Self-Care: Work to live, don’t live to work

(I am writing along with Laura Lynn Brown’s summer blogging project at Please read her post here.)

As a general rule I don’t get writer’s block. My work at a monthly magazine doesn’t allow that. But in May, I could not get together my thoughts to write my column. I have a file called Potentials, and not even my potentials were coming together.

I suspected it was because I had just completed the rewrite of a manuscript. Was this normal? I called a couple of friends who have written multiple books. They both told me that, yes, it’s normal, and I should take some time off. I told them it was editing week and I was looking forward to editing 15 articles in five-ish days. I could hear the horror in their silence.

When you write for a living, the line between writing to live and living to write is fuzzy at best. I admit it—I do live to write. It has kept me from bursting into flame. Sometimes the fact that I have an interview to do or an article to finish or a column to start was enough to keep me going when I wanted to give in.

I’d like to explore this write-to-live thing, although I suspect it would be like saying, “I think I’ll stop breathing with my left lung.”

But last September when John and I took a week at the beach, I did not write. I did not miss it, not with the company of the waves and the sand and the migrating birds.


  1. I had to come over and see your thoughts on this, Megan. That title line used to be my husband’s motto when we were younger. These days, I think he has forgotten the freedom there is in that. But we are slowly remembering. Together. How are you, my friend?

  2. Jack Swanzy says

    2 books you might like
    “Writing Alone and with Others”
    “How the Light Gets In: Writing as Spiritual Practice”
    Both by Pat Schneider

  3. Time to head for that beach again, I’m guessin’! And I agree, it’s a fine line between those two distinctions – living to write and writing to live. I think it’s a mix of both for me, though I don’t even come close to the first one. Any income I receive is miniscule!

  4. No fun this week?