The Writer's Juggle

Thursday, March 31, 2022


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood/

I sit down to work on my to-do list. As a freelance writer, this looks different each day. I try to be mindful of my various production deadlines by using the free project management tool, Asana, which I’ve written about before. I make my list. 

-Write a 400 to 450-word blog post for a client.

-Meet the members of a local community choir for coffee so they can tell me about their organization for a local lifestyle magazine.

-Research the next podcast episode.

-Write 500-1,000 words on next podcast script.

At first glance, this list looks manageable, right? It's only four items--shouldn't take that long to knock those out. Ha! Not when this list turns into something more like this:

-Write a 400-450 word blog post. (Sort through recent writing e-newsletters for ideas. Wait. Oh! A well-known digital publication is looking for a content editor? That could replace one of the gigs I'm looking to let go of in the future. Spend 45 minutes to an hour writing a new cover letter, updating resume, and pulling relevant clips. Done. Get back to writing new blog post. Another 45 minutes.) 

-Meet the members of a local community choir for coffee so they can tell me about their organization. (Put on actual blazer and dress, fix make-up, drive 20 minutes to the coffee shop, spend almost an hour on the interview, drive 20 minutes back home. Save the writing of the article for another day, but at least the interview is complete!)

-Research the next podcast episode. (Open your journal where you keep all your “true crime” ideas. Remember an episode of “Forensic Files” that featured an unidentified victim, and the state college experts who identified her forensically. Realize the man identified as this victim’s murderer also confessed to killing two other women during the course of his job as a long haul trucker. Spend two to three hours digging up articles in local news archives, perusing a website put together solely to find victims of this man, read up on how the F.B.I. began to realize long haul trucking lends itself to these types of murder, etc.) 

-Write 500-1,000 words on next podcast episode. (Doesn’t get done. When will you learn that immersing yourself in research and cranking out part of a script in the same day isn’t likely to happen?) 

When I make my list, I always have the best of intentions. But as you can see, I get distracted by many other things, and this is only a snippet of what a day can look like. I have a tendency to get carried away. 

The writer’s juggle is a struggle. Can you relate? 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who also produces the true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas.


Cathy C. Hall said...

Oh, I can relate, Renee, but sad to say I get distracted by...well, let's call it non-writerly things and leave it at that. :-)

My to-do lists (and I think your typo of to-to was very apt if you'd spelled it too-too!) tend to be over-stuffed. I always think I'll accomplish more than is humanly and/or writerly possible. But I arrange my lists with the top item being a MUST DO and go from there. So if I only get the top three done, I'm good with that. Tomorrow is another day... :-)

Renee Roberson said...

Cathy--After I fixed that silly typo, your comment about "non-writerly things" reminded me I had to throw some laundry in the dryer. It never ends, does it?! I also try to have a "big three" on the list each day and can usually accomplish at least those!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Oh yes, research always leads me down a rabbit hole, and it looks like researching was the culprit in both cases (blog post ideas, true crime ideas). I try to schedule writing time and research on different days, but of course, I always seem to look up facts while writing and there I go again. It's only when I do timed writing exercises that I feel forced to write. I'm thinking about doing NaNo Camp, which starts tomorrow. If I don't make writing a priority, it takes a backseat to other deadlines. But I think you should allow yourself some leniency. I couldn't pump out those true crime episodes the way you do. You're a fast writer, Renee, and that's a lot of work!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

First of all, how can you have a to-do list with only four items? I keep going until I fill the page.

Then the furnace goes out so that means two phone calls, a repair guy, where's the cat . . .

Back to the piece that's due today. Have to cut 350 words. Ooops. I cut 450. Now I have to add some words . . .

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