Work-Life Balance? Ha!


Last night, Dhonielle and I were putting the final touches on our revision of Book Two, due today (or really, due yesterday but who’s counting?), when it happened.
At just about 11 p.m., the pipe under the dishwasher broke, flooding the building’s communal basement. And our neighbors knocked and fretted and a plumber crawled out of his warm, cozy bed (I’m presuming, of course) to make a midnight housecall. All while I was trying to wrap up edits and not wake the baby, who was teething and had been running a 102 fever.

Fun times I tell ya. But in my writerly life, it seems about par for the course. I recall the night before we actually turned in the first draft for Book Two, for example. The baby had a fever then, too — his first — and boy, was it a doozy. So I stayed up till the wee hours, finishing things up as he slept on my lap. Going back even further, to grad school, I recall countless four a.m. writing sessions with my other little one, now five, snuggled up next to me in the bed, her little snores keeping time like the ticking clock in my head.

You know how they say youth is wasted on the young? I think they should add an amendment: time is wasted on the young. Not as in time spent with the littles is wasted. I don’t mean that at all. I just think back to all that time I wasted when I was young — working 70 hour weeks, hanging out with the same friends having the same night over and over again, eating out or dancing in clubs or doing nothing much at all. If I had known how hard this whole balance thing gets when you have commitments like writing and work and family, man, I probably would have thought twice about whiling away all those endless hours. Or maybe not. Maybe it takes being busy and trying so hard to achieve that balance to give you that drive, that burning desire to make things happen.

In any case, the revision is done. And soon there’ll be another one. Plus a WIP or ten looming. The plumber will be back later today. I’ve got a phoner happening at 3, and a few pending freelance projects that need to be taken care of. And the baby is feeling much better, hanging out in his favorite little red convertible at daycare. Tonight, the Mini-Me and I have big plans to cozy up and dive back into the Whatever After book we picked up at the bookstore last week. So that whole balance thing? I think I’m getting there. Or maybe a happy chaos is close enough.


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An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, SONA CHARAIPOTRA currently curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Twisted and Vampire Diaries. But call it research: Sona is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at or

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This article has 4 Comments

  1. Oh, boy, do I ever know what you mean. I won’t say I was a party girl, but yeah, I think I was. I hung out, partied, had lots and lots of fun…but when I think of all the time I fooled around, I’m paying for it now. On the other hand, I remember my dad and mom working into the wee hours on his college thesis when I was a little girl. I’d go to bed to the sound of my mother typing, and wake up in the night to the same sound. My dad worked a full time job and went to college on the GI bill at the same time–and still found time to teach me to read before I went to school. I wonder if one day your children will think of you as heroic, as I think of him.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response, but thank you so much for the kind words, Terry. I think so many of us face these challenges — and it can really feel thankless as you push through the daily grind. But like with your dad, the goal is to one day make your littles proud, right? Even when my daughter asks, Mama, why do you have to work so much. Killer, I tell you!

  2. Yep, yep. I hear you, on all counts! I remember one particularly horrible night when the mini was two, I had a major client report due in the morning, and she was horribly sick with the stomach flu. I stayed up all night, typing away while lunging for the bucket every 30 minutes or so. It stands as probably the most stressful, least balanced 24 hours in recent memory. Luckily she was better the next day and I handed in my report on deadline. 🙂

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