add to that the blogs I like to follow and I am up way to late at night (note the time of this post). Then I have to find time to read all the lovely books I have. They are actually part of the mountain that has taken over the house. The wonderful husband, children, and grandchildren are there and very patient with me.

    Love your books Mary.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  6. The biggest fiction is that writing isn’t real life. Writing is the mind of real life. And the writer is its soul. Writers give us other lives to live.

    A balanced life is like a balanced scale: totally static and going nowhere.

    Life’s energy is only found in the unbalanced ‘up’ of challenge and the unbalanced ‘down’ of exhilaration.

    Right now
    write now.

  7. Library Pat I really enjoyed your post. You should be a writer.Your visuals were OUTSTANDING!!

  8. I had such a productive week.

    The secret?

    No showering and no cleaning house.

  9. I'm guessing I am unbalanced too.

    Mary, perhaps you should start an organization.

    Unbalanced Anonymous...though if I continue to not shower I will not be anonymous.

  10. Thank Goodness, Mary, you manage to write! I love your books and would have hated to miss out on them.

  11. I'm with Melissa. Ditched television about three years ago. Then when I fell in love with Downton Abbey and Duck Dynasty, there was Netflix. =)

    And I live alone so it is easier to write when I want to. Here's something I wrote this weekend actually. (Waving at Natalie!)

    The trashcan became storage weeks ago and the desk a morgue for used dishes. From her leather chair in the corner, Nancy ignored the evidence of her obsession. Just one more chapter.

  12. Oh and Tina, NO SYNOPSIS for the Lonestar. =) So I still need to write one, eventually, but not under the gun. And Helen, I didn't know your husband was a preacher. That's awesome!

  13. im not a writer but am definately unballanced. Especially when travelling and staying on the 17th floor with a lift that lands on each floor (did I mention I was on the 17th floor) seemed to stop at least 5+ times. I would get out and this is a hotel with open air concept, the area with the lifts was open with railing thank goodness cos with my balance issues add the lift ( I did mention the 17th floor right) I could not walk straight!

    I hear people I meet say they have thought of writing a book and I just look at them and know they will never do it. I have been hanging out at places like seekerville long enough to know a serious writer from a want to be author who thinks its easy and they could do better but never really do anything. I have the active (very) imagination but when it comes to putting pen to paper or fingers to keys I dont have the the writers artistic ability. I could tell a story but not capture it on paper (and when it comes to describing the heroine etc well shes a lady what else is needed?).

    Melissa. its interesting ever since I got sick last year and mum passed away I watch so much less tv. I am still so tired I dont read like I use to. (right now still jetlag. Im ready for bed at 6pm) But on a plus am sleeping a little better.

    PS I am home safe. Tried to post Thursday and Friday but the hotel computer banned all Blogs. In Washington DC it banned Seekerville cos they said it had adult content.
    I got home Saturday exhausted but I am happy to be in my own bed and have the fire burning. I blog more of my trip and will add more.
    I loved meeting the Atlanta Ladies. I tell everyone about it.
    I am also thankful for authors who included history that made my trip more intersting.
    (I also LOVE squirrels if you are a facebook friend you will see how much I love them I even took a small video of one)
    Would love to read this latest book.

  14. LOL. Love it, Nancy!

    ( Duck Dynasty? )

  15. It's not easy to admit that the life we've worked for and longed for is quite often a stinking intrusion on the thing we REALLY WANNA DO.

    If left alone to work, most writers will write until they get down right bleary and smelly. Perhaps it's a good thing we have to let the dog out and find the kitchen and speak with normal people or we'd be mistaken for the next 'uni-bomber'. Yes, that's the Royal We. I admit it. I am a hermit as often as I can be so I can just write...

    I think Vince is right. We may not seem to have a life up there in that writing cave, but we really have multiple lives.

  16. My life is unbalanced. I work a full time job that pays my bills. I work my Mary Kay business in between the JOB. It's pretty successful this year as I'm on target to finish as a Princess. Tiara anyone? And I read to review.

    So how do I manage it? I read at work on lunch and at home. I've had to learn how to manage my time, but I don't feel the best at it.

    As for writing, right now, most of my writing is in my journal or unsent emails. I have stories in various forms of completion from a sentence or two to entire chapters. Others just have a rough outline of character names and places. I've found, recently, that when I give myself a block of time (typically on Saturdays and Sundays) to write, that I have words and ideas flowing. Of course I have a distraction of a sweet furry creature who demands my lap and lays there purring loudly, but I still will push through.

  17. LOL, Mare, read this line and both groaned and laughed at loud at the same time:

    "When you talk with a writer who is harried and exhausted and under deadline she may worry about getting her book finished but that’s not because she doesn’t love writing, it’s because life intrudes on her book."

    Shhhhh ... you are NOT supposed to admit this because I've been denying this to my family FAR too long now that I will look like a fraud if this gets out ... ;)

    You may be "unbalanced," Mary Connealy, but it SO fits you!! Hey ... "Unbalanced" would be a GREAT title for one of your books, you know ... :)


  18. I'm glad to know there are others out there...
    I'm truly upset by the display of donuts, though...Must...go...get...some! :)

  19. Melissa, subtract the TV, I don't watch it a lot but it's probably too much. I can't imagine writing with small children.
    Anyone who managed has my deepest admiration. I barely got a shower taken for a few years there (the 80s)

  20. HELEN thanks for the coffee.
    Writing as a calling. That's a great way to look at it. I think of it more as a compulsion, but your way is better. I'm going with it.

  21. HEATHER you're so young. I love that you're already working at writing so young. I wish I'd started earlier, but I had to wait until they invented the computer and the internet.

  22. librarypat fixing up a 100 year old house sounds so cool.
    I actually live in a 90 yo old house and it's kinda a mold and rodent infested pit.

    Not as charming as it sounds really.

  23. VINCE, first of all, I know how to do words in bold now but it really takes so LONG to type out those little <'s and b's, it is annoying. I admire your perseverence. :)

    Second, I'm printing out your comment and framing it. YES I'm supposed to be unbalanced.
    I've got a court date and I plan to use your comment in my defense. (fingers crossed)

  24. Being UNBALANCED is a little like being A TROUBLED LONER. Both just have a bad reputation. We need to embrace them as writers.

  25. TINA, to start an organization called Unbalanced Anonymous suggests we want to be cured.

    Why would we want that????????????

    ps showers are terribly time consuming, I totally respect skipping them.

  26. LILSIS, thank you. Love your blogger name btw

  27. NANCY just remember these wise words:

    No one ever got on television for throwing too much stuff away.

  28. JENNY WELCOME HOME (that doesn't sound exactly right, as if I'm there). Anyway, what an adventure you've been on.
    My mind is boggled.
    I'm never going to be a casual flier.

  29. Mary, Thank you for what you give up/put off to give us readers who let laundry, bills, etc. go to read about your imaginary friends who then become our friends!

    Gina McRae

  30. I mean I'm never going to be good at it. I have to do it some.

  31. DEBRA I think you're right. Being pulled away from the computer is probably a good thing.

    And thanks EVERYONE for all the disturbing admissions about not showering!!!!! (?????)

  32. I can't wait to read this book!!! And, ugh...yes, what a dilemma! I've had a dream to be a writer forever. I always wonder why I didn't get serious about it BEFORE I had the 2 small My problem is trying to get inspiration and opportunity to line up! I seem to either be inspired to write with no time, or having time to write with no inspiration. It's tough.

  33. DAWN JANIS wow full time job, part time job and writing in addition. Sounds like your hours are full.

  34. JULIE ... Unbalanced as a book title.
    I write crazy people just a bit too often. I could make this work.

  35. MISTY that donut display??? well there were many pictures of tippy things to be is no great surprise I found the donut stack the one I wanted.

  36. CRYSTAL I never wrote a word until my baby went to Kindergarten. And I know people who do it and are wonderfully successful at it.
    But never ever regret the time with those little ones.
    As an empty nester I can tell you, they grow up FAST.
    Cherish the time when they're young.

  37. Hi Mary,
    I had to laugh at your post because I feel the same way sometimes! If only real life would stop intruding on my book! Seems whenever the creative juices are really flowing, that's when my kids want a snack or need me to settle a dispute. Or it's time to fix supper. I homeschool my three boys, so that adds to the work load. Finding time to write is a daily struggle, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I feel very blessed!

  38. Karen, homeschooling is such a commitment. I love that people do it.
    I had a very unusual schooling situation for my children. They attended a one room country school house. Most of them were either alone in their grade or had one classmate, but there were eight grades of kids in there.
    I loved that school and really respected that teacher, otherwise I might have considered home schooling, but this was quite a while ago and there wasn't so much of it back then, I'd have been really ground breaking. Now there's great material and a great support community for it.

  39. I am not a writer...just a reader...but my life gets unbalanced 'cause I love to read soo much! lol
    AND am anxious to read this book..please put my name in the Stetson!

    Jenny, glad you are back home safely!

  40. Your post made me smile, Mary. You may be unbalanced, but in a good way. The reason you get so many books written! I live life and write and love doing both, the reason I'm not prolific. But, I'm happy interacting with the real and imaginery characters in my life. Not to rub it in but I'm only slightly unbalanced. LOL


  41. Jenny, glad you're home and getting some rest! What a great trip you had!


  42. Yeah, I get this. You know, my family actually thinks they have to eat three times a day and that their meals just magically get set in front of them when its time. They insist on clean laundry but have no idea how to make that happen. Did anyone feed the dog? No, that's Mom's job. Annoying things like needing sleep and having to go to work always intrude at the most critical moments. But the writing goes on, somehow someway. Thanks, Mary. Sometimes it's just good to remember we're all in this craziness.

  43. Jackie, I'm a big reader too, and I wonder about all the hours I read and how much more writing I could get done if I'd write instead!
    You're name is in the drawing.

  44. Hi Janet. I can feel the balance in you, grasshopper.
    Congratulations no that whole 'I have a life' thing. My mind is boggled.

  45. Cindy, work and children and pets and all that stuff, and still you get some writing done. I really admire that.

  46. Mary, I have no idea how you work a full-time job, write all those books you write, and take all those cow pictures you post on facebook.
    My life is very unbalanced. My house gets very, very little attention, very little cleaning. That's the thing I'm sure is what is most wrong about my life. Lately I haven't been writing. I've been doing stuff with my kids and for my kids, and we went on vacation for three days that was completely exhausting. Today I need to write in between picking up my daughter's friend and making sure she and my daughter have food to eat while my husband has my kitchen torn apart as he tiles the floor. Plus, I plan to go to the gym. Before that, I didn't write for three and a half weeks because I was editing. I miss writing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't handle being away from it too long. The messy house? I feel bad about it, yes, but if I have to choose between cleaning and writing, writing always wins. That's the problem. Although today, to save my daughter from embarrassment and her friend from being uncomfortable, I guess I will go clean.

    Besides, the power saw is making my ears ring.

  47. Oh, my life is so unbalanced. Your line about life intruding on your story resonated with me. :) My story is calling to me right now. In the last two weeks, kids got out of school for summer. They were slated to go to church camp last week. That = 3 days of wonderful, glorious story time.

    One kiddo got sick with a yucky stomach bug and fever a few days before Leave Day. He seemed better. So, I dropped both kids off at the church, and got on with the business of the day. Let's just say that of those three days I got to write for two hours, after camp was over. One wrenched back (hubby's, not mine) and one trip to camp to bring home sick kiddo later, real life trumped writing life. My big balancing act is to keep my eyes on Jesus when He allows interruptions into "my" time.

    I really, REALLY want to ignore everything else and just write. So, we'll see how to move on from here.

    Thanks for your words, Mary!

  48. I'm not a writer, but if there is something I need to get done, I work to finish it and then treat myself:)
    Would love this book! Clp1777(at)aol(dot)com

  49. Mary, what a hot button you hit today for everyone. No showering, no cleaning, no, no, no! I have pictures in my head. Make them go away.

    I write because it makes me feel good. It is like a happy drug. That means I have an addiction problem.

    I want to write 24/7 but can only do it for a certain number of hours a day without my health being affected. I can't sit or type for that long.

    My biggest hurdle in managing my recovery has been to realize I will be a turtle when it comes to writing. But that means I spend time in the rest of the world. I might never be published but I am happy writing daily.


    Peace, Julie

  50. Melanie, I'm picturing you working a power saw into your next fairy tale. Then your editor will say, "Historically inaccurate, sorry."
    And you'll stare at the powersaw scene and not know how that happened!!!!

  51. Jeanne T, at the risk of repeating myself, there is no way you'll ever regret (big picture, not in the moment) the time devoted to your kids and their needs.
    My baby is 24, trust me, it went fast.
    Some days seem to never end, but the years fly by.

  52. Wow. (I feel as if I've been saying "Wow" a lot lately...)

    I wondered about writers finding time for their lives. Mary, you have sooo much going on... I think I would drop from exhaustion! I need to keep my personal complaints to a minimum (or learn to do away with them forever!) because, compared to some of you folks, I have it easy. My main problem is I've always felt as if I don't deserve "me time", and I still don't, not with our son, d-i-law, 22mo grandson, and granddaughter-was-due-yesterday-and-is-being-stubborn living in our house. I can find all sorts of excuses for not doing what I should be doing. Guess it's finally time to stop! (You'd think at the age of 54, I'd have learned to not make up excuses, huh? I can be a very slow learned at times.)

    Thank you for this post. Well-timed. Will print out later (getting ready to leave for prayer house duty and some grocery shopping) and will read all the comments later, too. :)

    Please toss my name into the Stetson for the book! I have one of yours in my Kindle for PC, one coming from winning here last week, and just love free books, especially with hubby out of work! LOL


  53. Courtney, I looked close at your ID picture and I MADE THE LINE UP OF BOOKS!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!
    I think for all of us BALANCE isn't really the right word.
    What we really do is, survive each day and face the next. And that's about all any of us can do.

  54. JULIE HILTON STEELE--Girl you sound like such a WRITER! :)

  55. Unbalanced? Mary Connealy? Surely not!

    Although that does help explain how some of your, um, less-than-sane characters seem so real.

    (I spent a couple hours on Saturday morning in a cave - channeling Seth Kincaid all the way through. You'll have to come see our caves sometime!)

    Now that the children are grown (but not gone - what is this "empty nest" you speak of?), less of my other life intrudes on my writing, but it's still there.

    VBS is looming. I'm still wondering how I ended up in charge. And then there's a garden, and cleaning, and laundry...and a husband who, after more than 30 years, still thinks it's a good idea to come home and ask "so what did you do all day?"

    My only solution is to give mornings to writing and the afternoons to the other stuff.

    Of course, sometimes I don't eat lunch until 2 or 3:00....

  56. MELANIE PIKE--those are some seriously top notch excuses, girl. Good for you!

  57. JAN DREXLER--I saw your cave pictures on Facebook. So beautiful.
    I really need to do that. Honestly, I needed to do that before I finished the Kincaid Brides series.
    It's too late to visit the Palo Duro Canyon area, too.
    You know what I need to do now?
    Visit far western Wyoming and the Shenandoah Valley.
    The internet is seriously cheap compared to plane tickets and hotel rooms.

  58. Amen, Mary! Confessions of an Unbalanced Writer!

    I was trying to reach a self-imposed deadline a few weeks back and it seemed LIFE just kept getting in the way. Boy, was I cranky!

    Not a lot better today, as dh was attempting some plumbing last night (re: installing a new toilet) and the next thing I knew, we had a fire-hydrant-type gusher coming out of the bathroom. About 40 gallons of water escaped before he could get to the basement and turn off the main water supply. Most of it water-falled into the basement and I have that wonderful mess to clean up later today. If it's dry enough. Sigh! Why does the man think he can do plumbing?

    Prayers to help us find a reasonable plumber would be appreciated.

    Unbalanced? You bet.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  59. SUSAN, here's a suggestion, does your husband have some skill he is capable of? Like...being a doctor or delivering pizza or something?
    Tell him to go work a few hours of overtime and use that money to hire a plumbing.

    btw My Cowboy husband can do some basic plumbing. He tears the toilet off and replaces it when necessary.
    I specifically remember a bottle of sun tan lotion being flushed by a curious toddler. Of course we didn't know WHY the toilet was backing up ... Liquid Plumbing wasn't helping.
    The look on My Cowboy's face when he pulled that bottle out of the pipes was priceless. We weren't laughing then of course.

  60. With 3 children and a husband and a dog, I don't have time to write but there are at least a couple of books in my mind running around. Oh, and I also work full time. So hopefully when the kids get back in school I can sit down and start. I have notes jotted down and have been reading A Novel Idea which is a great book to help would be writers.

  61. I just noticed that next to me as I prepare to edit on paper (I'm trying to chop down prose and crossing it out is the easiest way)... I have my Mary Connealy chapstick and a Seekerville pen.

    Feeling the power of the village as I go into battle...

    Here's an idea....give it as a gift to everyone who's kindle address you know. (hope they don't see the could they? Well, I guess they could go check on Amazon, but maybe they won't!)


  63. Mary,
    A one-room schoolhouse? Very neat! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for your kids. :)

  64. DEBRA, good there an expiration date on Chapstick? (shuddering as I go check my liability insurance coverage)

  65. NAOMI wow, girl. Busy busy time of life.
    You know, you might want to just start writing. Studying to write is keeping you from doing it. You can fix a badly written book but you can't fix a blank page.

  66. Karen I've just been amazed at the reaction I get when I say I attended a one room country school house and so did my husband and children. People are fascinated...especially when you get away from Nebraska, where it's more common, there are still a few of them around.
    I need to work it into a standard speech.

    1. I had no idea they were still in use! Learned something new today :)

  67. Well, I don't get to go to the gym because I have to help move things to help my husband with the kitchen renovation. Mary, there might be a power saw in my Medieval book, but I'm NOT WRITING! Unfortunately. And yes, I should stop checking Seekerville and go get something done. :P :P :P

  68. LOL, Mary. I'm sitting here laughing at the "Do you want fries with that" comment. :) So true!

    What a great post. I agree that sometimes real life gets put on the back burner. It's tough to find balance.

    Just yesterday I decided I need to enjoy my family more. My kids will all be grown and gone before I know it.

  69. LOL, Nancy Kimbell! I love it! That sounds so like me when I'm under a deadline. Or when I'm really into the flow of a story. :)

  70. Sorry, Nancy! I spelled your last name wrong.

  71. Melanie, surely renovating a kitchen is as much work as the gym, so you're getting your exercise. (trying to put a good spin on it)

  72. MISSY, I can remember so vividly when my oldest daughter was getting close to high school age, KNOWING that I wouldn't have my children under my own roof for much longer. And I remember cherishing any meal we all got to sit down to, together.
    I consider that just a wonderful blessing that I realized before they started to be out of the nest, to enjoy having them together.
    Saturday we managed to get two of them together at lunch time and it was so fun and of course I wished they could all be there.
    But we see them a lot.
    But the four girls (I've got four children, all girls btw) together with me and My Cowboy, it never happens now with sons in law and grand children and that's wonderful, too, because the sil are great guys and those precious grandbabies, oh my gosh!

  73. The flip side of cherishing the children when they were young is, My Cowboy used to say, "These kids are the most expensive toys we're ever bought, I'm playing with them."

  74. Well said, Mary! (As usual :) Love your insight.

    Summers are tough for me because the kids are at home ALL DAY and I have NO TIME alone and I get a little TWITCHY when I have long stretches without writing.

    Also, I have a deadline at the end of the summer. I don't know WHAT I was thinking!!??

  75. I think I'm kind of unbalanced, but it has nothing to do with my writing. :)

    Can't wait to read the new anthology, Mary.

    Jan (jan(at)janchristiansen(dot)me

  76. Haha. Mary, you said. "Life intrudes on her book." So true.

    My mom, while also my biggest cheerleader, is my reality check. When I hole up in my writer cave too long, mom kindly reminds me of waiting dishes, piano lessons, and photo appointments. I asked prayer for her on this blog two Septembers ago after she had a horse accident and thanks to God and the wonderful prayers in Seekerville, she's active as ever, fully healed. Even talks about getting on a horse again, but with dad just now graduating from a wheelchair to a walker, I said, "One at a time, please." :)

    Helen, my dad counsels young men considering preaching with nearly those exact words. "If you can do anything else, do it." A rare few follow that advice successfully. Usually, though, by that time God's word is "in their heart as a burning fire shut up in their bones," and like your husband and my dad they can't not preach.

  77. Wait a mean there's a real life out there?! Well, I'll be gobsmacked -- I thought it was just me and the dusty bunnies.

    How unbalanced am I? I'm so unbalanced I need a cane! :-) And I fear my avid reading contributes just as much of an imbalance as the writing does. I'm a mess, but hey, me and the dust bunnies have bonded and the dog's not jealous of them any more so why should I change?

  78. Mary,

    As usual, you made me LOL!

    The donkey cart photo about sums it up!

    The current WIP has been draining, especially since it was only a 4 month, 1 week turn around from word one to turn in. 16+ hour days, many in a row at times.

    And we're not done yet.

    So. Yes. It's something I must do, but I'm needing some balance in my life too. Time will tell where we end up this year... Probably, they'll need to make more room in the courthouse file for unbalanced folks. KEEP WRITING!

    Thank you Lord, for Seekerville!

    Incidentally, I'm thoroughly enjoying Swept Away. Thanks for writing it! :D

  79. HI SHERRI! YAY on the deadline, it means a book, right??? :)
    BOO on the stress. Good luck ever getting those two balanced.

  80. JAN, you and me both baby.
    Embrace your unbalanced-ness. It's who we are.

  81. OOOH - and I saw I WON this weekend. So excited to win A Heartbeat Away from S Dionne Moore!! Thank you!

  82. Hello Mary, I smile when I think of all the books that I have read of yours with many comical characters. It seems strange to think you think your life is "unbalanced", when others might think you have it all together. Wonderful career,husband that adores you,children and grandchildren and you live on a ranch where stories sneak into your head at every turn.
    God Bless as you keep your little corner of the world turning round and round..
    I am anxious to read this new book you are in with others.
    Paula O

  83. NATALIE, I remember the last time I fell off a horse.
    You know how they say, "If you fall of a horse, you've got to get right back on." What's the end of that saying?

    I suppose it's....or you never will. ....or you'll always be afraid.

    I dunno what the 'or else' is if you don't get right back on but, as I lay there on my back on the dirt I remember thinking, "I'm never getting on a horse again."

    I can live with that.
    Glad your mom's okay. Now get your dad healed up and then wrap those two elderly people (they're probably my age or younger!) in bubble wrap and tell them to behave.

  84. My name is Myra Johnson, and I am unbalanced.

    There. I feel better now.

    Oh, wow, Mary, you nailed my life! Every weekend I tell my husband how much I hate Saturdays. See, my writing life is Monday-Friday. I reluctantly concede Saturdays to paying bills, cleaning house, and other necessary chores. Sundays are for church and relaxing with hubby. I look forward to Mondays so much, it's probably a sin.

  85. KAV, no there is no life out there. Look away from the door. Look away from the car keys.
    Look away from the committees and activities and dust bunnies and of course...look away from exercise.
    Watch the swinging silver pendulum.

    No life out there. Repeat after me, "There is no life out there. There is no life out there. There is no life out there."

    You are getting sleepy.....

  86. Wow KC that sounds intense. Can you do that again? Can you get a little more breathing space on your next deadlines?
    I hate making promises I can't keep.

  87. POL we had such fun writing this novella collection, it's the first of three I'm doing. two with this same group and another with three other ladies.
    Very fun.
    Novella's are a little tricky though. I've always got way more I want to say.

  88. MYRA wouldn't it be sad if writing Christian fiction was a sin.
    That just don't seem right.


  89. Mary, I'm with you. It's the real life that intrudes and gets me out of balance.

    Okay, so I'm kidding myself. I wasn't balanced even before I started writing fiction...

  90. There is a solution for being unbalanced:

    Split yourself into two!

    That's what I will have to do during the RWA conference. I will still have to report to work, some of the time, but I'm working on getting substitues.

    Then, I will extend those lessons about splitting into two into my life and that prevents all of the "unbalanced" issues right? *sigh*


  91. I'm glad it's just not me who is "unbalanced"....great post, Mary! Unfortunately my job that pays the bills, takes me away from my writing time, but I thank God every day for that job.

  92. ERICA if they come for you....with a net....perhaps we can share a room.

    (hope we get to take our laptops!)

  93. Piper I'll be at RWA, too.
    email me at we can swap phone numbers and find each other. I'd love to meet you.

  94. Hi Mary

    I'm glad someone finally said this. When I was 12 years old my sister-in-law told my mother I was getting too old for make-believe and maybe I should see a psychiatrist. I stopped talking to my characters and put the words to paper and called it fiction writing. That kept me out of the asylum. Writing is a gift, a passion, not an obsession.

    BTY, it's a medical fact that bathing or showering more than 3 times a week will dry out your skin.

    Please put me in the drawing for the book. Reading is my obsession.

    My computer coughed, so this might post twice.

  95. Hey, Jill, I think you're doing it just right. Pay the bills, don't count on writing income. At least not for a long time.

    Panic is a bad inspiration for writing.

  96. Elaine, so are we ANGRY at your sister in law for her arm chair psychoanalysis (<hardest word EVER to spell).
    Or are we grateful that she set your feet on the right path?????
    (Oh, let's be mad at the know-it-all meddler!)

  97. Balance is a tricky thing. Even if I do feel balanced for once, finally, it never lasts! There's always something that's not receiving enough of my attention... it's usually the dishes :) As long as I have the big things covered- for me it's time with family, spirituality, exercise- then the little stuff falls into place eventually.

    Great post! Thanks!

  98. Mary, actually I loved my sister-in-law. She's passed on now, but she was a pusher. She pushed me into teaching children's SS and directing the training union at our church.

  99. Great post, Mary. So true.

    I recently had to re-realize that the writing is not the struggle in my busy life.

    It's the other things that interfere with the writing.

    Which is kind of what you said, isn't it? :)

  100. I'm lucky #100 - maybe I'll be the lucky winner! Having several of my favorite authors all contained in one book - how great would that be!! Hope it's me!

  101. Mary, I didn't know you worked a full time job. That makes me feel like even more of a slacker. 8 /

    I have not been writing very long. So I remember the days when I was balanced.

    Now I always feel out of whack. If I'm not writing I feel I should be. If I am writing I feel the pull of responsibilities. 8 -)

  102. Life is never fully balanced for me. Right now we're just juggling all the end-of-school activities. For perspective, I walk, or lose myself in a good book when I can snag a few minutes. I keep reminding myself that the kids will only be young once, and the dishes can wait!

  103. MARY, it's a day filled with kid activities (summer's here!). Thank you for the reminder to cherish the days. Some days do go slow but the years go FAST. I needed to remember that today. Perspective. :)

  104. Wait a minute ... life is supposed to be balanced??

    Gee, that explains so many things ........

    Nancy C

  105. ELAINE said: "BTY, it's a medical fact that bathing or showering more than 3 times a week will dry out your skin."

    THANK YOU!!! Now I have a legitimate excuse!!!

    I also decided eons ago that making beds is just redundant. Easier and quicker to close the door.

  106. When my children were young I despaired of ever getting caught up on *anything*. It seemed I was living the life of a hamster on a wheel, but I still chose to write at the expense of less important tasks. If it's in our DNA there's no denying it. Now the children have all flown the coop and I'm luxuriating in more time to continue pursuing my writing goals.

    Helen, my hubby used to give out that same advice, too. Unless it's a calling the work will always be a burden instead of the joy it's meant to be. (Not to say there won't be hard work involved, just that there will be satisfaction in knowing you're doing what you're meant to be doing.)

  107. We all seem to be at least a little unbalanced, but is that really such a bad thing? I think we just do the best we can and it all works out.
    I'm not a writer, but I feel towards reading like most of you do towards writing. I have to read! It's part of me, like breathing. A day doesn't feel right if I haven't been able to read (I mean a real book, not just the newspaper or a cereal box). See, it works out: you keep writing, I'll keep reading what you write! Especially you, Mary!
    I'm a great fan of your books.

  108. I slept well last night even slept in I woke at 4am and went back to sleep next I look is after 6 haven't done that for along time got around 9 hours! I know I need it and hope it continues.
    helps that its dark til after 7am.
    need to go for my walk or I will be even more unbalanced.

  109. Hi find balance sometimes?
    That is so impressive.

  110. I give up trying to keep a clean house three years ago.
    Why clean? It's just gonna get dirty again.

    Thankfully I have a husband who can deal with an unbalanced wife. When I get cranky, he says honey go write something. I'll take care of the kids.

  111. Donna, I totally get that. Think of it as teeter-totter life!

  112. teachermommy, I am so deeply impressed by anyone who gets writing done with small children and so many of you do it.

    I didn't even READ a book (at least not one without pictures!) for about ten years.

  113. Chill N, I don't know if life is supposed to be balanced or if...we're just being programmed to always feel like failures!!!!!

  114. Myra I've got an even easier method.
    Never let anyone come to your house.

  115. Carol, I didn't know people urged ministers to NOT be ministers if it wasn't a calling. I think three of you have said that today.


    Although I guess I've never really considered that someone would want to be a minister if they didn't feel called.

  116. PAM, thanks. I will keep writing. I can't stop!!!!!!!!!

  117. JENNY yay for sleep! There is just little that is better than a good night's sleep.......or maybe that's only if you're an insomniac like me.

  118. BRIDGETT he might be kind and supportive when he sends you off to write...............or maybe he just kinda wants you to go away.

  119. I mean you did say you were cranky, right Bridgett?

  120. So I'm now realizing that not only am I the Crazy Cat Lady, but also unbalanced....hmmmm, that's okay though, because as I've told my family many times: How could I have taught very young children in public schools for 21 years and NOT be at least a little unbalanced?! LOL! Said with affection, of course...because I did LOVE teaching those precious little ones.

    ~ But, due to my severe spinal problems, now I'm at home and actually have time to write (when I'm not cleaning litter boxes). There are still some crazy days though (guess everyone has them!) but I do LOVE writing (and it helps me deal with "empty nest").

    Thanks for this post, Mary--you always make me smile. Hugs, Patti Jo
    p.s. Please put me in the Stetson for your book drawing!

  121. This is nothing I didn't already know.

    You Are Unbalanced.

    Like that's news?

    Pour me a Diet Coke and pass the almonds.


  122. Patti Jo, in fairness, I think being a crazy cat lady and being unbalanced are kinda the same. No sense claiming TWO problems.

  123. Thank you, Ruthy. I appreciate your clear eyed perspective.
    However I've eaten all the almonds. AGAIN!

  124. Mary I have to say after not sleeping much in the past 9 months sleeping through is great! I have had 3 good nights (hoping it will keep up). Maybe getting so jetlagged and exhausted is the trick. I know it will take time to get over all the exhaustion but sleep sure does help. (now to work on the wrist!)

  125. Hi Mary,
    I loved this post!! So glad to learn I'm not alone in thinking it's okay to sit huddled for three day in the same jommies, playing with my made-up friends.
    I relate to all the comments! :-)

    Put my name in the pot for your book—please!


  126. Not at the unbalanced place because I haven't been writing. I'm taking the advice of cherishing my little one while he's still little, even though I've stories itching to get out. Thanks for letting me know it's okay to be unbalanced.

    Please put my name in the Stetson.I love your books.thanks for following your calling.

  127. I have been wanting to read and review this book. You guy are some of my favorite authors so I know it's going to be GOOD! Thank you for this contest!

    Wanda Barefoot

  128. Right now I'm a bouncing ball, and I'm just doing what I can when I can with no guilt allowed. I know this will come together soon.

  129. Hey, Mary!

    I couldn't have said it better myself...REAL life interfers with my writing life all of the time!

    Great post.

  130. Thank you, Mary! I feel better now. I am often asked, "How do you do it all?"
    My standard answer has become, "I don't." Then I get the big, blank stare. Nobody wants to hear that I really don't keep up with life and housework as well as I should, but something has to suffer. I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who cannot keep up with everything!

  131. Great post Mary, I know we are all unbalanced. chuckle

    But we do love it.

    Thanks for reminding us that its okay to be so different.

  132. Myra, you are too funny. Yeah Mondays.

  133. Mary honey, if you're harried, then I'm in big trouble! Your hair and nails always look perfect.

    If God made you a writer, you simply can't walk away. All those imaginary friends we have are so much easier to get along with than REAL PEOPLE!!

    Yes, my family worries about me at times : )

    Keep writing those stories. The world would be a sad place without them!!!

  134. Well yeah, life always intrudes on my writing. I should probably get annoyed (okay, I often to get annoyed). But then if I didn't have a hubby and two kids and obligations at church, I would totally be an anti-social hermit who lives only vicariously through my novels. Probably a good thing life intrudes every so often, huh?

    But that said, I could have never written before the internet. Those people who started writing on typewriters? Insane. Utterly, totally insane.

  135. Here's an example of how unbalanced my life is...I'm checking into Seekerville at 10:18 PM! I'm usually one of the early birds.

    I'm going to blame Tina, partly. After work I started working on a contest entry.

    Shocking, I know.

    Mary, thanks for helping me not feel so alone.

    Please add my name to the drawing.

  136. Is my life unbalanced when it comes to writing? Yes. I do love to write, but sometimes I feel like I'm stumbling around and my body demands sleep (and my lovely wife has this thing about me focusing on my day job, which is extremely important and I couldn't do without).

    And, yes, I've lost count of the people who said they could write a book. I just sort of nod and say that I know the feeling.

  137. I think my life has always been unbalanced, lol, the most unbalanced since last July though. Between my husbands 3 back surgeries, complications from the first one, all of his doctors appointments (general practice, cardiologist, arthritis, orthopedic, and urologist), and now in May he had the two cataract surgeries and that means drops in both eyes 4 times a day. I don't know what following a schedule is anymore, lol.


  138. Yeah, I had to have your book in the picture:) you are one of the authors that I always have to read. I don't even have to read the backcover blurb first; I just know it'll be worth it.

  139. Mary Hicks of course there's nothing wrong with refusing to get dressed for three days.

    Please mention this to your doctor at your next check up and follow his instructions carefully.

  140. DebH, good for you cherishing Guppy.
    I love that.

  141. Wanda, hi! You came over here from Goodreads, right? YAY! I'm glad you found us.

  142. Lyndee, good luck with the bouncing.

  143. ROSE, hi! C'mon admit it. You've got EVERYTHING balanced.

  144. HI TAHNEE, thanks for stopping in. Have you noticed that so so so so many of us dump HOUSEWORK FIRST???


    I would totally be an .....anti-social hermit who lives only vicariously through my novels

    Weird Naomi, that's my signature line!!!!

  146. Jackie, you've gotta watch that Tina all the time, or she's inspiring you to do something.


  147. Walt that day job may be ruining your writing time, but keeping the lights on and eating is so lovely.

  148. Wendy, wow, that is the kind of thing that just has to be your priority. Hang on.

  149. COURTNEY! Thank you. I really sincerely appreciate it.

  150. Hi, Nancy! I see you edited it again. :D Looks great. I liked the dog, but he may have inserted a tone of apathy. The neglect is now fully addiction-driven. :))

    Heehee, Mary. Bubble wrap.

  151. Well shoot, Mary, if you think it's okay, I'm not even going to the doctor!! But I will get clean jommies.

    Thanks for putting my mind at rest! :-D

  152. I would love to read more and even try writing. I used to teach skating up to a car accident in 1998 which was that full time love to do job and also work full time in an office. This kept me busy from 4:30 to 5:00 am in the morning to 12:00 at night or so. I had to give up pretty much everything including reading. I now have filled my life up with children again and family but am getting back into reading and hopefully back to trying to write at least for myself. I love your writing as you have a great humour in it. I think you along with Cathy Marie Hake, Deanna Gist, Robin Hatcher, Mary Lu Tyndall and Lisa Bergren are such great examples for someone to follow :) I would really enjoy reading this book.

  153. There are times when I feel like that ass up in the air, but then life will settle down.

    It could actually be me calming down & not life.

  154. I'm an unbalanced day late for this, but...

    from one unbalanced writer to another...

    Thanks, Mary. This was spot on.

    Now pass the chocolate covered donuts if there are any left!

  155. :) I've never been "normal." So why start now? I'm 69 y.o. have 5 children, 20 grandchildren (who think I can make anything - tarantulas, dragons, eagles, griffins - and ask for them for Christmas, and 5 great-grandchildren. When I'm enjoying my time as Mammaw, I just tell the voices in my head to shut up. They don't listen to me, but I try. As you said, if you are called to write, you write. Period.

  156. I just thought of something else. I have some advice for those with small children at home and no time to write - like Sherri: Teach the kids to sleep late in the morning and work after they go to bed at night. That's how I handled it when mine were young - it's how I got housework done, too. Sometimes, I was up all night, but I got done what I had to get done.

  157. Mary, my life is so unbalanced I'm a day late commenting. Thank you for this post. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who can't get everything done. It is nice to be reminded I'm not alone kn this struggle.

  158. Balance / Unbalance - could someone give me the definition of those words, please? I've never heard those words before. Should they apply to me??