What Have You Given Up for Writing?

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

Life is all about choices, and when we choose to pursue a passion that’s time-consuming, we have to say no to other things. I’ve chosen to be a literary agent, which is pretty demanding. But I’m also a mom, a wife, a  writer and editor. I exercise regularly, I see my friends, and I dedicate significant time to my kids. But pursuing my passions isn’t without a cost—I’ve had to let go of some perfectly good things.

woman jugglingSo here are a few things I don’t do:

  • I don’t watch much TV.
  • I don’t scrapbook, knit or crochet.
  • I don’t separate the whites from the colors.
  • I don’t grow a garden.
  • I don’t cook gourmet meals.
  • I don’t play computer games.
  • I don’t go to PTA meetings.
  • I don’t play golf or tennis.
  • I don’t homeschool.
  • I don’t remember everyone’s birthday.
  • I don’t run marathons or 10K races.

and finally…

  • I don’t ever sleep past 6am—7 on weekends.

So, now that I’ve admitted to some things I’d like to do if I had more time… what about you?

Have you given up anything in order to pursue writing?


What have you given up to pursue writing? Click to Tweet.

I don’t scrapbook, knit, cook gourmet meals or grow a garden. What don’t YOU do? Click to Tweet.

Sometimes pursuing your passion means giving up some perfectly good things. Click to Tweet.



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  1. Here are some things I have given up for writing:

    I don’t watch TV – except for Law & Order reruns.

    I don’t scrapbook.

    I don’t play bridge. Actually, I never did.

    I don’t decorate my house for seasons/holidays – except for Christmas.

    I don’t write as many personal notes and letters as I would like.

    I really don’t miss any of the above, except the last one. I am working to find a better balance with professional and personal writing.

  2. Karyne Corum says:

    Like you, I have given up most TV except for what I can’t live without, like Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock or Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock.

    I don’t do the crafts I’d like too.

    What I do get is to dive into my imagination as often as I like. I would say it’s a fair trade.

  3. Misha Herwin says:

    I don’t clean the house, unless absolutely necessary.

    I don’t have a dog.

    I don’t shop, again unless absolutely necessary.

    I only watch the TV programmes I really want to, but I don’t listen to much radio however good it is.

    I don’t bake bread.

    I don’t sew.

    I don’t decorate.

    Instead I aim to write 1000 words a day. See my family and friends and share good food and wine. Not a bad trade off.

  4. K.Q.Duane says:

    I gave up wasting tons of time with my girlfriends. I realized, after lots of years, that I’d rather spend the time with my family or writing. Much less drama. It’s actually allowed me to put gardening back on my list too.

  5. Susan Lower says:

    Like you, I don’t watch much TV, every once in a while, I’ll sit down for a movie with the kiddos.

    My house isn’t as de-cluttered and tidy as I’d like it, but as long as I’m not stepping on toys, I can live with it.

    I don’t scrap book or knit. I book bind and sew, which I carve out time on Saturdays. If I don’t get to it one Saturday it waits until the next.

    I’m not on the PTSA.

    I don’t iron clothes or check pockets before I wash.

    I don’t remember everyone’s birthdays.

    I don’t play computer games.

    I don’t cook gourmet meals.

    But my family knows I’m not superwoman and we all work together around the house so Mom has time to write. 🙂

  6. Michael Kelberer says:

    Hi Rochelle,
    There are a few outside world things I could give up to make room for writing, but there’s much more time available to me by giving up certain beliefs:
    1. I have something more important/urgent to do
    2. I can’t write early in the morning
    3. I can’t write after lunch (circadian rhythms, you know)
    4. I can’t write after dinner (too tired, only good for TV now)
    For me, making room in my mental schedule is as important as making room in my physical one.

  7. I don’t watch much TV, except Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.

    I don’t cook, clean, or wash clothes as much as I should. The good thing is, now my husband does it. YAY!!!

    I don’t spend as much time with family and friends as I’d like.

    I don’t shop as much as I used to.

    I don’t get as much rest as I should.

  8. Ariel Paz says:

    Hi, Rachelle. Before I add something new to my closet of life, I discard something that is no longer fruitful or useful. Some things I’ve given up:
    – running races for charity
    – my townhouse
    – yardwork
    – teaching exercise classes
    Being a single mom with a full-time career taught me I can’t do it all. Now I do what I love whenever I can which includes writing & blogging, and someday, Lord willing, hope to let go of my full-time job to pursue it more. Have a great day and keep looking up!

  9. Ann Cole says:

    I don’t watch TV much. (If there’s a TV series that I love like SOA, Scandal etc. I catch up online when I get the chance)

    I don’t clean much unless the house is really dirty (Lol)

    I don’t cook meals that takes more than 90mins to prepare.

    I don’t sleep past 8am (anymore)

    I don’t do laundry WEEKLY

    I NEVER remember anyone’s birthday.

    I don’t do relationships. (Men are whiny and needy and choose writing over them)

    I don’t go out much.

    I never get my full 8hours of sleep!

  10. Kate Hall says:

    My problem is I don’t want to give up anything. I used to not watch TV, but recently made the mistake of getting Netflix. I’ve binged on Breaking Bad every night for the past 4-5 weeks. I finished it last night – man, it was so good. I also homeschool my 3 kids and blog 4x/week. I haven’t touched my book in weeks. We also had a recent death in our famity which we’re still dealing with. I’m hoping I’ll have the self-control to not start a new TV series and can wake up early and write like I was before BB.

  11. Kelly Parkin Long says:

    Most of the responses listed are right where I am, but one I am really being convicted on lately is STUFF. What items do I REALLY need? What ones steal my time in the name of ‘oh, I might need that some day,’ ‘I kind of like that,’ ‘one of the kids might want that someday,’ or ‘but I like having 4 pairs of black shoes.’ So, I’m weeding through the easily replaced, the things that don’t thrill my heart, or that I don’t use often or have a zillion of. I’m tired of spending time searching and pawing through stuff, eventhough I am extremely sentimental. I am committing to working toward a downsized life to(using my best William Wallace voice here)FREEDOM!

    Happy Time Finding, Folks!

    • Marilyn Kelley says:

      YES!!I’m currently reading Packing light by Allison Vesterfelt. A great read on this subject with a story as its base. Very entertaining!

  12. Adam Porter says:

    I wrote a little bit about this topic a while back. Re-reading those thoughts was a good reminder. http://atlasmediaink.com/hey-writer-what-will-you-give-up/

  13. This was timely for me, Rachelle. Just earlier this morning I was thinking about things I don’t have the time to do because I’m pursuing writing. Your post reaffirmed that we do indeed have to say no to some things. Thanks for sharing. (p.s. a word that came to mind as I was thinking about this earlier was balance. I need to keep that in mind, too.)

  14. Ann Vande Vande says:

    What I don’t do, what I gave up. Hmmm, nothing comes to mind. Eureka! I think you’re on to something, Rachelle. Although I admit to not watching much television other than news and Castle. And recently I seem to have given up exercise. Oh, and my sanity. Yup, that about covers it.

  15. What a great reminder to us all that quite often we need to give up the good to zero in on God’s best for us. This is a concept that has stuck with me ever since I read Elizabeth George’s “A Woman After God’s Heart.” In this book, she talks about analyzing every activity with a good, better, best lens. How I translated this to my life and my writing: I need to relax. I can watch television, read a novel, or play Words With Friends (which can be insanely addictive!). Most often, I’ll read the novel because reading stirs my creativity and helps me see how effective writers write. And, yes, there are times when I have had to say no to things in order to focus on my writing.

    As a newly contracted author, I’m also learning to utilize chunks of time. For example, I know I have a Dec. 1st deadline to get some things fixed in my ms, but I am waiting to chat with my editor for specific guidelines. It’s tempting to waste this “waiting” period doing leisurely activities, but I know I will soon enter a period of business. So, I’ve determined to use my “waiting” period to catch up on some article deadlines and other responsibilities. (Not that taking time for fun and rest, in moderation, isn’t important.)

    As a side note, the point of your post is something I’ve discussed with my teenage daughter. She is in honors and advanced placement classes, in the school play, and active with her youth group. Which doesn’t leave a lot of flex time, and sometimes when a paper looms and her friends are out having fun, she’d rather put aside her responsibilities to have fun. But I remind her, she can pay now by doing what is required and what will lay the ground work for success, or she can pay later when, as an adult, she is working a more difficult job that potentially pays less.

  16. Jeanne T says:

    Your list resonates with me. When I decided to begin writing, my husband established some boundaries with me so I could devote the time to really learn and practice the craft of writing.

    I’ve given up:
    1. Leadership positions at church
    2. Womens events
    3. PTA
    4. Most coffee dates with friends, limited to a few per month
    5. Keeping a perfect house (not that I was great at this before writing, but now—piles usually reign on my kitchen counter)
    6. Scrapbooking (this one was hard)
    7. Hours spent reading (I do some, but not like I used to)
    8. Computer games
    9. Decorating, except for Christmas
    10. Sleeping in—up by 5:00 weekdays, and no later than 7:00 on weekends
    11. We don’t watch any television, except for football, and not lots of that.

    We’ve taught our kids how to do certain tasks around the house, and they are helpful. I do most of my writing when my family is at school and work, or the kids are in bed. It has become more of a priority. Dedicating time to writing has forced me to prioritize the most important things/relationships in my life, which has been a good thing.

  17. “Leisure and I have taken leave of each other.”
    John Wesley, 1726

    Wesley did better at that than I did, but that’s basically my philosophy. Until my wife gets after me for coming home from work, eating a quick bite, and going down to The Dungeon, my writing lair, and her not seeing me till it’s time to go to bed.

  18. Watching TV. Whenever people talk about all the new, cool TV shows, I just give them a blank look and shrug.

    I used to have a nice flower garden, but, that went by the wayside a couple of years ago. Yes, I still plant flowers every year, but, I don’t care for them like I should.

    Cooking? Yes, I cook, but, it’s nothin’ fancy. I work full time, plus, I have a son and he’s in Karate and soccer.

    Sleeping late?? I’m out of the bed BEFORE seven o’clock every weekend.

    I could go on and on, but, I won’t.

    I still read and blog, when I can, but, my blog is getting pretty sporadic lately…

  19. This year I gave up weeding and tending to the garden (usually I’m an avid gardener). I also gave up cleaning the house… as much as I could stand…and I discovered my tolerance of dirt and clutter is much higher than I thought! Finally (and I do feel a little guilty about this one), I gave up all community volunteering, which I have done for years at the expense of writing.

  20. Oh, I so relate!!

    I’ve given up:

    Community theater (soooo hard for me since I loved performing, but it is time-consuming too)

    Cleaning my house more than 1-2 times a month (I do clean my kitchen more often, but the other stuff like dusting falls by the wayside…)

    Reading every night (have to settle for spurts of reading when I have chunks of time instead)

    Free time on the weekends! Saturdays are my big writing day.

    And lots of other stuff that I don’t even realize now.

    But it’s all worth it. I’m grateful I have the choice and ability to give up things so I can write.

  21. I write.

    Which is why I don’t write a list of what I don’t do.

    Because what I do do, is write.

    That says it all.

  22. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who’s given up TV. People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them this.

    I gave up on laundry last year, my houseboy/husband took that up.

    I do garden.
    I do homeschool.
    I do sleep late (but I’m always up until 2am). I work nights as an RN when I’m not writing/publishing/promoting

    Cooking has definitely gone on the back-burner. My freezer is stocked full of frozen veggies from the garden.

    I wish I had more time to exercise.

  23. Thanks Rachelle for inspiring moments of reflection.

    Early on I approached writing with that newbie sense of, “Yahoo, ride ’em cowgirl,” and thoughts of what I was giving up never entered my mind.

    Now…a few years later…I ignore my totally unorganized closets and the piles of unsorted photos. I joke about my “light housekeeping” and thank the Lord for my Sweet Husband who loves to cook! I gracefully decline invitations to play bunco, join worthwhile organizations and have refrained from pursuing other artistic endeavors.

    I am happily snuggled up in my own make-believe world where the drama I create, I control…LOL

  24. Beth Browne says:

    I recently turned off my Facebook notifications. I’m sure I’m missing things, maybe important things, but it has really thinned out my inbox. I still check my Facebook daily, but the conversations which used to take up so much time, are vastly diminished. I miss it, but I do have more time for writing now, which is good.

    Thanks for a great post. I love the picture of the woman juggling. Even though my babies are 12 and 13, they still need juggling! LOL!

  25. What I’ve given up is a bit less tangible.

    I no longer can read a novel without analyzing it – and ditto for watching movies.

    I have no privacy in my head – my characters are always there.

    My town is haunted by the fictional events I placed there.

    But there are gifts, as well…

    My spoken and written grammar have improved.

    I consider what I say before I say it to a greater degree,not only out of consideration for others, but for accuracy.

    I’m more observant of my surroundings.

    Not a bad trade.

    • Love this, Andrew. A different take on the topic!

      • Andrew Man says:

        Sorry, but I haven’t given up anything, in fact my life is much more about communication?

        At the end of our Planetary cycle, I learnt how to use my iPhone and put my characters on Pinterest? Crazy, but its true!

        Being retired gives me the time to think and read and research for the next story!

        Mostly I agree with Andrews comments above, my grammar has improved but I want more answers?

        Men think about writing a book, women feel how to plot their story!

    • Good points, Andrew. A girl I went to jr. and sr. high with will forever more be an undercover C.I.A. agent to me because of my stories.

  26. Sue Harrison says:

    I don’t spend as much time playing my musical instruments as I’d like. Usually I limit myself to one instrument a day for only about 15 minutes, which is why I don’t play anything very well!

    I’d also like to learn to quilt. But nope. I limit knitting to last thing at night and in the car.

    BUT, I also have given up things I don’t mind giving up…

    1. During the mornings, I don’t answer phone calls from my more talkative friends.
    2. I don’t wash walls. Not at my place or my Dad’s house or my Dad-in-law’s house.
    3. I don’t join committees.
    4. I throw away socks with holes in them.
    5. I don’t play computer games.
    6. I don’t get into arguments about religion or politics.
    7. I don’t clean my husband’s fish. (Although I do cook them.)

    I’d rather be writing!!!

  27. Lori Benton says:

    Ha. Well. I just finished watching an interview with Mary Stewart, who shared this marvelous quote. “You have to forget about social life while you’re writing a book, and then, of course, when you’re not writing a book, when you’re doing nothing, social life has forgotten about you! So there you are. And you start another book in self defense.”

    Which pretty much answers the question for me. 🙂

    And never sleeping in on the weekend, too, anymore.

    If anyone wants to watch the Mary Stewart video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CBm_kyaPh4I

  28. Sarah Sundin says:

    LOVE this post!!! Joining Pinterest has revived my early-stay-at-home-mom angst about not being good at (or even liking!) crafts or gardening. I don’t do either. I used to sew (and loved it) – but I’ve lost interest as soon as I started writing.

    So…I don’t…

    Craft in any way, shape, or form
    Watch much TV (and I usually have my laptop out)
    Clean my house (yes, I pay someone and it’s worth it!)
    Bake as much as I’d like to
    Join committees
    Accept volunteer opportunities (I’ve picked a few, and I refuse to add any more)
    Go out with my girlfriends much

    But I wouldn’t change a thing.

  29. A.M. Guynes says:

    Like so many others, I’ve given up tv. I don’t go out very often, though that’s not by choice. I don’t knit or crochet, even though that’s been the source of Christmas presents the last three years. I don’t play video games. I don’t cook, though that’s another change that’s not by choice. I limit my time on Twitter and Facebook, and right now I’ve cut down my blog to three days a week so I can focus on getting my books written.

  30. I canceled my cable to not only save money, but to stay focused on finishing my novel this year. Stephen King in “On Writing” says he doesn’t watch TV often, so I decided to do the same thing. It’s worked well so far. I’m 30,000 words away from finishing my book!

    Other things I’ve given up are:

    1) Extraneous friends
    2) Going out just to “go out”; I have to be able to see people I really like.
    3) Shopping, although if I’m not writing I’m shopping. Writing is my money-saver!


  31. Ron Estrada says:

    I gave up politics! Okay, not much of a loss. But I really struggled with that one. Freedom should be fought for, but now I think I can do more with my writing than I can in a party. Like you, TV is rare. I go home after my full time job and sit on a computer for two or three hours while normal people relax. It’s the middle of October and I haven’t gone hunting once. I get really annoyed when my wife suggests we visit family on the weekend. But I wouldn’t want to do anything else other than write. If I could do it full time, I would. For now, I’ll happily trade in my TV time.

  32. Lynda says:

    I fell in love with books in the second grade. By the third grade, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. But when I told my mother that I intended to write books when I grew up, she told me that was a ridiculous career choice. “I want you to be a nurse,” my mother told me. But what I ended up being was a stay-at-home mom.

    After my three children were grown, I decided the time had come for me to have a paying career. I went to nursing school, but by the end of the first month I knew that I was not cut out to be a nurse. I feel other people’s pain too much. A certain amount of empathy is an absolute necessity in a good nurse, but not to the degree that it breaks and paralyzes you.

    I would have dropped out of nursing school at that point, but my class of 50+ nursing students, most of whom were straight out of high school and younger than my own kids, had elected me Class President — an honor I did not seek or expect. The “mom” in me could not bring myself to quit and let everyone down. So I stuck it out to the bitter end, making straight A’s in every subject to set an example, and scoring in the top 1% in the entire nation on the year-end license exam. Then I wrote and delivered my Graduation Day speech, walked across the stage in my new white cap and starched nurse’s uniform to collect my diploma, applied for and got my nurse’s license, and then…

    Instead of looking for a nursing job, I went home and wrote a novel. Which really annoyed my penny-pinching husband, who expected me to pay him back right away for all the money I had “wasted” on my tuition.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, that guy I was married to at the time, a retired career military officer who never needs to worry about money but always does, is now my ex-husband. He is now happily married to someone else, and so am I.

    What have I given up to be a writer?

    Not a doggone thing. 🙂

  33. Lynda says:

    Eeek… I forgot to edit. So many THATS. (Blush)

  34. For the most part I have given up these time eaters:
    Racquetball and gym visits. (Exercise videos are more efficient.)
    A super-clean house. (If it’s neat, that’s good enough.)
    Saying yes too often.
    Trying to be perfect.

    Life is rocking along just fine without the things I’ve given up!

  35. My husband told the psychiatrist who keeps me supplied with bipolar medication that I spend a huge amount of time on the Internet. His response: “That’s okay as long as it’s not addictive.” I refrained from telling him that my husband spends almost as much time online as a stock market fanatic and condominium board president.

    I teach myself to write better by reading the blogs of other writers and literary agents and endeavor to help other writers by writing #writetip tweets.

    I don’t read as much of The Kansas City Star or The Washington Post read as I did before my Internet “addiction.” Fortunately my husband is a good housekeeper and sometimes cook although cooking is therapy for me. When we were in Virginia from July until October 14, we frequently had our first grandchild (one year old Natalie) stay with us. We will always have time for her.

  36. Erich Penhoff says:

    LOL…What a great look at the thing we do and don’t do. I myself do none of the above. Today I am sitting, after a day in the dust and wind of the Atlas Mountains, in a fifth rate hotel drinking black tar coffee. It too have a passion of sorts, bum around the world get paid to visit some of the shitholes all around it. I write when I am at home and have the time to reflect.’Abenteuer’ or new experiences, no roots and no regrets. I do miss a home life at Christmas and Thanksgiving, I gave it up together with five wives and my children. I don’t sleep past five am, either my dog or a different time zone make it five am somewhere. I don’t send Christmas cards because I forget who is Christian or Muslim. I don’t visit family because whom is it I favour. I rush home to continue to write a episode of years past. I don’t have a home, because it is too much trouble to move every few month or even a couple of years later. So sometimes I wish I could tend a garden, or cook a Turkey, but most of the time I feel the itch, to do more important tasks like buy printer paper or look at train schedules in Algeria or a overland route in Libya. I do not get homesick, because I have given up homes of importance fifty some years ago. Was it all for a passion? Naw, but it was always the greener grass on the other side of the unknown!

  37. During the dozen years I ran my own business I sometimes worked around the clock. I discovered I could survive on less sleep. I had to prioritize every day, deciding what was absolutely important and what wasn’t. It was great preparation for the writing life!

    Things I learned:
    ~ I’m not Supermom, and my family is okay with that.
    ~ Our family doesn’t mind store-bought baking.
    ~ Farmer’s market produce is as acceptable as fresh from my garden.
    ~ I get more accomplished when I’m faced with a time crunch/deadline.
    ~ It’s not a sin to say ‘no’ as long as I occasionally say ‘yes’.
    ~ Acting as if my writing is legitimate work teaches those around me to respect my ‘job’.

    Nothing I don’t do to make time for my writing seems like much of a sacrifice because I love my writing. 🙂

  38. Angela Mills says:

    You mean I no longer have to feel guilty about not scrapbooking? Whew 🙂
    I homeschool my kids and like to be available to my family, so I get up at 5 and I’m able to have my quiet time and write 1,000 words before my kids are even up. I am absolutely not a morning person, but writing is worth it.

  39. I’ve given up volunteering for the church. (Do I feel guilty–yes.) I’m doing a complete rewrite of my suspense novel so something had to give. I’ve also given up serving on volunteer boards.
    I still blog, play tennis, take Russian language lessons and watch too much TV. I never was a great housekeeper.
    It is a sad truth that we often have to give up some very good things in order to do our best writing.

  40. I’ve given up pretty much all hobbies to self-publish. Hoping to get back into some soon after it releases, like working w/flowerbeds and playing video games (grin). As a homeschooling mom, I’m just spread too thin and it seems marketing/editing/formatting is a full-time job. I will say I occasionally watch my way through TV series w/my hubby at night–shows we can agree on like Burn Notice or Life.

  41. Carol North says:

    Been writing professionally since 1983, so gave up a lot to do that, including a career in real estate sales and a much larger income. Then, because I often worked from home, I gave up telephone calls to and from family and friends during work hours (7 am through 10 pm).

    Now I’ve given up technical writing so I can concentrate on writing fiction. Am completing my fifth novel.

  42. What a great post, Rachelle. My list would look like this:

    * I don’t watch much TV (Downton Abbey and Cedar Cove are musts, though).

    * I don’t cross-stitch.

    * I don’t exercise.

    * I rarely make it to bed before 1 AM. Mornings don’t work for me, so I stay up late instead.

    * I don’t exercise.

    * I don’t keep my house as clean as it was before 2004. My hubby used to call me the woman who apologized for the perfectly clean house when unexpected company arrived. Now he’s happy if his feet don’t stick to the kitchen floor when he comes home from work.

    * I don’t paint my nails or wear makeup.

  43. Elissa says:

    I’ve never thought in terms of things I’ve “given up”. All life is a trade-off. Time is limited, and it’s simply not possible to do everything.

    Choices must be made. The decision to focus on writing is a positive, and I don’t think about the negatives. I would never say, “I don’t do (whatever) anymore.” It’s self-defeating to emphasize what I’m not doing.

    The same goes for accomplishing goals. I don’t think, “I didn’t get 1000 words in today, and the house is a disaster.” I tell myself, “I wrote 500 words, cleaned the oven, and balanced the checkbook.” Sure, there is always more to do, but it never helps me to berate myself for falling short. I build on what I’ve done and resolve to do better tomorrow.

    And if I really, really want to crochet, I know I can find 15 or 20 minutes once or twice a week to indulge myself.

  44. Sydney Avey says:

    I gave all the home arts, including entertaining at home, and leadership positions in my church and my community. I didn’t give up my appreciation for those activities. I explained why and gained support from my friends, my pastor and the community leaders I worked with. I kept most of my friends (a few fired me). The people in my life respect my time. I’m still involved, but in a different way.

  45. Dan Miller says:

    Writing has served me very well. So the sacrifices seem small.
    I gave up:

    — Being broke
    — Envying bestselling authors
    — Thinking my dream had to wait until “someday”
    — Working with no reward but a paycheck
    — Sitting in an office while wearing a ridiculous suit and tie
    — A 30-minute commute
    — That hole in my heart that wanted to be a “writer”

  46. Jaime Wright says:

    I’m married to a youth pastor and I’m a Dir of HR, so I’m socially tapped out by Wed night. So I don’t feel the angst of losing a social life. However, I have given up my sanity–just a tad. I prefer to look at what I’ve gained:

    1. my 3 yr. daughter helps me plot – “what would make this hero’s trouble worse?” it usually ends with the hero getting a time out or something, but it brings the writing into my family so it’s not so mommy-solitary-time

    2. I’ve developed an insatiable thirst for coffee

    3. My husband is learning to appreciate fiction

    4. I save $80 a month on my TV Satellite bill

    5. What few network shows I DO watch I’ve learned to listen to with one ear half open while I research

    6. I’m spared the agony of row after row of knitted mishap

    When you love something, “giving up” for it feels more like making room for it. It’s not a tough sacrifice.

  47. Mark Kennard says:

    Things always get in the way. That’s life. But the story will come out…eventually.

  48. Some of the things I’ve given up to pursue writing are:
    -the habit of holding my gift of writing close
    -my preconceived perceptions of the publishing world
    -my propensity to edit as I go, in writing and sometimes in life
    -my introverted tendency to hide behind the platform, rather than stand on it
    -my dream that every person who reads what I write will respond with the same enthusiasm as my mother 🙂

  49. Anna Labno says:

    I sacrificed much more. But I’m sorry I’m keeping it to myself. I’m going to write an article on this subject and publish it somewhere.


    Anna Labno

  50. Thanks, Rachelle, for reminding us that life is making choices, and writers have to set priorities. I gave up crocheting (too much work for the hands on top of typing) and rarely do more in the garden than triage weeding. But it’s worth it to me.

  51. Josh Kelley says:

    I’m going to “reward” myself for submitting my mss by running a 1/2 marathon and reading a Lord Peter Whimsey book!

  52. Peter DeHaan says:

    I get up earlier and watch much less TV so that I have more time to write and attend to my writing career.

  53. Rachelle, I’ve pretty much entirely cut TV out of my life. Same mostly goes for movies too. And I’ve had to surrender a lot of time with friends to focus on my writing.

  54. Had a smile Rachelle. I could echo ‘yes’ to at least ten of yours. What’s more I don’t miss any of those given up.

  55. Lori says:

    Sleep. Sleep. LOTS of sleep. I’ve practically given up reading, at least those things I’m not editing, which is the cruelest form of irony for a writer. I don’t even know how to turn my television on (and I resent having to dust it). Eating, some times, when the muse is active or the deadlines pressing. Social media just for fun.

    There are also some non-negotiables I’ve built into my life. I always take a daily walk,serve at and attend church, spend time in God’s Word, and stop everything when my husband or young adult daughters call. These four keep me balanced, healthy, and sane.

  56. Anne Love says:

    Point taken. 🙂

  57. Jane Daly says:

    The question should be, “what haven’t I given up?”
    I haven’t given up my critique group. Those ladies keep me in stitches every week.
    I haven’t given up my prayer time.
    The only thing I’d add to your list is “TV.” The big black box sits lifeless in our living room.

  58. JJ says:

    My list matches yours! Exactly! I usually feel guilty about a lot of it.

  59. Since I write full time, I have given up not going to: McDonalds, Burger King, the movies, the beach, playing with my dogs, church, helping the homeless, visiting friends, bible study, cooking for my family, reading great books, watching NCIS, Anderson Cooper 360, playing with my grand kids, mentoring a 14 year old boy, teaching sunday school and a few other misc. things.

  60. I can’t add anything new to these lists. My house looks like a tornado hit (most of the time.) I rarely meet my sisters or friends for lunch, anymore.

    I feel guilty when I’m writing, but when I’m not writing, I feel more guilty. It’s a vicious circle. And when I’m reading a great book at bedtime, I feel guilty that I’m reading versus writing. LOL.

    Writing is beginning to sound like an obsession, or an addiction. Folks, do you think we need a shrink to get back on track?

  61. I have spent the last few weeks deciding what I’m going to cut from my agenda. This book has been tumbling in my mind far too long. I’m going insane. Gradually, I have stopped watching TV, I only read while waiting in the carpool line, I haven’t scheduled an actual date night in months, and I know the PTA is going to be really upset, but it’s next on the chopping block. Rachelle, thank you for ALL of your posts. You’re the only one who understands. :]

  62. Laura says:

    I have given up time with my friends. I still work full time and there are only so many hours in my week. Since I have elderly grandparents and my sisters live with me, I still prioritise family time. I have also given up playing the piano, which I miss, and gardening, which I don’t miss.

  63. I gave up wandering through my life without a purpose, but I also gave up some of the serenity and comfort I used to possess. The writing road is scattered with foreign road signs and confusing forks leading to unknown destinations. I am grateful to blogs such as this one that help navigate this strange landscape.

  64. Such a thought provoking question, Rachelle.

    I still lap swim and write in my head with every stroke.
    I gave up racquetball but mostly because of a knee injury. I miss the court and challenge. The fact is that I now sit at a desk for hours on end writing wishing I was back in the court.

    I don’t have cable and never have been one to veg in front of what my mother used to call, “The thief of time.” But my hubby loves TV, so I write in my office while he enjoys his shows.

    I miss the home school days. The kiddos are grown now but those years were pure gold.

    My balancing act is with Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. I can write morning, noon and night so I work on a, Kathy must choose wisely, day by day surrender of my will in prayer. We rise early here at 5 am, usually walk the dogs first or second, and depending what my characters are discussing while I listen in, I take it from there.

    If any of my grandkiddos names light up on the home phone, I will pick up immediately. If my cell quacks and my oldest granddaughter is calling from the USCG cutter she is serving on ~ this grandmum will leave her squabbling characters to return later and hear them out.

    Proverbs 16:3 is my writing verse, it is framed and hangs over my computer at my desk. Some days I am better at honoring what that verse truly means. Other days I falter. The good news is that God still loves me and blesses the gift He gave me, and every day is an adventure!

  65. When I decided to take being a novelist seriously, I decided to give up everything else.

    I don’t go out with friends or do woodworking anymore. I cut back my time at work to only two days, which is just enough to survive.

    I just write, publish and market. It has been a couple of years living this rather austere live, but it is starting to pay off.

    Yesterday, I did more in sales (revenue wise) than in April, May, June, or July. I’ve made more selling books this week than I do at may job…quite a bit more.

    I love my life, because I’m pursuing my dreams. I won’t always be a hermit, but for now, it is the life that gives me the best chance of success.

  66. Eeeek, I guess I need to add Facebook to your list. But I really miss scapbooking. And half-marathons.

  67. My list looks pretty similar to yours, Rachelle. I just stopped homeschooling this year so I could create time to write and take on more editing clients. I have little doubt it would seem a selfish choice to some people, and I still feel a bit of shame saying it out loud, but I am a much better mom and wife when I take the time to do something that brings me so much energy and joy — and nothing does that more than writing.

  68. Pamela says:

    For years I wrote from 4-7 in the morning so when my children were up I could be a full time momma. I wrote many books during those hours.

  69. The question of how to spend our time is one we should ask regularly regarding every aspect of our lives, not just writing. Time evaluation reveals countless wasted hours and pursuit of lesser things. What your article did for me was to alert me to the areas where I am wasting time. Each of us must determine what is truly valuable in our lives and if our list of values lines up with God’s. The area where I am determined not to compromise is the very area that seems to suffer; my time with the Lord. Writing and the pursuit of that dream are not the culprits for this dilemma. You have stirred my thoughts on this subject and for that I am thankful.

  70. Susan says:


  71. Addy Rae says:

    Well, to be fair, I have a lot of time. I don’t work due to health issues, and I only have to do some of the housework, mostly cooking (from scratch due to said health issues and some food allergies. Can’t really get around it!).

    That said, I cut out TV and movies entirely. They were drawing me away from writing and causing the ‘I’ll do it later’ syndrome, so they were cut. Playing video games has gone from the occasional to rare.

    I’m lax on cleaning (cluttered is okay, dirty is not), but I’m never lax taking care of our dog. He a snow dog, high energy, and he needs his walks. He can’t understand that I’m revising! Besides, a brink walk helps jar the brain into motion when I’ve been working on something so long I can’t see it clearly anymore.

  72. What I’ve given up is the nagging question, “When am I going to start writing?” I finally quit aimlessly surfing the Web for hours each morning and starting writing instead. Over the last year I wrote my first novel, “Transported.” And it’s funny…I just blogged about some of the sacrifices this project entailed yesterday: http://patdonovan.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/in-writing-as-in-life-nothing-ventured-nothing-gained/

  73. Dan Erickson says:

    I’m constantly trying to figure out how I can balance more with my writing and blogging. I always make plans to add a few more new activities like more exercise, gardening, art projects, only to discover I don’t have time because I write.

  74. Steven Buchanan says:

    Facebook…yeah, definitely that. Helping my wife in the garden. Those 45 minute walks with the dog. Channel surfing. Bed before 1:00 am. (Although I do sneak in a nap twice a week.)

  75. D.V. Bennett says:

    I really appreciate this post. It is nice to hear that I am not alone, and that in making these kinds of sacrifices, I am not abnormal. Okay..maybe I’m somewhat abnormal, but you know what I mean.

  76. Love this post, Rachelle! This speaks to so many of the things I’ve given up as well. In addition to your list, I don’t get on the phone w/my friends too much; prefer texting or emailing. Great post!

  77. Thank you for sharing. There are many things I know I should let go of (lots are on your list) but I have to first make sense out of them so I don’t return to these non-productive “escapes”. It certainly helps to know that other authors have given up these items to pursue their passions. Inspiring/motivating (at least for me) Thanks!

  78. Susan says:

    I am impressed with your honesty; it provides me with a fresh perspective. This is why I have not completed my novel. This post motivates me and I will show it to my husband and adult children. They too, wish for me to complete my novel but seeing you write what must be sacrificed makes everything clear.

    Really, you don’t separate your whites and colors?

  79. Believe it or not, I’ve given up lunch. That hour at work is a great time to get in some writing!

  80. D.V. Bennett says:

    I just want to thank you for the informative and highly encouraging blog posts which you’ve been so faithful to share.
    I believe I’m learning things which aren’t simply interesting, but that are helping to challenge my perspective on storytelling and my attitude toward how I accomplish that.
    What you are doing is very deeply appreciated.
    David Bennett