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August 26th, 2011

Balance - the 11th Commandment

(Sorry, since I have ArmadilloCon this week there won't be a movie review. Instead, I give you...)

I read a post last week by Nathan Bransford called 10 Commandments for a Happy Writer. (If you've yet to read it GO NOW! This can apply to more than just writer types. :P) And while I pondered away at the awesome wisdom in this list, I realized something else that is needed to be a Happy Writer - Balance.

Writers have to wear many hats.  We're authors first, but we've no choice but to also be marketing gurus, website experts, social media moguls, public speakers, and more.

For authors who have the luxury of being able to write full time, juggling these things is a little easier than for those who have to work to make the money to sustain them so they can write. And if either kind have spouses or children... It can be very frustrating to read about all the things we should be doing to get our websites noticed, how we must blog multiple times a week, read other blogs and comment on them, build a brand by interacting with others on Facebook and Twitter, let alone the writing and editing, doing query letters, synopsis, hobnobbing at conventions and all the other myriad things we need to do to get out there and be noticed.

It can very overwhelming. It can also be extremely frustrating. We want to succeed but we also want to spend time with family, have time to relax, make time to enjoy some of life while we can.

This leads to an unending struggle to come to some sort of balance. And we must! We can't do it all. Yes, sacrifices must be made, but sacrificing all is not healthy, and not sacrificing won't get us anywhere. And they won't make anyone happy. As Word Warriors we must pick our battles. Weed out what we can and can't do with regards to all the advice and wisdom we find out there. We must make things work for each of our unique circumstances as best we're able and reach a middle ground.

If internet use is allowed at work, then you can occasionally peek at what's going on in Twitter/FB/Google + and comment here and there. If not, set a half hour or an hour in the evening to see what everyone's up to or leave it as something to do on the weekends. Can't do three blog posts a week? Or don't think you have topics? Think outside the box. What you do for pleasure you might be able to share, like book reviews, photos, jokes, mashups. Blog posts don't have to be long, but please make sure they have substance.

Need time to write? How about shifting your schedule slightly so you get to work early and can type away for a half hour or more. Take part of your lunch hour to write. Or maybe even go to bed a little later, after the kids have gone to bed. 

Have trouble producing? Set small goals and also rewards for reaching those goals. If I write for a half hour I get to read for a half hour. 

In the end you might not be 100% satisfied with what you can do (I know I'm not), but it's better than doing nothing. Every little bit helps. And your family will get to see you and do activities with you, which will make it easier for them to respect when you do write. Being a writer is a lot of work! But a little balance in your life, can definitely go a long way toward achieving your dreams.

What tricks do you use to balance your life?
Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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