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June 17, 2013



This makes a lot of sense to me! I was wondering if you write at home or elsewhere when the babysitter comes over? I imagine it would have a lot of distractions if you were just a few doorways away from the kids.

I may just try your experiment - my obsession is sewing and I have felt frustrated with my lack of time to devote to it.

Michelle Forstrom

Excellent advice. Though it does make me scared to death to write and have it take over my world. I really appreciate your honesty. The bottom line is that it is hard. Period. And you have to be disciplined. Keep it up girl, you're an inspiration to us. :)

Lisa Wagner

So good. Thank you for writing this and sharing it. I loved Austenland! My favorite book of yours, though, is The Actor and the Housewife. I recommend it a lot. I will have to get some of your young adult books for my daughters. Thank you for being true to your calling!


Thanks for the tough honesty: "How do I do it? Well, I work hard. Really hard. And I sacrifice stuff."

I think I needed to hear this today. There isn't a substitute for hard work and for dedicating your full time and attention to something, even if only for an hour at a time. No "I'm stuck on this sentence so I'm going to click over to check my email real quick."

You are good at what you do. I don't know yet if there is a novel writer somewhere inside of me, but I do know that I need to find something to devote myself to. Because even though I love being at home with my sweet baby, try as I might, I can't give her all of myself--in fact, I feel like I'm giving her less of myself--because I'm not bettering myself by feeding my passions.

Priorities and passion. I'm going to work on that. Today.

Emily's Reading Room

I can SO relate to this. I work full time and am finally going back to school to finish my BA degree before I'm 30, plus being a mom to a 3 year-old. I have a babysitter when I'm at work, so around 40 hours a week. On weekdays, I probably get to see her for 10 hours the entire week. So, I make every second of those 10 hours count. No phone calls, no email, no internet, nothing but me and her and whatever she wants to do. The rest of the time I'm working like crazy to get everything else done. Like you, it means that I give up on things. My house is not organized. My yard is barely under control. I read and do homework on the train into work. Sometimes meals are just pb&j sandwiches. Luckily, my husband also picks up a lot of slack and does many household chores (dishes, laundry, etc.). It's a constant struggle, and the guilt never really goes away. But I know I'm doing the best I can. Thanks Shannon. You're awesome.

Chantele Sedgwick

I adore this post. As a mommy of 4 kids ages 9 months-8, I totally relate. It's hard doing both, but it can be done. I may have to hire some help like you though. I don't get enough done with the little time I have to write. :) You're awesome.

Zena Parks

Thank you. This was perfect.

Kathryn Cooper

Thank you for inspiring me today Shannon! I have 4 boys: 6 yrs, 4 yrs, 2 yrs, and 13 days old. We moved to a new town 12 days ago. My life is pretty fun and exciting right now, and finding time to write disappeared. I need to write though. I feel lacking when I don't. It might just be for 30 min, but I'm going to try to write 5 days a week. Here I go ... right now! :D


I happened upon a book signing you were doing about two years ago. I had a baby and was still, months into it, waking up with him every two hours. You saw him and asked his age, then told me you had twins his same age. You looked about as tired as I did and I just wanted to hug you and be like "we are surviving, we are not alone!" But instead I said something awkward and stood awkwardly while you signed the books and glanced quickly at the door because it was about time for you're signing to end. Because in my mind that was less awkward. But really, I'm glad you juggle this in a way that satisfies you; that is the hardest thing.

A. Lynden Rolland

What a fabulous post! Thank you for this.


Brilliantly said--as a stay at home mom of four a few years ahead of you (19-11) I say amen and amen. There is no secret to getting more hours in the day, it's all about how you use those hours and learning what to say no to (which I'm still learning to do.) I find I have to re-juggle my time about every six months to make it work, we're currently working on the 'summer time hours' situation but it IS working. I have to leave my house to get my writing done, but other than that I agree completely. Well said.

Heather Davis

I love that you tell the truth about writing. It is demanding and serious work--not a hobby. It requires your complete attention. And you have to have some serious ovaries to make it a priority along with family. I work full-time, am the primary wage earner, and have a 2-yr old and a 9-yr old with some interesting challenges. My husband is a stay-at-home Dad who works part-time. The funny thing is no one can replace Mommy. So it is a crazy balancing act all the time between work and the house and kids and the writing. But when I'm not working on some kind of writing, I don't feel like myself and am just not as happy. I think it might get a bit easier physically when the kids are older. We'll see. In the end you just have to develop strong work habits and try not to neglect your own well being. And a babysitter can really help!

Kimberly Mach

Thank-you! I have spent this last week blinking back tears because the plates are so full right now.(Totally missed father's day and my husband's birthday!) I am a teacher, writer, a mom, and all that comes with it. My family cheers me on, even on "cereal-night" dinners and the "What Fieldtrip?!" mornings. Somehow it always comes together.
What works for me? A husband who is a super-duper dad and partner, kids who are happy and healthy (although probably in need of a good bath), and my quiet time in the morning. Know yourself, morning person or night owl, and write then.


Thanks for the insight! It's amazing to see how much work goes into writing, and seeing the dedication it requires.

Tara Creel

Thank you so much for writing this post. It is inspiring and helpful probably beyond what you had in mind. I have been trying to do it all and now I can tell my husband that Shannon Hale said I don't need to clean my house anymore ;). Challenge accepted: no TV or Internet for a week...and thank you so much!


Thank you so much for this post.
I really need to work on piano this week...will try your experiment. :)


This post is wonderful. I've been thinking about it since the day you posted it. I really appreciate your honesty and the reminder of how much time I actually *do* have.

Callie the Creative Celt aka Strongbad's Girlfriend

Thank you for writing this Shannon. I will remember to plan carefully since I hope to one day be a writer and be a mother. There are still many questions to answer and hopefully I can work them out. I will try your experiment sometime (first I need to sort out personal matters in life that REQUIRE online use *sigh*). But I'll remember this. I feel guilty for when I wasted time in my life and spent years doing things that put off my writing dreams. But I will work hard and try my best.

Christy Nicholson

Aw, man. You totally called it on the no internet/TV thing. Sigh.....oh, for the strength to let them go!


I have four kids almost the exact same ages as yours (my youngest will be 2 in August and the oldest is 10), so this post really resonated with me! I work outside the home and write, and I struggle with balancing it all. I usually write during my lunch breaks, but it never seems like enough. Your experiment sounds like an interesting one - I think I'm going to give it a shot! Internet is my downfall; I find that I'm watching less and less TV the older I get.

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