Asking for Help

The writing life is either feast or famine. You're either on your own, trying to figure out how to structure your day halfway productively or going crazy trying to survive a hundred tasks bombarding you.

Sometimes you simply find yourself buried beneath them.

I'm having one of those moments where I realize I've bitten off more than I can chew. I'm writing one proposal, editing another as per my agent's suggestions, waiting on galleys, juggling appearances, trying to keep my head above water as I handle my board responsibilities for a writers' organization, and buried under a landslide of stuff I've committed to (and honestly want to) read - and feel obligated to read in a meaningful, helpful manner.


Gosh, it feels so good to say that. And guess what? It's not against the law. Nor is it a sin to set boundaries and say to people (starting with yourself): This is what I can do and want to do, but my writing career (it's my livelihood, after all) is my priority.

Yet asking for help is hard to do at times. We want to look strong and capable, unbounded by the same 24-hour clock that rules the lives of mere mortals.

Or you might want to burn yourself out in the attempt to keep the illusion afloat. As for me, I'm over it... and calling in some reinforcements.

People are usually great about responding to such requests if you give them some smaller, concrete task, let them know how much their time and effort are appreciated, and they can see you working like a fiend to cut through your backlog.

So what about the rest of you? Are you able to admit it when you need a helping hand?


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