Sunday, May 18, 2014

6 Question of the Week: How Do You Switch Gears?

Hey everyone! Clara Kensie here. A few times a month at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers and book lovers: craft, career, reading, books, and more. Join the discussion!

Question of the Week:
How do you switch gears between your writing life and your “real” life?

Writers, when you're done writing for the day, is it difficult for you to clear your manuscript from your head so you can focus on other things? Conversely, is it difficult for you to concentrate on writing when you have so much going on in other areas of your life? How do you switch gears between your writing life and your "real" life?

Can't clear your manuscript from your head?
photo credit: via photopin cc

Lisa Gail Green: When I'm deep into a manuscript I tend to have half of my brain (at least) working on it at all times. This causes issues with others thinking I'm not paying attention to our conversation. They'd be right. *sigh* Conversely, it's really hard to get into another world when a toddler keeps taking over the computer and making things happen that I didn't know could. I love nap time!

Martina Boone: Reading at night is the way that I get out of my manuscript before bedtime, but that doesn’t mean the manuscript is always willing to depart. Most nights, I find myself dreaming about it. As far as switching back and forth between activities, I’ve had a hard time with that. I try to set aside family time always. When I’m on deadline, though, I find that I let other social activities slip and try to put in the extra hours into the writing. I’ve also been bad about putting my health first, so I’m trying to get back in the habit of doing my yoga and riding the bike. Social media and email are my biggest time sucks, so I just downloaded the Concentrate app which lets me set groups of applications that I can use when I’m working on various things. I’m going to try doing that. It will automatically close email, twitter, etc. and automatically activate Scrivener, and it will block whatever sites I tell it to block while I’m working. We’ll see how it goes. So far, I like it.

Clara Kensie: I have a very hard time getting my manuscript out of my head so I can focus on “real” life events. Even when I’m at my kids’ soccer and lacrosse games, my eyes follow the ball, but nothing sinks in because I’m thinking about my book. Horrible, right? Bad mommy. I wish I could clone myself: one Clara would work on her manuscript full time, and the other Clara would be fully present and focused on her family and everything else (as long as I’m fantasizing, I’ll make a third Clara, who would get to read all day, LOL). I have no tips for you on how to switch gears between writing and real life, because I’m failing miserably at it. I hope you can share some tips with me!

YOUR TURN: Is it difficult for you to clear your manuscript from your head so you can concentrate on other things? Or, is it hard for you to concentrate on writing when there’s so much going on in your “real” life? How do you switch gears between the two?


  1. I don't have any people distractions in my life (no kids, no hubby) but there are still lots of other things that don't get my attention because I'm in my other world - like cleaning, yard work, my poor dog...Conversely, I've learned to turn off my email when writing so it doesn't distract me every time a message comes in, most of which are spam anyway!

  2. I save the morning hours for new material or blog prep, editing in the afternoon, and social media every couple of days and usually during evening hours. It works for me, as I tend to get caught in thought loops during new material generation. But there are times when I also get caught staring out the window, glassy eyed, editing the latest scene in my head. Place could burn down before I'd notice.

  3. I usually reserve the morning and evening for writing/editing/etc. I read before bed. Sometimes, it's hard to think on other things, but I try to give my family my full attention when I'm with them.

  4. What Lisa said about half my brain ALWAYS thinking about the MS. I tend to write at night, so the winding down part isn't as big of a deal for me. I actually thrive on ending the day with writing. It's amazing how often the answer to a plot hole or character twist will come right as I'm falling asleep!

  5. Ha. Never. I never switch off from writing brain to real life brain. There used to be a difference, but not anymore!

  6. It's not difficult to move from my current MS back to my normal life. But if I let it sit too long, it is very hard to get back to it.


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