Tag Archives: Family


A Guest Post by David Heyman

“Honey, where are you?”

Physically I’m in the store with my wife, where she is asking my opinion of an item she’s seen. In my mind though – I’m on a far-off snowy plain, trying to get my heroine out of the scrape I’ve written her into. This is the world of the writer and their family, and it’s one I’m betting most of you are familiar with. Managing the scales between the time and energy we give to our writing and the time we give to other demands can be one of the more difficult challenges an aspiring writer can face.

It’s commonly called the work/life balance, but for us it is a more complex beast – one more properly named a work/work/life balance. We all have lives that include family, friends, pets and the many activities that make life worth living. These are all wonderful, but they rightfully expect an investment of your time. Then most of us have the job that pays the bills, taking care of that rewarding life and keeping the road ahead of us clear. That job also makes demands on your time, demands that can be harder to negotiate with than Fido.

Now you want to add writing, but for most of us writing no mere hobby. It doesn’t fall into the ‘pursuits’ section of that life category. No, writing for us is our second job – the one that might not be paying bills yet, but someday….

Something’s gotta give – somewhere a sacrifice must be made.


I always view my time as cake. I cut a piece of cake for my family, one for work and one for myself. If I want to write and that’s going to use some of that available time, then someone’s piece of cake is going to get smaller.

My advice: make sure you are the one making the sacrifice. Cut into your cake, not someone else’s.

Want to write on your lunch break? Sure. You can bang out that scene while you have your sandwich. Write during that boring dial-in meeting where they never call on you anyway? No, that time is committed to the job that pays the bills. Writing after play time with the kids and TV time with your spouse? Sure, but discuss it with them first.

You are the one who wants to be a writer, the big time sacrifice must come from you. Video game time, Game of Thrones watching time, Facebooking time.

Your time.

I would caution not to take all of your time, though. Don’t take away the sleep you need, or the time you exercise to stay healthy. Reserve some time for yourself to de-stress, to recharge and get the creative juices going again. Moderation is the key.

Each day is a cake that you choose where to make the cuts and choose the sizes. Your job, your friends and families all have their plates out, waiting to be serves a slice of your time.

How you distribute those slices will have a big impact on your support system going forward – and you will need that support to succeed.

David Heyman:

Dave writes both novels and short stories in the various genres of speculative fiction. His other passions include his family, gaming and reading about mountaineering. Sleep is added to the mix when needed. You can visit him at daveheyman.com

How to Distract Grandma from Pestering you for More Grandkids

GenealogyGrandparents love grandkids, and they’re usually not shy about begging for more.  The good thing is, they love talking about themselves and telling their stories even more.  We can leverage that fact for a wonderful family event, while gaining a break from the constant pestering.

How do we do all this?

We tell stories.  Their stories.

I’m a novelist, and I love great stories.  But the more I learn about life, the more I study history, the more I realize that reality is crazier and wilder and intense than any story I could invent.  Sure, history may be missing magic and dragons, but lots of real-life experiences could never be included in stories.  Readers simply wouldn’t believe it.

We believe it when Grandma and Grandpa tell it, though.

So get them to sit down and tell you, “In my day . . . ”

Once the floodgates open, you might be amazed by what you’ll hear.

Writing those stories is a ton of fun, because we have a connection with them.  Most of us are interested in our genealogy, in our family roots, and in the stories of our ancestors.  The great thing about interviewing grandparents (or uncles or aunts or great-grandparents) is we can get the stories right from the source.

Even more importantly, the holidays are almost here.  Doing an interview with grandparents not only distracts them from pestering for more grandkids, it also sets up one of the best Christmas presents you could give them.  So first, ask them about their personal history, and anecdotes they remember of their parents and grandparents.  This is best done using a voice recorder, since most of us don’t type fast enough to capture everything, including their tone and voice.

They’ll love it.  Even more if you have one of your kids interview them, after preparing a list of questions to help your child keep the grandparents talking.  I’ve seen grandparents spend hours on the phone telling stories to my kids, and everyone’s having a great time.  It helps them connect with the new generation, and makes their history real.

When finished, transcribe the stories.  You’ll have the story of their history and some of the major events of their lives, and can present it to them, perhaps bound in a beautiful book.  If you can scrounge up some old family photos, like he one I included above of my grandfather, it really helps bring the history alive.  It’s a present they’ll love, and one they can pass down through the years to other family members.

In my family, we’ve done a couple of interviews already.  Next step is to complete transcription and produce the final books.  I’m hoping we can do it as part of a holiday project in the family.

What about you?

About the Author: Frank Morin

Author Frank MorinFrank Morin loves good stories in every form.  When not writing or trying to keep up with his active family, he’s often found hiking, camping, Scuba diving, or enjoying other outdoor activities.  For updates on upcoming releases of his popular Petralist YA fantasy novels, or his fast-paced Facetakers alternate history fantasy series, check his website:  www.frankmorin.org